Cyber risk is not a concern to be solely managed by the CISO’s; it’s increasingly turning into a board-level issue.
Security leaders are relied upon to keep board directors, and business leaders informed of the risk posture of their organization. However, multiple security leaders struggle to offer a clear picture of their cybersecurity posture, let alone convey this information comprehensively. Imagine this – the latest vulnerability has been disclosed, and their CEO wants to know what effect it has on the core business.
In today’s unpredictable economic landscape where change is the only constant, every CISO grapples with multiple challenges. As an example, due to COVID-19, the remote-work environment has turned to become the new normal introducing the latest elements of risk. Preparing for this shift can be extremely challenging for all security teams. The complexity is further compounded as the organizations today operate in a digitally complex global economy. Nearly each industry sector and business model in the world relies totally on technology.
This reliance means cyber risk, which now directly equates to business risk. It also means that modern CISOs fails to focus on just traditional IT security issues. The CISO’s need to advocate the security of both business and technology, evolving from a technology expert to all fully responsible business-aligned security leaders.
These are the top three methods to establish a more close-knit alignment between security and business:
Quantify cyber risk into business terms
A whopping 66% of business leaders across the industries and the world and somewhat not confident at all in their security team’s capability to correctly quantify risk. Considering the business context of any cyber risk can be especially challenging as there are no black and white answers.
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In order to offer business context, security and risk management leaders need to first answer two key queries: What is the core purpose of the business? Which assets are critical in delivering on that core purpose? Post answering these questions, will businesses actually be able to battle the greatest risk to these core assets.
Align cybersecurity strategy with the overall business goals
Many times, the cybersecurity strategies of firms are not completely or closely aligned with business goals. Unfortunately, lower than half of the security leaders actually consult business executives throughout or very frequently while developing their cybersecurity strategies. At the same time, the reverse is also true. Only 40% of business executives rarely – if ever– consult their security leaders while developing the organization’s business strategies.
This clearly indicates that the communication gap exists on both sides of the fence. CISOs and business executives need to be closely aligned to defend against any type of cyber risk. Cyber security priorities need to evolve as an overall business strategy, and only then will the role of CISOs be elevated as a strategic leader.
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Visibility into the organization’s attack surface
To be effective strategic partners to businesses, security leaders need to have a holistic understanding of their existing attack surfaces within the context of existing business risk. Without visibility, cybersecurity can never evolve as a business strategy. This is always simpler said than done as an enterprise’s modern attack surface is a highly complex and fragmented matrix of on-premises, IT, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, and operational technology (OT).
Over half of the security leaders report that their security firm lacks a holistic understanding and assessment of the firm’s entire attack surface. This means that their ability to analyze cyber risks, prioritize, and execute remediation based on business criticality and threat context is limited.
As firms continue to invest in cybersecurity, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of strategic alignment between business and security leaders.