It Isn’t About GCC High, It’s About Your Business
CEOs need knowledge and confidence to make effective cybersecurity decisions, especially how IT will protect business outcomes
CEOs incorporate tech to serve the business; not the other way around.
With everything from managed security services and GCC High to DFARS or CMMC compliance, far too often the C-suite just accepts whatever cybersecurity option is put on their desk. The argument is, “I’m not technical,” and it’s better to defer to advisers and vendors who know all the buzzwords.
That’s a fatal error and an unnecessary one. The issue isn’t tech, it’s the threat to business operations and outcomes. Business leaders — not IT or salespeople — best understand business outcomes. Delegating it to IT makes as much sense as handing off decisions around profit and loss to accounting.
Taking a proactive risk-focused security approach is more effective, less costly, and easier to understand than conventional methods. It arms the C-suite to have a more effective conversation regarding cybersecurity. A risk-focused approach to cybersecurity lets leadership take charge, instead of a hands-off approach that can put your company at risk. It empowers CISOs to get their higher-ups to focus on actions that best serve the security and state of the business.
Focus on The Threat, Not Tech
It cannot be overstated: business comes first, and everything else is ancillary. The tech you select and implement is there to serve the business. The goal of what cybersecurity and tech does for you should be the same as the goal of any CEO: to make people more effective and the business more profitable.
In the realm of cybersecurity, that means goals should align with ensuring protection and continuity in the face of an ongoing and evolving threat. The high-tech processes and products being pitched to you are simply a means to that end. The question isn’t what the tech is, it’s how it works and what it does.
So, don’t be afraid to be curious. Pay attention to the CISO’s presentation at a board meeting instead of just wondering whether you have enough insurance to cover the risk.
Then, ask questions, and expect answers in simple language. Don’t be afraid to say, “That doesn’t make sense to me,” and ask for a breakdown in layperson’s terms.
If an explanation can’t be understood by someone lacking a background in computer engineering, then it is probably too complex to protect effectively, or it’s not providing the best value add to your business. Likewise, you should be able to understand your plan well enough from your C-suite perch to map it on a cocktail napkin. If it takes more than that, then you’re not ready to have a cybersecurity conversation.
Learn more: Cybersecurity Risks are Business Risks
Seek Vigilance, Knowledge, Guidance
Plus, you cannot think of security as a checklist item that you satisfy once and then move on. Cyber threats are like the weather; they are constantly evolving and shifting and there’s always a new storm on the horizon, so constant vigilance and refinement are needed by seeking:
- Compliance, in terms of security regulations, certifications and standards
- Maturity; understanding what you are doing every day
- Effectiveness that can be measured and that actually works against the threats you should be concerned about
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