Cyber security has become a chief concern for many business executives as we move into a more digitally interconnected world which heavily relies on information gained from data. Recent high-profile breaches have highlighted the devastating impact that a cyber security incident can have on a company's reputation, financial stability, and customer trust.
The average number of attempted cyberattacks per company rose by 31% between 2020 and 2021 and considering the growing awareness of cyber security threats, more organisations are prioritising cyber security concerns at their C-suite and board-levels.
The cost of cyber crime
The cost of cyber-attacks increases year on year and the impact on businesses progressively grows in severity: the average cost of a data breach has increased from 4.24 million in 2021 to 4.35 million in 2022.
Recent significant cyber security breaches in major companies:
- Royal Mail: The primary mailing service in the UK has been battling ransomware attacks since January 2023 and subjected to software hacks and a halt on international shipments through forced encryption of important operational files.
- EasyJet: A cyber-attack on the major airline in 2020 accessed the email addresses and travel information of nine million people, marking one of the largest data breaches to affect a company in the UK.
- The Works: The major UK retail chain was forced to shut down a number of its stores and operations after a cyberattack which also compromised customer data.
Cyber-attacks of this nature are not only a technology issue but a wider business and infrastructural issue. As such, cyber security should be viewed as a strategic business risk, with full C-suite and board-level involvement and understanding.
The Nature of C-Suite Involvement
The role of the C-suite and executive board in cyber security positioning is not confined to budget allocation but having a top-down strategic approach to Cyber security risks. It also about setting the tone from a leadership position, ensuring that the organisation is taking a proactive attitude towards managing cyber risk. This often requires an upskilling of Cyber security understanding and policy for the board and C-suite executives.
This does not require CEOs and CMOs to diverge from their core competency and become network security engineers, but to demonstrate an awareness around cyber security risks and response strategy.
This is also a question of prioritisation, shown by a study conducted by Trend Micro which revealed 90% of decision makers believed their company may compromise on Cyber security in exchange for business goals like digitisation and increased productivity.
3 C-Suite priorities which mitigates Cyber security risks:
- Cyber security Risk Management and Governance: Identify potential cyber threats and risks in your digital ecosystem of suppliers, vendors, and customers.
- Incident response planning and execution: Understand how to respond to low, medium, and high-level threats. Develop a strong incident response plan (IRP).
- Awareness and advocacy: Create a culture of Cyber security awareness across the organisation. Initiate top-down campaigns and upskilling initiatives which encouraging employees to be accountable for their contribution to Cyber security risk management.
Company leadership that can equip their company with the tools and culture appropriate for the risks associated with the developing digital age not only mitigate threats against their systems, but are able to lead conversations with internal and external stakeholders about strategy in the space.
Investing in Cyber security Talent
C-Suite leaders’ buy in and security understanding is also critical to facilitate adequate organisational investment in the next generation of Cyber security talent to keep up with an ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. New talent will be trained in the latest technology and techniques able to contribute innovative solutions.
Considering the high demand for technical professionals, businesses are facing high levels of competition to fill many roles from a limited talent pool. Studies suggest there will be 3.5 million Cyber security jobs unfilled globally by 2025 requiring businesses to be strategic about talent acquisition initiatives.
Considerations for Leadership When Building Cyber security Talent Strategies:
- What is your talent competition? What size are other organisations and how big are their industries? What is their Cyber security needs and how competitive do you want to be in terms of compensation?
- What are your working policies? What benefits do you offer aside from salary? This includes flexible hours and career growth potential. In your sector, what do professionals value the most?
- What are your current Cyber security needs? Studies show typical IT security and compliance professionals spend nearly 50% of their time on low-level administrative tasks. Can you incorporate new tools or upscale existing staff to improve your Cyber security work experience?
As we continue to navigate an ever-changing Cyber security landscape, it's clear that Cyber security must remain a top concern for businesses of all sizes and industries due to the cost and damage associated with breaches.
Make Cyber security a Top Priority with Recruitment Support
It has proven ineffective to manage Cyber security risks without company leadership being more involved in Cyber security investment and awareness. C-suite executives need to be able to build a holistic culture of responsibility to mitigate coming risks. Cyber security is no longer just a technology issue, but a board-level issue requiring high level strategy with a human approach.
Looking to build your Cyber security team? Senovo IT has the talent you need.