Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and may not reflect the official policy or position of Excelsior College. Excelsior makes no claim regarding the suitability of the content for all audiences.
The evolving nature of cybersecurity has had a profound effect on the business world at large. Cyber safety has always been important to a certain degree, but in recent years the value of a high-quality, reliable cybersecurity strategy has skyrocketed. This trend is attributable to a number of key factors – most notably, the increasing threat that cyber attackers pose and the growing value of corporate data in every sector.
In light of these developments, it’s fair to say that cybersecurity should be a high-level priority for everyone within a company. Critically, this includes business owners and members of the C-suite. Only with strong, top-down leadership can a firm truly protect its digital assets. As a recent survey demonstrated, firms are making progress in this capacity, but there is still significant room for improvement.
C-suite concerns The study, conducted by Dimensional Research, examined the cybersecurity literacy of 200 business executives and 200 IT security professionals at a number of large U.S. companies. As Infosecurity Magazine reported, this study found that 68 percent of participating executives were confident that their organizations’ cybersecurity briefings were sufficiently capturing and conveying the intensity of their firms’ cyber threats. By comparison, 80 percent of non-C-level executives expressed confidence in this area. C-level leaders were also less confident than IT executives that their companies’ cybersecurity tools were accurate enough to combat cyber threats.
“100% of C-level executives believed themselves to be ‘cybersecurity literate.'”
Perhaps most notably, the study determined that 100 percent of C-level personnel believed themselves to be “cybersecurity literate,” whereas only 84 percent of executives outside the C-suite felt this confident, according to the source.
As Infosecurity Magazine explained, these results suggest that business leaders are far more engaged with the topic of cybersecurity today than they’ve been in years past. Additionally, the C-suite is communicating with IT professionals on a more regular basis. At the same time, though, the discrepancy between these two groups’ views of their companies’ cybersecurity capabilities, and C-suite executives’ lack of confidence, suggests that high-level executives realize more work needs to be done.
This trend toward greater C-suite focus on cybersecurity was further emphasized by Inside Counsel’s annual SuperConference. Panelists at this event, most of whom were leaders in the cybersecurity space or served as in-house counsel for major corporations, indicated that C-suite executives and boards of directors are increasingly coming to view data security as an “organizational priority.”
“[S]ecurity is not just a legal issue; it’s not just an IT issue,” said Alice Geene, chief legal officer of Rewards Network, the news source reported.
To effectively tackle the challenges cybersecurity presents, business leaders need to build on the trends that are already underway. Engaging with IT teams to learn more about how cybersecurity affects the organization as a whole is an important step, but the C-suite and boards of directors will often need greater preparation and knowledge to adequately devise effective company-wide strategies.
To this end, organizations should consider NCI training for their executives and boards of directors. This training will help business leaders to understand and effectively deal with the risks of today’s cybersecurity landscape. Learn more here.