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C-Suite Cybersecurity Awareness: 3 Ways to Change the Conversation Around Security

Many CISOs struggle to gain executive buy-in for their enterprise security programs. Boost C-suite cybersecurity awareness and support with these three tips.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM) is a global initiative created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to recognize the importance of digital security for both business and individuals. Now an internationally recognized campaign, CAM aims to spread awareness about the importance and urgency of cybersecurity.

The below article includes tips from our recent CISO Summit: How to Make Cybersecurity Your Competitive Advantage. Get more insights from fellow CISOs in the on-demand recording.

The Shifting Cybersecurity Conversation

Over the past several years, there has been a monumental shift in the way businesses operate and prioritize cybersecurity. Historically, security programs were seen as more of a cost center or help desk function. But now, executive leaders are beginning to see the potential of security to enable business outcomes.

This shift began largely due to COVID, which forced widespread digital transformation across nearly every sector. Before this time, technologies for remote work, video conferencing, and the like were not widely adopted and often even questioned. Is this secure? Does this pose any potential risks?

Rising to the challenge, security teams built the ecosystem for secure operations and access to data from anywhere. They not only facilitated the proverbial data and application access, but also strengthened trust with clients and partners. And by building that trust, security leaders enabled business to stay alive.

Despite this, many CISOs continue to struggle with executive buy-in as enterprise leaders often debate of the role of cybersecurity within the broader business strategy. Below are three ways to shift the conversation and drive support for your security program with the C-suite.

How to Boost C-Suite Cybersecurity Awareness and Buy-In

1) Speak to Business Goals

Executive leaders prioritize the business strategy and measurable outcomes. How can we stay competitive? How can we increase revenue? How can we enhance enterprise operations? 

Speak to this by centering your cybersecurity conversations on the business objectives and how the security program can help achieve those goals. For example, if operational efficiency is a priority, then outline what systems can enable employees to complete their work more seamlessly and with the necessary information security controls in place.

For compliance-driven industries like finance and healthcare, most cybersecurity conversations with stakeholders will inevitably center on what regulations need to be met and whether the organization meets those particular compliance standards.

Although regulatory compliance will always be top of mind for highly-regulated organizations, there are still ways to connect your security program to business strategy. For instance, HIPPA compliance not only ensures your organization meets regulatory standards—it also enables the organization to sell into the healthcare market.

GET THE FULL INSIGHTS: Hear from fellow CISOs in the on-demand roundtable discussion.

2) Report the Right Metrics

What are the metrics that will allow you to measure whether your security program is working and helping the business drive forward?

Technical leaders often focus on metrics like what are the key risk indicators? How many different kinds of malware are we dealing with? What are the performance measurements of the security operations center?

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the metrics that point to the business value of the spend. These are the metrics the C-suite or board will want to see to validate that the security program is aligned with business goals and investing in the right tools and partners. Prepare these metrics by assessing:

  • How has our operational efficiency improved?
  • How has our security posture improved?
  • How much monetary loss was prevented?

3) Share Actionable Intelligence

When executives ask about the enterprise’s security posture, they’re not asking for the technical details about your team’s processes and technologies—they want to know how the company’s risk profile compares to others in the industry, what vulnerabilities exist, and how the company is responding to become more secure.

Threat intelligence can provide the answers to these questions. It not only enables your team to track down threats within your environment and respond to them, but also allows you to go back to your leadership and show them what attacks are occurring, what kind of threat actors are targeting the business, and what vulnerabilities need to be addressed.

If you work closely with an outside security partner who has other clients within your sector, they can offer an added layer of visibility into the broader threat landscape of your specific industry. Attacks are rarely performed in isolation—actors typically target several organizations within a space using similar tactics. If a provider sees particular threats emerging and impacting multiple within your industry, this can provide invaluable intelligence to report back to your leadership team.

NEW THREAT RESEARCH: Exmatter points to potential future of data extortion.

Get More Tips to Improve C-Suite Cybersecurity Awareness

Join fellow CISOs in the on-demand panel discussion to hear how they transformed their cybersecurity programs into key business drivers.

Take the first step in transforming your cybersecurity program

Enterprise security teams are adapting to meet evolving business needs. With six global Security Operations Centers, emerging technology partners and a dedicated team of security specialists, Cyderes is well-positioned to be your organization’s trusted advisor in cybersecurity. We’ll help you understand your risk exposure, increase your visibility and ROI, and proactively hunt for the latest threats.