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Do you often feel as though you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to your CEO and cybersecurity? Protecting your organization’s data and business assets is a long-term strategy that will require significant investments, something that can be difficult to sell to your CEO who sees a number of competing priorities. Finding the right messaging to ensure that your CEO understands the risks of poor cybersecurity and the value proposition that the investment provides is crucial to the success of your negotiations for budget and staff time. While it may seem as though your CEO is still struggling to see the value, the majority of CEOs around the globe are ranking cybersecurity as one of their top initiatives for 2019 and beyond.
No one wants to come into an executive meeting crying “Wolf!”, but cybersecurity is an issue that’s timely and sensitive enough that it demands a broader conversation with high-level business leaders. The CEO can help facilitate this understanding if they’re provided with the right messaging and understanding of the key issues facing businesses today. Without this information, it’s not unusual for CEOs to stand in the way of progress towards a more secure environment, especially when you consider the level of investment that many IT leaders are requesting to help secure their organization. The CEOs attitude towards this important topic can color that of other organizational leaders, making it crucial to grow consensus within the organization as you’re seeking to raise awareness of cybersecurity.
There are a few ways that you can leverage your chief executive as a leader in the cybersecurity fight, and that includes ensuring that this key individual understands how cybersecurity benefits the organization as a whole. Many of the efforts that will move your organization forward in terms of security will also provide operational benefits: consolidating data, reducing touchpoints and mapping processes to name a few. These can improve time to market, reduce churn and improve the customer experience — all compelling selling points for your CEO. When your CEO prizes security within the organization, they are able to help you build consensus between teams that might be waffling about the value of cybersecurity versus their personal agendas for technology time. This support from your organization’s top executive shows that cybersecurity is a critical issue for your organization, making it easier to convince others to maintain velocity on critical security projects.
Cybersecurity isn’t a one-time strategic operation, it’s an ongoing effort that often requires many years to implement and needs regular review to stay relevant. When your CEO is convinced that cybersecurity is a priority, it is a good time to ensure that you’re able to secure funding for future projects by writing these processes and procedures into the institutional knowledge and accounting teams. IT security funding may not already have a line-item associated with it, but the ever-changing landscape ensures that businesses will need to continue to budget for this extensive effort in the future, even after initial projects have been completed and closed. There is no end in sight to the ways that hackers are creatively accessing business information. The same is true of the issues that businesses experience when users are able to either release sensitive data or choose poor passwords that allow cybercriminals to infiltrate the organization. Users at all levels of the organization will need ongoing training to help protect against the potential of breaches in the future.
Helping your CEO understand the value of cybersecurity often falls to the head of technology, but other key leaders can provide a supportive role as well. Chief marketing officers may provide unexpected backup as marketing becomes more of a data-driven part of the organization. When you have several departments communicating the same data points to your CEO, it’s much less likely that they would question or hamper your cybersecurity efforts. Need assistance putting together your messaging or cybersecurity strategy? Contact the professionals at CIO Advise today at 833-CIO-ADVS or reach us online by filling out our quick contact form.