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Balancing Business Growth and Security Amid Cyber-Threats: The Role of CISOs

In today’s evolving landscape CISO’s have to be so much more than the guardians of cyber security in their organisations.

It’s true that it is their primary objective but the role of the CISO has, and is, evolving constantly and now needs to be multi-dimensional, balancing business objectives and collaborating across multiple business functions.

The 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report identified that regardless of size of organisation, we all face similar challenges with increasing cyber incidents and data disclosures and, according to The Cost of a Data Breach Report, data breaches cost an average of $4.45 million in 2023, a 15% increase over three years.

CISOs Have to Confront an Unprecedented Challenge

Amidst constant regulatory changes, as well as the increased and evolving threat landscape, CISO’s are tasked with implementing the strategies and technologies that an organisation needs to assure their Boards and, most importantly, their customers that they have a real handle on their cyber security posture. They may be constrained by budgets in order to be able to implement the technology they need to provide that holistic real-time view to provide that assurance, as well as being able to articulate cyber security strategy in a way that relates to business strategy and growth. So CISO’s are probably feeling like they are facing an unprecedented challenge on all fronts.

What often happens is that organisations wait until an incident occurs, but therein lies a fool’s paradise because not being proactive in today’s landscape will inevitably lead to a breach at some point.

CISO’s are having to balance Cloud, on-prem and legacy environments, all posing potential entry points for Cyber criminals. And with AI growing exponentially and organisations implementing tech that grows efficiency, operationally they are ultimately expanding their threat landscape without addressing the tools they need to combat the threat. In essence, a solitary business might perceive itself as overseeing security for numerous entities, given that each business function, from sales to marketing to accounts payable, establishes its own digital environment.

5 ways a CISO can navigate the perfect storm and balance Cyber Security risk and Business Growth?

There is a way of balancing business growth and cyber security challenges, but it requires a shift in the perception of the role of the CISO:

  1. Align Security to Business Objectives: Relate the desired growth back to clear tangible metrics that can be reported and tracked that align to business strategy. Aligning the risk to business growth will provide palpable focus to efforts. Understanding business goals will identify how cyber security can support the achievement of organisational strategy.
  2. Utilise Automation and AI: AI in particular is going to revolutionise how cyber criminals access your organisation, so utilise it to protect and counteract any potential harm. Technology that harnesses the power of automation and AI will propel operational efficiency and support business growth.
  3. Continuous Monitoring & Measurement of security performance: In order to truly understand your cyber security posture of your entire organisation, this can only be achieved with continuous monitoring and measurement of security performance. Investing in the right technology to achieve this will facilitate business development.
  4. Stay abreast of all emerging threats: This is tough as frankly a CISO can feel like threats are coming from all directions. But if you can keep abreast of emerging threats then it will allow you to be proactive in your cyber security approach.
  5. Adopt a risk-based approach: Resources should be targeted toward the highest risks coupling that with continual monitoring to adjust their cyber security strategy and prioritising those that pose the highest threat to growth.

 

There are of course other components that will help CISO’s balance growth with cyber security risk, such as collaborating across multiple departments and engaging employees to support your cyber risk strategy, which will also of course support your teams to align cyber security to business growth. However, the CISO’s new reality is the myriad of cyber risk and regulatory changes amidst a demand for business growth that all must navigate – it’s definitely easier said than done, but by focusing on those 5 core ways, will certainly propel a CISO’s capability of being able to be proactive and navigate the storm.

Read more about our Continuous Controls Monitoring Platform here.

 

 

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