Where does your cybersecurity program fit into your enterprise strategy?
Organizations that view cybersecurity only as a siloed function within IT are missing out on a key opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition. In today’s digital landscape, everyone in your organization needs to view cybersecurity from a new, more nuanced angle – including (and especially) the C-suite. Rather than approach it as a merely reactive or defensive role, consider how a robust cybersecurity program can support innovation within your organization and propel growth.
If you made a top ten list of growth enablers for your organization, would cybersecurity make the list? Digitization has revolutionized the way many companies do business – and there is a critical link between innovative digital growth strategies and robust cybersecurity programs. You don’t want a revenue-generating initiative to stall because you aren’t confident in your program or are uncomfortable managing associated risks. The market will only become more competitive; don’t let potential key differentiators die on the vine.
As digital continues to dominate we’re going to see two types of organizations emerge: A) those that can defend themselves, and B) those that can both defend themselves as well as demonstrate the value of this defense to consumers. Company A and Company B may be equally secure, but Company B is going to pull ahead in the marketplace if they understand how to leverage their cybersecurity program as a unique selling point.
How is your competition handling cybersecurity? Could you use your cybersecurity program to displace them? Focus on digital and your customer. Can you use your program to improve the client experience? Reduce costs or compliance risks? Scale your product? Protect your brand? Don’t be afraid to pursue new opportunities and move on them before your competition can.
This tactic isn’t limited to startups and smaller, more agile companies. Even established organizations can identify gaps within the market and create innovative strategies to address them. A strong cybersecurity program allows more room for experimentation, product testing, and faster responses to changing markets because it is continuously managed and adjusted. It also lets organizations of all sizes adopt new technologies and processes at the right times, which can result in new financial wins.
A weak program, on the other hand, doesn’t properly protect an organization and it also impedes the adoption of cutting-edge solutions.
If your organization commits to cybersecurity from the start, you will be in a better position to drive the change necessary for reanalyzing and improving the value you deliver to your customers. Building cybersecurity into the beginning stages of development makes it an essential element rather than something you must haphazardly tack on when something goes wrong.
Remember: a cybersecurity program isn’t just about securing your assets. It is an asset.
Most C-suite executives and board members understand how cybersecurity protects the organization from threats. They know they don’t want the brand in the headlines for the wrong reason (such as a breach). They probably understand how a weak program puts them at risk of financial, legal, and reputational consequences. They might spend a lot of time thinking about cybersecurity from these perspectives, but is there a more efficient use of this brainpower?
Cybersecurity fuels business growth. And it is the responsibility of everyone in your organization.
The C-suite and board members likely rely on a CISO or a CIO to handle the technical aspects of the program and look to these experts for advice. While this makes sense, it’s important to remember that accountability for cybersecurity is spread throughout the organization. When you are confident that technical components are being managed, it’s time to think about cybersecurity in the context of revenue and operations.
When you release new products or services, you’re held accountable for their security. You can calculate the cost of a cybersecurity incident. You will know what you spent on incident response teams, legal investigations or lawsuits, fines, or external communication plans. But that’s just the beginning. How much revenue will you lose when customers don’t want to do business with you because they no longer trust you with their data? Can you put a dollar amount on this loss of trust and reputation?
You understand the concept of supply and demand. Thanks to the increasing number of high profile data breaches, customers have a new demand: better security. Can you supply that to them? If so, they may well reward you by opening up their wallets.
Something else to consider: what is the value of your intellectual property? Imagine that your confidential and strategic assets were compromised. Would you lose your position in the marketplace?
A cybersecurity program does not just help you “stop a hack.” It keeps your revenue stream intact.
As a business, you need to do everything possible to protect your information. This begins with the overall culture within your organization. First, ask yourself this: who is your company and what do you do for people? And then ask yourself this: what role do your data assets play in that?
Cybersecurity is complex and is not limited to risk management or mitigation. The nature of security is changing. Security professionals can’t just be thinking about threats – they must now consider the business mission. What does the organization, and the departments within it, want to achieve? Everything must stem from that central question.
Organizations need to stop approaching information security with the mindset of “what is the technical solution?” Instead, they should begin to think in terms of, “I need to solve this specific business problem. How should I do that?”
When you move beyond a purely technical approach, your cybersecurity program transforms from an operational plan into a revenue-generating competitive advantage.