Why cybersecurity starts in the C-suite

by | Oct 17, 2022 | Technology

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The average number of attempted cyberattacks per company rose 31% between 2020 and 2021, according to Accenture’s latest State of Cybersecurity Report. With 70% of organizations including cybersecurity as an item for discussion in every board meeting, and 72% of CEOs stating that strong cybersecurity strategies are critical for their reporting and trust to key stakeholders, it’s clear security is a top concern for business leaders. Evaluating and responding to cyber risk is no longer viewed as separate from core business goals, but rather an essential element to keeping a business alive.

So, who at an enterprise is responsible for understanding, developing and initiating a strong cybersecurity strategy? Well, according to the same survey of 260 C-suite executives interviewed globally, 98% believe that the entire C-suite is responsible for the management of cybersecurity — the work doesn’t fall to any one individual expert, CRO or CISO.

However, according to a global research study conducted by Trend Micro, which included the perspectives of over 5,000 IT professionals in 26 countries, only half of the respondents said they believe C-suite executives fully understand cybersecurity threats and risk management. The reality is, C-suite and C-suite minus 1 executives are not knowledgeable about core cybersecurity concepts like zero-trust security architectures. Faced with managing massive incidents like the December 2021 Log4j vulnerability, this skills gap highlights a huge mismatch between expertise and responsibility at the executive level.

In order to protect a business and its sensitive internal and customer data, executive leaders must now also be cybersecurity experts.

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The responsibility of the C-suite

A business is only as strong as its leaders. Whether it’s the CEO, CFO, COO, CHRO or CMO, cybersecurity should be a top concern for all of us. C-suite and senior level managers must be able to identify potential cyberthreats to their organization and understand systemic risks present within its digital ecosystem of suppliers, vendors and customers.

Yet many organizations have struggled to keep pace with their industries’ digital transformations, leaving significant knowledge, process and technology gaps in how they mana …

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