CEO and Cybersecurity – Everything CEOs Should Know

CEO and Cybersecurity - Everything CEOs Should Know

Last Updated on January 14, 2023 by Faiza Murtaza

Are you working as the CEO of the company? Chances are, your company has faced a significant cyberattack, or it hasn’t, but you are concerned you are next. The pandemic has increased the number of both new and old cyber threats. Many organizations simplified what may have been decades of digitalization into months in response to COVID-19, possibly modifying their cybersecurity risk tolerance. As people switched online, cybercrimes rose significantly, overburdening already-stressed IT departments and disrupting millions of new users of remote-work technology. Some organizations turned to alternative suppliers when their supply chains were disrupted, whose poor cybersecurity practices brought recent cyberattacks.

A company’s staff, stakeholders, customers, and shareholders have come to associate any security breach with a betrayal of trust, and the CEO’sCEO’s primary responsibility is to develop confidence. CEOs must be energetic, engaged, and influential leaders to become successful cyber security leaders. They must be a committed advisor to their CIO, CISO, CFO, and CTO, while also guaranteeing that everybody in the company is responsible, driving real benefit, and framing the cyber mission with confidence and purpose. The issue is that few people actually do so.

According to a PWC survey, CEOs see themselves as committed and decisive about cybersecurity and privacy-related models and strategies. However, their employee seems to disagree with them. Their employees believe CEOs as not proactive rather reactive. They get engaged in cyber security and privacy control only after facing a breach. Nearly two-thirds of 63 per cent of employees say their organization does not have the kind of assistance they want from their Chief executive. However, some CEOs have transformed this issue entirely; 10% of organizations have developed a plan for a security company by lowering organizational ambiguity and instituting a structure for joint cyber security efforts, with the CEO in a lead role. These CEOs make liabilities their advantages, eventually becoming better and successful leaders.

Let’s now discuss in detail the role of CEOs in a fool-proof cybersecurity plan and application.

What CEOs Should Know About Cybersecurity Threats?

CEOs must ask the following questions to understand the possibility and impact of potential cybersecurity threats: 

  • How might cyberattacks impact my company’s various functions, such as public relations, supply chain, customer satisfaction, finance, marketing, human resources, and executive security
  • What kind of crucial data such as customer data, trade secrets, personally identifiable information, research can be damaged or lost? 
  • How could my company build long-term resilience to reduce cybersecurity threats? What types of cyber risk knowledge transfer does my company engage in? Who is responsible for sharing this information in my company? 
  • What types of data practises could my company implement to nurture community among the various cybersecurity teams it belongs to?
  • How can we assess our organizations’ security quality, and who is responsible for doing this?

CEOs must set the right cybersecurity tone for their businesses, highlighting the significance of security and how it is everyone’s joint effort to secure a company in a digital world. Creating a culture of cybersecurity within a company has been confirmed to be among the most effective defence against cyber foes. Humans, not innovation, is either a company’s strongest or weakest link in the event of a data breach. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of CEOs to understand other cybersecurity to ensure that their company takes reasonable steps to secure their critical data. It does not imply that each and every CEO must obtain an advanced cybersecurity certification. Instead, CEOs must increase their knowledge of essential cybersecurity and use their leadership skills to understand and mitigate cybersecurity risks.

How Can CEOs Reduce Cybersecurity Risks?

The answer is short and straight, by asking the right questions.

Here are the questions that a CEO must ask to reduce cybersecurity risks in an organization:

  • Do we have a plan to defend ourselves? If not, how can we plan our cybersecurity in advance?
  • Is our workforce cybersecurity read? If not, what training can we provide to achieve information security readiness?
  • How can we minimize the insider’s risk?
  • When top management should be informed and involved about cybersecurity risks?
  • How secure is our company at the moment? 
  • What are the potential business consequences of our present level of cybersecurity risk for our organization? 
  • How well does our cybersecurity program adhere to market guidelines and principles? 
  • Are the metrics for our information security program measurable and impactful? 
  • How thorough are our incident response and disaster recovery plan? When do we put our plans into action? 
  • Do our strategies cover the entire company, or are they restricted to IT? 
  • How well is my company prepared to collaborate with local, state, and federal government cybersecurity incident responders, forensic experts, vendors, and contract responders?

Furthermore, the CEO’sCEO’s responsibility here is to request a reported report for any cyber breach that occurred, how it was handled, and what data was lost. This report must be used to develop new security measures and update security policies, governance models, continuity planning, and disaster recovery plans. In such situations, the CEO must always be present and actively engaged.

Best Organizational Cybersecurity Practices

Dealing with all of these challenges and responsibilities is not an easy job for a CEO. This necessitates leadership, information security understanding, a clear plan, and confidence, which is insufficient. A CEO must have techniques that rely on recognized best practices to achieve cybersecurity goals. The best cybersecurity practices can be discovered in integrated systems given by industry standards. This can be highly beneficial to a CEO. Here are a few best cybersecurity practices to implement and maintain in your organization.

  • Discuss cybersecurity risk management with the organization’s CEO and executive staff. 
  • Keep an eye on the situation in terms of cybersecurity threats.
  • Evaluate and oversee cybersecurity risks specific to your organization. 
  • Guarantee that cybersecurity risk indicators are relevant and tangible. 
  • Create and put cybersecurity processes and policies into action for business continuity, incident response, and recovery plans. 
  • Instead of simply relying on regulatory requirements or accreditations, incorporate industry best practices. 
  • Maintain a high-quality workforce. 

Read also: How Cybersecurity Risks Impacts SOX Compliance?