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Discussing cybersecurity with your team and board

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The conversation of cybersecurity is one that has to happen at all levels of an enterprise. We know, it’s tedious, and often times a complex one. With so many evolving threats at a rapid-fire rate, it can feel overwhelming to even breach the topic. Especially when your board wants only good news to the quintessential problem: is the network secure?

As it turns out, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. So, how do you frame this very necessary discussion? How does one approach a complex contextual situation without drowning their listeners with too many terms? There’s no one simple answer, but there are efficient ways to approach the situation.

Remember that it’s about mitigating risk

A typical myth of cybersecurity is the idea networks are completely secure, which has never been the case. Therefore, conversations involving cybersecurity need to take a different course: “reducing overall risk.” In other words, shaping the conversation around digital risk management instead of one centered only on IT cybersecurity. The key, then, is to create a discussion leading to the creation of business-wide risk management, while still minding the goals of the business.

Easier said than done, right? There are ways you can approach this conversation, however. Challenges facing cybersecurity teams and the CISO is to assure they’re satisfying all parties. To help get everyone on board, introducing risk-driven programs can help generate comprehensive solutions that involve all parts of an enterprise (business, IT, and cybersecurity).

Next comes working to identify threats and sharing that knowledge with the enterprise. Cybersecurity practices today are best when the whole network is on board, not just the IT sector. More so because successful and aggressive attacks often original from phishing schema and other social engineering tactics.

Part of a risk assessment program, then, involves identifying risk factors, external and internal. Are staff engaging in high-risk behavior? Is management leaving “openings” in their network access? Is there a backup process in case of intrusion? Little questions like these help form a “risk health score” for the enterprise.

How you choose to identify tolerable risk largely depends on the business. It helps to format said risks in a digestible format too, placing them in tiers (example: ransomware at high threat, junk email at low).

Are you improving?

No doubt the inevitable question between management and cybersecurity leads is “is our cybersecurity improving?”

The answer is always yes, but how do you translate that to make board members (or whomever) happy? For one, it’s important to translate that contemporary security methods for cybersecurity is rapidly outpaced by the growth of attacks. More so, cybersec strategies also fall behind the regulatory climate in the IT world. Said climate is fast-shifting, but the nature of IT limits the speed at which teams can respond.

Therefore, when addressing concerns and plans, finding ways to handle the broad, ever-expanding climate of cybersecurity and IT problems is important. This can work by either introducing policies within your enterprise or using third-party services which centralize strategies like zero-trust and compliance management.

Finally, waterfalling discussion into continued competence training for workers, such as prepping them on how to recognize intrusion attacks and social engineering, should be incorporated into your discourse.

Obviously, going into this conversational model proves challenging when you have a lot of people to appease. If our quick cheat sheet isn’t enough, you can reach out to Bytagig for additional assistance.

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