Cybersecurity and the responsibilities of the board of directors have become highly relevant to each other. Today, cybersecurity is one of the main points on the agenda in board meetings. Every time a cybersecurity breach becomes news, the boardroom and stakeholders are reminded of the likelihood of similar threats to their organizations. And the different levels of the legal and regulatory environment have made cybersecurity even more important and complex.
So, what steps can the BOD take to reduce the risk of possible cyber attacks? Below are some essential steps that can help you in strengthening your company’s cyber defense lines.
1. Enhance Your Cybersecurity Knowledge
Historically, the boardroom has remained limited to the matters of business and finance, with the goal to drive growth and improve profitability. They have remained pre-occupied with business operations, market environment, investment matters, and corporate governance. But the boardroom of today is also required to be well informed when it comes to cybersecurity matters.
As a board member, you must keep up with the new developments in cybersecurity and the new threats that companies are exposed to. What this means is that you should either consider putting a cybersecurity expert on the board or get regular updates and inputs from your organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).
2. Lead The Discussion
It is now the responsibility of the boardroom to lead the discussion of cybersecurity across the organization. As a board member, you must start to ask tough questions from the management and the relevant departments and staff about the company’s readiness to cope with cyber risks. Cybersecurity must not remain limited under the realm of the IT department. Instead, the whole organization needs to be aware of cybersecurity threats and what they can do to reduce or prevent risks. And the board must lead this conversation throughout the company.
3. Make Your Expectations Clear
Since the BOD sets the strategic orientation of the company, it must treat cybersecurity as a strategic matter. Furthermore, it must come up with a strategic cybersecurity plan and communicate throughout the company as to what it expects in terms of cybersecurity. The board of directors should also arrange for training of the employees in cybersecurity.
4. Allocate Resources
The boardroom is exceptionally wary when it comes to where the company puts its money. Matters of the incremental cost and questions like “what will the company get in return by investing in cybersecurity?” are often raised in the boardroom. Keep in mind that when it comes to security, enumerating the value or the ROI that it can bring to the business has traditionally remained a difficult matter.
But one crucial decision that the board can make is whether to use the company’s internal resources to manage cybersecurity or outsource cybersecurity of the company to external security providers. Once you understand the challenges, know the strategic significance of cybersecurity, and see the big picture, you can make rational decisions when allocating resources for cybersecurity.
5. Audit Of Incident Response Preparedness
After allocating resources for cybersecurity, the BOD must make it necessary to perform third-party audits of the organization’s incident response preparedness. Furthermore, compliance assessments should be undertaken to be sure the regulatory requirements like that of HIPAA, GDPR, and SOX are met.