Getting Executive Buy-In On Cybersecurity Programs

Over the span of a few years, the rising increase in cybercrime and the high-profile nature of cybersecurity have made it easier for Chief Technology Officers and IT managers to gain the financial support they need. With each new ”Breaking News” article about a ransomware attack or data breach, those who control the finances are often ready to do anything that will address the problem and make it go away. In many workplaces, the spending amount can make up for years worth of neglect.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and a global recession having a firm grip on many cybersecurity budgets, right when businesses and organizations need them the most. Cybersecurity leaders are staring at an entirely different landscape when it comes to cyber threats, complete with a variety of challenges. Cybersecurity leaders are having to do this while making changes to their priorities as more workplaces begin to support hybrid and remote workplaces.

When you combine all the challenges, finding ways to get executive buy-in on cybersecurity has proven to be a challenge in itself. Getting and maintain executive buy-in on cybersecurity strategies and programs is never a ”one and done” type of deal, it is a process that will continuously evolve, in comparison to today’s cyber threat landscape.

Getting your executives on board is a stepping stone to building an effective, scalable, and efficient cybersecurity program. Unfortunately, many businesses and organizations do not place a high emphasis on cybersecurity. In a recent PwC Canada study, 3,000 executives around the world were polled to discover where they currently stand regarding cybersecurity. 55 percent of the executives expected to budget more for security, with Canadian responses being nearly the same.

However, only 34 percent of the 100 Canadian participants were confident their business or organization is spending their cybersecurity budget wisely, in comparison to the 44 percent global numbers. One of the most common concerns for the Canadian participants is their ability to make preparations for likely and unlikely cybersecurity threats. Another issue that was common amongst Canadian participants is their ability to consider cybersecurity and privacy whenever a decision needs to be made.

Cyber Threat Landscape

For those who work in cybersecurity, there is no surprise to learn that leadership in some businesses and organizations has an improvident view of privacy, cyber threats, and compliance. Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in the number of cyber threats and cyber attacks for businesses and organizations of all sizes. While many professionals will state that the rising numbers can be attributed to the transition to remote work and other adjustments that were made during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, we anticipate the numbers will continue to rise even after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

According to the Global Security Insights Report 2021, most Canadian businesses and organizations experienced cyber threats and cyber-attacks due to more employees working from home in 2020. Consequently, many security leaders are beginning to understand how important it is to explore opportunities to make improvements to cybersecurity strategies to protect the business and its vital assets against cyber threats.

Findings from the Global Security Insights Report 2021 include:

  • 86% of Canadian security managers confirmed a breach
  • 78% of respondents acknowledged that the volume of attacks has increased, with 79% of respondents acknowledging that cyber attacks have become more sophisticated.
  • 56% are concerned about a material breach in 2021

According to the report, CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) the biggest security concerns were applications and workloads. The report also revealed that the most common cause of data breaches was vulnerabilities in the operating system (19.5%). Third-party apps were not too far behind, generating a response of 16%.

Getting Executive Buy-in

Do you know why you need executives to buy-in to your cybersecurity approach? You must have an understanding of why you need executives on board because this is where the conversation will start. You need to focus on gathering the right people, the right processes, and the right technologies in place if you want to successfully secure your business or organization.

Implementing cybersecurity is not going to be an easy feat, but you need executive buy-in if you want to implement an effective and efficient security culture. Cybersecurity is about more than building a ”fence” around your business or organization to keep the threats away. While this will certainly be part of your efforts, you will need your executives and other leaders to support the need for better cybersecurity practices.

How can you get your executives on board with supporting your cybersecurity program? Here are some recommendations you can employ to get your executives on board:

  • Give them an overview of cybersecurity and explain how the current threat landscape continues to change.
  • After explaining the current cybersecurity landscape, explain how the current and future risks can place the objectives and goals of the business at risk
  • Find advocates within the workplace who also understand the cybersecurity threats and the risks they present
  • Consider simulating a cyber-attack within the workplace, and this can include sending a ransomware link or a phishing link to show your executives what damage can be done if the attack was real and not simulated

We understand how critical it is to build executive buy-in, and we also know how difficult this task can be. However, if you never have the support you need from everyone in the workplace, can you actually consider the task finished? Your business or organization will need to keep up with all the changes that are taking place across the globe.

When you present the facts and details of your cybersecurity program in ways that your executives will understand, the better it will serve the aims of getting the executive buy-in you need. With the support of your executives, you can implement a cybersecurity program that will protect your business or organization despite the current landscape. The right cybersecurity program should be effective and scalable so your business will have the protection it needs as it continues to grow.

Is there a disconnect within your business or organization regarding cybersecurity? Do you know why there is a disconnect and why your executives are not fully on board with your cybersecurity program? At Compunet Infotech, we provide IT services and support for organizations in the Architectural, Engineering, and Accounting industries in Vancouver and across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

We understand what your organization’s ultimate goal is, and we are here to provide you with the services and solutions you need to get your point across and create a successful cybersecurity program. Connect with us today at (604) 986-8170.