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The current business landscape is highly dependent on technology and the internet, making organizations vulnerable to a wide range of cyber threats.
The consequences of these threats, including financial losses, reputational damage, and operational disruptions, can be significant. Therefore, it is crucial for board members to have a clear understanding of the cyber risks their organization faces and to adopt a proactive approach to managing them.
The board plays a vital role in overseeing the organization’s cybersecurity strategy and ensuring that the right resources and measures are in place to mitigate the impact of potential attacks. By being proactive in managing cyber risks, board members can help secure the organization’s assets, reputation, and overall resilience.
Regulatory bodies such as the SEC are placing an increased emphasis on cybersecurity, highlighting the need for board members to prioritize their education on this critical issue. The proposed rule by the SEC requiring public companies to disclose information about the cybersecurity expertise of their board members underscores the significance of the issue and the importance of transparency. Providing information about their expertise in cybersecurity can help build trust with investors and demonstrate the board’s commitment to good governance. Board members must understand that their knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity can influence the investment decisions of stakeholders.
To boost their cybersecurity literacy, board members can follow these six steps:
Keep up to date with current trends, threats, and best practices by reading articles, books and reports from reputable sources like MIT Technology Review, Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes.
Attend cybersecurity training programs, workshops, and conferences to learn from experts and stay current on industry trends. I went through the MIT cybersecurity certification program and found it worth the investment.
Work with the organization’s IT and security teams to develop a comprehensive cyber-risk management strategy that covers all aspects of cybersecurity, including threat management, incident response, and data protection.
Ensure that the organization has adequate budget and personnel allocated for cybersecurity.
It's important to regularly review the organization’s security measures and procedures to identify areas for improvement and train employees on security best practices.
Build partnerships with key stakeholders, including government agencies, industry organizations, and other private sector companies. Stay involved in cybersecurity discussions and initiatives and encourage open communication between the board, management, and staff on cybersecurity-related matters.
In the event of a cyberattack, board members must be prepared to respond and minimize damage. This requires a proactive approach to cybersecurity, including an understanding of the current threats and best practices for managing cyber risks. By improving their knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity, board members can help ensure that the organization is prepared to respond and recover from a potential cyberattack, minimizing damage to the best extent possible. This will help the organization maintain its operations, finances, and reputation in the face of a cyber threat, ensuring long-term shareholder value and resilience.
Helen Yu is a Global Top 20 thought leader in 10 categories, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, internet of things and marketing. She is a Board Director, Fortune 500 Advisor, WSJ Best Selling & Award Winning Author, Keynote Speaker, Top 50 Women in Tech and IBM Top 10 Global Thought Leader in Digital Transformation. She is also the Founder & CEO of Tigon Advisory, a CXO-as-a-Service growth accelerator, which multiplies growth opportunities from startups to large enterprises. Helen collaborated with prestigious organizations including Intel, VMware, Salesforce, Cisco, Qualcomm, AT&T, IBM, Microsoft and Vodafone. She is also the author of Ascend Your Start-Up.
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