How can boards of directors ensure that their firms are prepared for cyber attacks?

After the recent spate of ransomware attacks, many businesses realized they don’t have to be high-value organizations to be targeted. With remote work becoming the norm and cyber crime becoming industrialized, businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to attacks — regardless of the business size or industry.

It is the board’s responsibility to make sure the executive team is prepared and has a plan for the eventuality of a cyber attack.

The questions is not whether a businesses can prevent an attack, a better question is: Can it detect an attack? Is it prepared to stop it? Can it mitigate the effects quickly? Firms that put the time into making cybersecurity plans are seeing those investments pay off.

Cyberattacks like ransomware, business email compromise (BEC) scams and data breaches are some of the key issues businesses are facing today, but despite the number of high-profile incidents and their expensive fallout, many boardrooms are still reluctant to free up budget to invest in the cybersecurity measures necessary to avoid becoming the next victim.

A firm might end up paying millions of dollars to ransomware criminals for the decryption key for an encrypted network – then there’s the additional costs associated with investigating, remediating and restoring the IT infrastructure of the whole business after the incident. Preventing a cyberattack is more cost effective than reacting to one – but many boardrooms still aren’t willing to free up budget.

Is your business prepared for the rise in cybersecurity threats?

In this age of rapidly evolving cyberthreats, it is important for all firms to review and update their security systems. Protecting your information requires a strong defense on all fronts: from setting a dynamic cybersecurity strategy to developing and implementing comprehensive controls and information security services. It is up to the board to lead on this issue and think about cybersecurity in a systematic and strategic way.

It is the boards responsibility to make sure the executive team is preparing the entire organization for an attack, and that includes putting a budget in place to address cybersecurity. Leaders need to find the balance between security, usability and cost. Without proper funding, a cybersecurity program will not adequately protect an organization. Boards must take the time to make sure that leadership is looking at both best and worst case scenarios and are prepared to make some compromises to ensure a secure infrastructure.

Boards that think they can rely on cyber insurance to help absorb the cost of an attack need to realize that they will not be able to qualify for cyber insurance if they don’t have certain cybersecurity services in place.

Security must be considered in every aspect of network and mobile technology that the organization uses.

The board must also lead when it come to communication around cybersecurity events in order for there to be clarity around how breaches are being handled. The entire senior management and board must be on the same page about resolving reputational, legal and operation issues in order to mount a effective response. There should be a shared sense of urgency among the entire leadership team, not just the CIO or CISO.

It is important that someone on the board, other than the CIO or CISO have cybersecurity experience in order to have a more rounded leadership and provide a broader perspective. Having at least one cyber-literate board member can raise the capabilities of the entire board.

There is no one-size fits all approach to cybersecurity. ACE IT Solutions can tailor a cybersecurity program matched to your specific risk profile. By partnering with ACE IT Solutions, organizations can thwart hackers attempts and respond quickly to minimize the costs of a breach. Our security minded clients with the right strategy in place will be better prepared and protected for any potential threats or hacks and for future cyber-control initiatives they will be implementing.

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