The board of directors provide good governance and build a strategy for the enterprise. The successful running and well-being of a business often depend on the vision and direction provided by a competent board as they decide and execute on business-critical functionalities such as finance, information technology, human resources, etc.
Elaborating the above-mentioned point, cybersecurity was not as important a topic for boards – it was a topic which would be delegated to Chief Information Officers or Chief Information Security Officers.
However, this is bound to change as the last decade has truly brought the dangers of cyber threats into the limelight.
Enterprise boards are gradually realizing the criticality of cybersecurity and why it is a domain which every function of the company should involve in.
This has obviously brought up conversations where even boards contemplate if it is finally the right moment to consider the involvement of cybersecurity experts in the enterprise.
Consider this – lawmakers in the US Congress recently introduced a Cybersecurity Disclosure Act which required publicly traded companies to disclose if any of their board members had expertise in cybersecurity – if not, these companies were required to provide an explanation on what they were doing to prevent cyber threats.
Hence, legally or otherwise, companies now have to seriously consider gaining cybersecurity expertise in their boards and in the enterprise.
Mentioned below are some more points that may convince the board of directors about the importance of cybersecurity expertise –
Primary responsibility for the board is to assess risk to the company and plan accordingly. In this era, cyber threats constitute one of the biggest dangers to businesses. They are varied and ever-expanding and cannot be completely protected against.
The damage they cause can be unpredictable ranging from simple intrusions to a huge takedown of servers, affecting employees and customers. Considering this unpredictability, it is important that there are experts on the board with top-level knowledge of the cybersecurity domain to immediately fix a situation arising out of cyberthreats.
A clear strategy
Dealing with cyber threats requires a clear, unified strategy which the entire company buys in to. Unlike earlier, cybersecurity is not just a concern of the IT team, and nowadays, not even just that of the C-suite. Cybersecurity strategy is outlined from the board level nowadays as that is where business strategies are developed and outlined.
Dealing with regulatory authorities
Today, entire nation-states and governments make deliberations about cybersecurity. National headlines are made when the US accuses Russia of interfering in its elections or if Iran is reported to be plotting cyber attacks. It is not a surprise that governments all over the world are creating strict regulations and cyber laws which companies doing business in their territories must adhere to. Having a cybersecurity expert helps immensely to deal with these regulations, whether it comes to negotiating with government regulators or understanding the best way to ensure compliance with those regulations.
Communicating with other board directors
Board members are appointed for their in-depth knowledge and professional achievements in a particular field. However, they may not always have the technical fortitude or know-how to comprehend to cybersecurity jargon.
This is where an expert in cybersecurity on the board is helpful – they can easily understand the details and explain the same to other board members for better clarity.
Enterprises must seriously consider appointing cybersecurity experts as in the long run, this is a move which will help in better efficiency and productivity for the enterprise.