Corporate investments in cyber security are expected to increase this year by 8.7% compared to last year. Considering the grim, even stormy cyber weather we have had earlier this year, it is fairly safe to believe Gartner’s forecast on security spending. As incidents like Norsk Hydro and Bayer start breaking into the mainstream news feeds, companies are alerted to evaluate the importance of digital corporate security. At the first thought, preparing for cyber attacks may seem arduous and difficult. We assure you that this is not the case.
When you are building a culture that speaks to all employees, you should make sure that security is being managed with sufficient priority. You should put digital security management on the same level with business or financial management, for example. You must manage security-related risks just like you would manage any other business risks.
1. Make security management a specific person’s personal responsibility
As digitalization intertwines the digital and physical worlds further and further, corporate security management faces a new challenge. The line between traditional security domains, such as work safety and property security, is starting to fade. If the physical facilities for data communications are not properly locked, for example, digital communications are just as much at risk as the physical property is.
So, as digitalization marches on, the management responsibilities for the various domains of security must be brought closer together. Ideally, someone at the management team level has a comprehensive responsibility over security issues.
2. Identify risks and evaluate their financial impact
The management team member in charge of security issues must identify security-related risks, their probabilities and financial impacts. What will happen if the company’s key indicators are being tampered with, or if the financial backend is breached? What would be the financial setback or how many customers would be lost if the company operations were shut down for 24 hours, for example?
When you start discussing security-related risks just like any other business risks, all management team members will understand their importance, regardless of their personal background. This is the way to ensure that digital security management is not hidden behind technical jargon.
3. Prepare decision proposals and carry the risks or take action
Normal management team work includes decision making on issues with high financial risks and probabilities. This is often not the case when talking about digital security. This is something that many companies have to work on: security-related issues fall through the cracks all too often.
By making digital security a management team level responsibility, related decision making becomes easier. When security-related topics are brought to the management team as properly prepared proposals, the team can knowingly either accept risks or take action to prevent them.
4. Follow up and react to changes
The person in charge of security has to provide regular updates on the overall security status and how prioritized tasks are progressing. In addition, you should continuously reflect on whether your company’s operations meet the challenges today and tomorrow. This is even more important if there are changes to the company’s customer needs or operational environment.
As digital systems are getting more and more mature, the volume of impulses and signals is bound to increase. In the future, artificial intelligence will help us in security monitoring. AI solutions will be able to detect anomalies quickly. Based on the findings, AI can automatically provide management proposals on the actions that can be taken to mitigate risks or minimize damages.
Essential element in well-managed companies
Today, security management is starting to resemble sustainable development: you have to maintain at least a certain default level, or else you risk undermining your business. As technology develops, it is misused more and more and related risks become more pressing. Fortunately, management, tools and processes are improving as well. As long as your company is up and running, it is not too late to take the upper hand in digital security management.