Every IT executive is aware of how little they can do without the board’s approval when trying to implement a company-wide cybersecurity strategy. But, with new cybersecurity risks detected each day and cyber attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated and malevolent it’s now becoming a must.
We are seeing a trend of authorities implementing stricter data security acts to prompt businesses to step up their game. Because of this, the cybersecurity strategy has become a crucial topic to discuss at board meetings.
CTOs, IT experts and managers, as well as cybersecurity experts, need to be aware the the board doesn’t need to understand the mechanisms used by cybercriminals to exploit security flaws.
They are not IT experts; you are. You have to make them aware just what those exploits mean for the company: ruin. But how can you improve IT communications and bring this to their attention? Here are some tips that will help you:
The most important way to improve IT communication is to know what goals are important to the board of directors. That information is crucial to present your cybersecurity proposal as a critical business enabler that will get them there. You will improve your credibility if the board knows you support their business and want to make sure they remain operational.
Another method to improve IT communication is to choose your words wisely. Avoid using technical jargon and explaining complex details of your cybersecurity programs. Your board won’t understand you any better if you try to explain the current security architecture.
This is probably the biggest challenge you will face – it’s hard to explain the intricacies of cybersecurity without dwelling into the technical side of things.
Still, focus on keeping things simple: explain where the organisation is standing currently, how much at risk they are, how it might affect stocks, and what steps are needed to mitigate risks.
You will improve IT communication by making your presentation relatable. Use real-life examples and analogies to bring the subject closer to board members. Explain just how important it is to have good security nowadays by highlighting how much damage cyber attacks can cause.
You will have a much easier time explaining the need for new systems if you send your proposal documents in advance.
A week in advance should be enough time for everyone to look over your proposal. That way, they can send inquiries and feedback that will help you adjust details that you might have missed.
Include relevant audit and compliance metrics, as well as operational effectiveness. Relevant statistics on cybersecurity that relate to the organisation and what threats could impact its operations are a good points to present to pique their interest. You might want to include recent reports that highlight how unsecured data, public folders, and old accounts enable malware and ransomware attacks.
PowerPoint might be a go-to tool for presentations in general, and it’s a good starting point, but there are other tools that can help you prove your point.
You can use data breach calculators in real time to asses just how damaging a data breach can be to your organisation, how long it would take to identify a breach, and how much time you will spend until you manage to contain it. You can also include other types of media that help emphasise your points such as video, audio and visualisations.
Understand the tools that you have at your disposal (we’ve outlined some of the essentials here.) and don’t be afraid to use them. Boardish, for example, will help you create a snapshot of the full risk analysis of the company right now and offer visualisations to put in your proposal. This is a good way to explore and input various elements of cybersecurity and get to see what kind of impact they have on the organisation.
The only surefire way to get your IT proposal approved is to improve IT communication with your board of directors. Present your strategy as a solution that helps the organisation manage risk effectively, and present KPIs to measure the effectiveness and ROI of your strategy.