Why Cyber Risk Communication Is An Important Part of Cybersecurity
Communication happens when there is an exchange of information between individuals using a method that’s common and understood by both parties. In any crisis, communication is one key element that will help an organisation move forward and get over the crisis it’s facing. And in cybersecurity, cyber risk communication is one key measure that defines the success of an organisation’s cyber strategy.
After all, if you can’t communicate your strategy effectively you’ll either not get budget approval or you won’t have the confidence of the board.
What Is Cyber Risk Communication?
In the realm of IT and cybersecurity, risk communication happens when the information being shared is relevant to cybersecurity risks and issues. It involves the sharing of information on current risks, how they impact the business, and how they can be mitigated.
With an effective communication strategy to C-suite individuals or other decision-makers, it will be easier and faster to implement a cybersecurity program. And one way to make communication more effective is through cyber risk quantification.
What’s the Difference Between Cyber Risk Quantification and Cyber Risk Communication?
Cyber risk quantification is a part of cyber risk communication. There are different means to communicate risks, quantification is one of those means. Cyber risk communication is the dialogue between you and your audience that can be done verbally, through a presentation, or a written document. It outlines the risks that the company has and solutions that can address these threats.
On the other hand, cyber risk quantification is communicating the risks using tangible ‘quantifiable’ data, often in financial terms, to provide more concrete evidence that can lead to faster decisions and strategic actions.
Cyber risk communication is presenting the current situation, and cyber risk quantification is the language you use to ensure that what you’re communicating is understood. Without cyber risk quantification, it will be more challenging to communicate cyber risks and threats, for example using outdated methods of colour coding.
How Important Is Communication in Cyber Risk Management?
Communication is an integral part of cyber risk management and effective communication is important not just at the C-suite level but to the whole organisation as well. Cyber risks to the company involve all employees, and if each one is expected to do their part in ensuring the security of the business’ network and data, then all must be informed of these risks and the actions needed to prevent any breach.
This can only happen if there is proper communication across all departments, and at every level.
5 Tips for Effective Cyber Risk Communication
1. Know Your Audience
Preparation is key in cyber risk communication. Knowing your audience means adapting your communication style that works best on the recipient. Communicating with C-suite stakeholders will differ from other stakeholders or employees in the company, as your audience will have different levels of understanding when it comes to cyber risk. It’s also important to understand what each ‘audience’ is interested in. For example:
- The board might be more interested in mitigation costs, current exposure, and business loss as a result of risks.
- For the marketing department it could be the cost of losing market positioning or branding as a result of bad PR.
- Whilst line managers might be more interested in workdays lost.
2. Use the Right Tools
Related to knowing your audience, using the right tools appropriate to the subject matter or the audience will help to get your message across. Weigh the value of the tools at your disposal. Email, social media, instant messaging, presentations, reports – whichever you use, it should help you deliver the message and not alienate your audience. It also needs to be accessible. If you have a retail business and not everyone has a business email, then physical signage in the workplace is needed as well as digital channels.
3. Provide Examples That Are Close to Home
Providing real-life examples of cybersecurity failures or successes can be effective in highlighting the seriousness of the subject. Using examples within the same industry will even be more effective. Because it happened close to home, it can happen in your ‘own backyard’.
4. Quantify the Impact on the Business and Revenue
When presenting to decision-makers, the financial ramifications of cybersecurity risks on the revenue and regulations outweigh the cybersecurity horror stories experienced by other companies. By using financial data and how it will affect the bottom line, the company board will be able to put into context the cyber risks and why it’s important to mitigate and manage them.
It’s one thing to say we could lose a lot of money if we have a data breach. But it’s a lot more powerful to say “We could lose USD$2 million in sales loss alone as a result.”
5. Involve the Different Departments
Cybersecurity is no longer just ‘an IT thing.’ It involves all parts of the organisation, and in order for risk communication to be effective, each part must be on the same page with the company’s cybersecurity protocols. Securing the support of each department makes cyber risk communication easier and more efficient.
For IT professionals, an effective cyber risk communication strategy is imperative. Whether it’s for a sales pitch or getting approvals for your cybersecurity protocols, using the right tools, means, and technique will get your message across.
If you want help with your cyber risk communication, drop us a message and we’ll help you use Boardish to implement the best strategy.