3 Things CISOs Should Be Doing This Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Infosecurity Magazine

Cybersecurity Awareness Month plays a pivotal role in raising awareness around the importance of cybersecurity on a national and global scale. While the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) stresses the importance of multi-factor authentication, strong passwords, and up-to-date software, it’s imperative to go one step further and take stock of an enterprise’s overall cybersecurity posture.

As we embark on the 20th anniversary, below are three tips CISOs can leverage this Cybersecurity Awareness Month to ensure they have the right security and privacy standards in place.

Use Cybersecurity Maturity Frameworks

Cybersecurity maturity models provide invaluable guidance for mitigating risk throughout the entire organization and vendor ecosystem. These frameworks help security and risk managers effectively assess the current state of cyber hygiene to better understand where there is room for improvement.

Cybersecurity maturity frameworks provide helpful benchmarks against industry averages to help measure a company’s progress in embedding security standards across day-to-day and strategic operations. By understanding where the organization is and where the organization wants to be, CISOs can effectively determine the appropriate security strategy moving forward.

Once organizations land on an agreed strategy, CISOs can develop a set of initiatives that require cross-functional alignment and stakeholder buy-in. CISOs must ensure that all security programs are appropriately communicated and that any cross-functional dependencies have been identified to ensure goals are well-understood by every department throughout the organization. By creating better transparency, stronger communication, and support, CISOs can leverage cybersecurity maturity frameworks to improve the organization’s security posture.

Name Security and Customer Trust as Core Business Values

Transparency and communication are key in earning consumers’ trust should any kind of incident or breach occur. The willingness to disclose information shows a tremendous amount of maturity from the business, and customers appreciate the transparency, despite the stigma that customers will hold it against you in the future.

A robust security policy extends far beyond data protection and incident response – it encompasses customers, investors, regulators and employees. Policies and initiatives, like security awareness training and ongoing compliance with industry regulations, can mean the difference between a necessary evil and a trusted partner. Therefore, it’s imperative to include security and trust as driving principles from the get-go.

Trust begins within the enterprise’s culture. CISOs and the senior leadership team must embed security and privacy across all data-related initiatives from the start, rather than adding it on later, to demonstrate that those priorities truly are core values. When security and trust are valued from the onset, businesses can leverage the principles as a true competitive differentiator.

Adopt a Shared Responsibility Model

Cybersecurity success is reliant on contributions – both big and small – from everyone in the organization. Every business decision comes with risks and actions that each department must perform to make the company successful. The key is to have the right cross-functional representation in place as you evaluate these risks.

Regular enterprise risk reviews must be comprised of not just security, but legal, finance, marketing, and sales, too. Security, legal, and financial executive stakeholders have a responsibility to identify critical business risks in their respective areas, and those risks need to be part of your enterprise-risk ledger.

When a cybersecurity program is based on risk, everyone from C-level executives to operational teams can feel empowered to apply it to their daily tasks and incorporate the requirements within processes. Active awareness and accountability begins with clearly defined roles and responsibilities documented in a corporate policy. A shared responsibility model helps ensure information security policies and practices are up-to-date and comprehensive across the entire business landscape, so nothing falls through the cracks.

As CISOs and security leaders, it is our responsibility to keep our organization ready to handle rising threats by building and promoting a strong security culture. In addition to protecting against organizational threats, we must be able to effectively communicate our security strategy to achieve cross-functional alignment and stakeholder buy-in. Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great reminder to revisit how we can all better integrate security as a core element of our company’s respective cultures.

This content was originally published here.

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