Cyber and privacy leaders' agenda
Cyber and privacy leaders must act now to tackle today’s most pressing security challenges.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a wake-up call for CISOs. The business has looked to the cybersecurity team to protect it from an evolving cyber threat, while enabling urgent technology transformation and new growth.
Now more than ever, you need to get your strategies and priorities right. Here's how in four steps:
Cybersecurity teams have traditionally been strongest when it comes to assessing their capabilities, identifying risk, and building roadmaps for the future. CISOs should focus attention on the elements of cybersecurity where many have been weaker in the past. Specifically, they should look to strengthen their engagement with stakeholders, ensure their alignment to core business goals and objectives, and assess their business partners’ satisfaction with the performance and delivery of security services.
As their relationships with business partners have deteriorated in recent years, CISOs may now lack the visibility they need to operate in sync with other functions and pursue a strategy that aligns with the business. Explore next steps for CISOs in the articles below.
To respond to the organizational challenges highlighted by EY research, as well as the sophisticated nature of recent high-profile attacks, CISOs need the support of versatile, multi-skilled professionals.
However, the breadth of skills needed in today’s function is expanding in several directions at once. There is no such thing as a “standard” cybersecurity profile. CISOs need individuals with advanced technical skills, as well as the ability to build interdepartmental relationships.
We outline in this article some of the many cybersecurity executive profiles that have emerged in recent years, despite the profession’s relative newness. Each profile has its own area of focus, relies on its own range of soft skills and professional qualifications, and plays an important role in meeting the changing needs of the business.
CISOs are familiar with the principle of “shifting left,” striving to involve cybersecurity earlier on in the transformation and product development lifecycle. The challenges of COVID-19 indicate, however, that shifting left is no longer all that is required. Our suggestion to CISOs is that they shift north, east, south, and west. In practice, this means navigating four key stakeholder groups.
Addressing the concerns of management, at “north,” means focusing on reporting and accountability, as well as budgeting and resource allocation. Shifting the focus “east,” to regulators, is a case of prioritizing certifications and attestations, along with regulatory mapping. Shifting south is about enhancing standards and testing. And shifting west involves focusing on security and privacy by design, along with certifications and continuous testing.
If CISOs can position themselves in the center of these four vital stakeholders, they will be in the right place to take their function to the next level of strategic influence.
In the best of times, security is introduced into a digital transformation program late in the process – generally as a compliance item. With inevitable changes associated with greater use of cloud services, third-party outsourcing of core business functions, and/or reduction of internal staff, it is critical that the security team is introduced into the discussion as a business risk function.
Despite ongoing uncertainty over budgets, EY research reveals that leaders expect to invest in the following areas:
The shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic brought the importance of robust identity and access management (IAM) practices firmly into the spotlight. It has become an integral pillar of an organization’s security infrastructure as the business demands better access controls in a less controlled network environment with shared platforms.
The increased use of personal devices and remote access to core business systems increases the threat landscape of businesses. However, adoption of new IAM controls and processes will mitigate the cyber risks and threats for organizations.
What can security leaders do now, next and beyond?
- Now – solve the current crisis
Perform an impact assessment of remote working, IAM processes, and secure access to critical and non-critical applications. Support contingency programs including IAM process simplification and work-arounds, and re-organize IAM operations to accelerate execution and monitoring of remote and privileged access.
- Next – steps for year-round
Assess the appropriateness of remote access by critical/non-critical application, and review the revised access controls with your compliance teams. Also gain buy-in from your compliance team for simplified procedures, including access to business applications.
- Beyond – resiliency and risk management
Enhance your IAM capability through improved contingency processes, awareness, reporting, technology and collaboration.
- Now – solve the current crisis
It is well understood that privacy needs to evolve. This is driven by technological developments as well as changes in societal attitudes and perceptions – ordinarily rooted in national and cultural factors – which are highly reactive to the perception of peripheral events.
Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ask ourselves … what happens next? Have consumer perceptions of privacy fundamentally changed? Have our perceptions about trustworthiness of government and business shifted? Is there an opportunity for governments and businesses to redefine approaches to collection and use of personally identifiable information (PII) moving forward?
Cybersecurity is increasingly diverse and complex and is now a critical function to enterprise risk management, requiring constant proper due care. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the negative impact of rapid operational disruption. The need to temporarily redirect internal resources, to meet a surge in certain areas or obtain specialized resources, can make adding an outsourcing partner to your strategy a sound component to your business risk management efforts.
At minimum, seeking help with critical cybersecurity operational functions, such as cyberthreat detection and response or identity and access management, might be the right decision.
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