Often, cybersecurity is seen as an inhibitor of innovation as opposed to being viewed as a very important part of the process. The constant threat of cyber-attacks and security breaches faced by businesses particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic makes them understandably reluctant to implement new products and technologies. However, by incorporating cyber security considerations into the innovation process, cybersecurity can very much be viewed as an enabler and a vital consideration when the majority of employees are still working remotely.
Organisations looking to improve the agility of their business and their relationship with customers need to incorporate cybersecurity into their business strategy. This is also a very important factor in meeting the requirements of GDPR. This change in attitude must be driven from the top, so it’s crucial that CIOs understand the value cybersecurity adds to their company.
As digital transformation drives the business world towards cloud-based services, the importance of cybersecurity will keep growing alongside the growing complexity and increasing number of threats. But in order to develop a proactive cybersecurity strategy which protects their business from such threats, CIOs first need to understand how it will also benefit them in developing their role.
Having a successful cybersecurity strategy can open a lot of doors for CIOs, elevating them to a more strategic role in the C-suite which gives them more influence. In this sense, strong cybersecurity is benefitting both their career development and their organisation as a whole.
Whether or not your business offering is directly related to security, trust will always be an essential aspect. If your stakeholders are buying into your leadership and vision, you will have more opportunities to develop your role and projects, attracting both skilled employees and loyal customers in the process.
Creating a conversation around security will allow you to grow your business by gaining the trust of your customers and turning an overhead cost into an essential part of your business model. Instead of focusing on cheap, uncomplicated security solutions early on, CIOs should look to more proactive, flexible cybersecurity strategies to enable the business to adapt to the evolving threats.
Here’s three clear organisational benefits of a cyber security focused approach worth considering during C-level decision making:
In the contemporary environment of intense corporate competition created by digital transformation, businesses which need to adopt an agile approach to remote working and innovation as they will have the upper-hand when it comes to bettering their offering and customer experience. To be able to service customers almost seamlessly during the pandemic will put your business in a strong position to continue trading and maximising revenue opportunities.
But to be agile in the digital world, organisations need a strong cybersecurity foundation. By factoring in cyber security throughout the innovation process, your business is able to respond quickly and benefit from agility whilst reducing risk. There’s no time for security concerns when it comes to innovation – to stay competitive, your company needs to develop fast whilst being confident that cyber security is at the core of all innovation.
A strong cybersecurity strategy is therefore the route to new opportunities for growth and confident digital transformation.
In addition to loss of data and potentially significant reputational damage, most cyber-attacks also result in significant downtime for the business whilst systems are re-build or ransoms paid. By preventing staff, customers and suppliers from being able to carry out normal business operations due to system outage, cyber-attacks such as ransomware can cost your organisation valuable hours if not days of productivity.
By having a solid cyber security strategy you will have addressed elements such as how well you are protected from potential attack, how you monitor for an attack and vitally how you would respond in the event of an attack. Having a strong and tested disaster recovery or incident response plan will enable your company to carry on with a minimal impact on the business, maintaining operations and performance as best as possible even in the face of a cyber-attack. This, in turn, will give your organisation a competitive advantage over companies lacking an effective cybersecurity strategy.
In addition to sustaining productivity, making sure your systems and services are protected against the main methods used for cyber-attack is vital. You may wish to consider the UK Government backed Cyber Essentials Certification as a low-cost method of addressing cyber hygiene in the first instance. By being confident of your systems being able to withhold attack and readily available to your customers would help maintain their loyalty to your brand. To maintain customer satisfaction, you need to make sure that all their online and offline experiences of your organisation are seamless – otherwise you risk them taking their custom elsewhere in this competitive marketplace.
Cybersecurity and consumer trust tie in further when it comes to the safeguarding of their personal data. You will retain existing customers and gain new ones by building up your reputation as a business which values cyber security and protects sensitive information against data breaches.
A clean company track record means consumer trust, which in turn mean more opportunities to grow and develop your offering.
You should consider the steps you need to take as a CIO to prepare for the current cybersecurity threats and those of the future. Concerns should be viewed as opportunities to advance your business forward by taking a pro-active stance on cyber security.
With large scale security breaches constantly putting into perspective the magnitude of cyber threats, the role of CIOs will involve significant efforts to combat all the emerging threats organisations face in the digital realm. And, provided that you utilise the potential of cybersecurity, you have a chance to lead your business down the path of significant innovation.
In other words, while the constant evolution of cyber threats might be the stuff of nightmares, the opportunities cybersecurity brings are every CIOs dream.
There’s never been a better time to flip the script and turn digital threats into business opportunities. No longer a mere formality leeching your company budget, cybersecurity has evolved into a business essential. It helps maintain customer trust, protects business operations and drives innovation – three key aspects of growth every CIO needs to nurture. In fact, the quality of your cybersecurity strategy can make all the difference between success and disaster, should your organisation face a cyber-attack.