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How CFO’s can mitigate cybersecurity risk

Angry businessman sitting at his desk.

Angry businessman sitting at his desk.

The CFO of a company may not be top-of-mind when it comes to mitigating cybersecurity risk – a spot usually reserved for the CIO/CISO and IT departments – but for a well-armed cyber security defense team, the CFO needs to play ball. While your day-to-day might not be focused on firewalls, breach protocols or the latest firmware and software updates, a CFO’s presence in a company’s cyber security conversations is pivotal for the success of security across all avenues of a business.

Identify the money-makers

Hackers usually are after one thing at the bottom line when they attack a business’ network: a way to make money. Whether it be syphoning money out of accounts, accessing valuable information to sell, or setting up a ransomware hack for a hopeful pay out, the end of game of hacking is usually played with money in mind. As a CFO, no one knows that money better than you.

IT managers and crew might be highly trained on the forefront of cybersecurity, but as a CFO you can stand in for the defense planning by alerting your team to the money-making threats hackers want access to. You know what brings in the most revenue every day, quarter and year, so you can help guide your security teams to protect what matters most above all else. Whether it be protecting particular information, systems or business functions, your expertise as CFO can help guide your security teams to protect what matters most to your company.

Budget accordingly

As the top-tier financial professional at your organization, you have control over what to budget for, and the means to do it. With that power, you’re in the front-seat on helping choose and implement proper cybersecurity measures for your organization.

Currently, organizations spend approximately $100 billion a year on cybersecurity measures, with an average company cost of $5.9 million per breach. Even after all this spending, organizations are still losing the battle to hackers, which means every day is a new chance to make advances on your security solutions. As the CFO, you have the ability to grant the budgets and funding for these evolving programs, and as a security-minded CFO, you have the background and insight to know that they’re worth every penny.

Working closely with your IT and security teams will help you understand the costs of these necessary security measures, and help them in selecting and implementing the most effective tools for the job, including finding an effective local partner for your organization’s cybersecurity.

Be a good risk-mitigation role model

Whether you’re working in a small, 20 person office or a large 200,000 person corporation, there is something to be said about presenting yourself as a good role model. Cyber security threats don’t diminish just because you have an IT team working on keeping firewalls up and up-to-date, and senior managers can in fact be the worst culprits of accidental data negligence, which makes the upper-management cybersecurity role model an important aspect of any security plan.

Use your role as one of the c-suite executives to show the importance of using data security best practices every day, and to share your insights with your team. As the most senior-level management, utilizing security best practices and sharing this insight with your organization will help instill these best practices with everyone, from the interns up to the CEO him-or-herself.

Learning and teaching these best practices by example doesn’t just help your organization, but personal lives too, since hacking can happen to anyone outside the workplace. By partaking in and teaching best practices, you’re not just protecting your organization, but your employees as well.

Cybersecurity today isn’t just IT’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem – even the CFOs who previously may have been immune to dealing with tech-related issues. A CFO’s unique position in the c-suite allows them access to an organization’s security not available to all other positions – and one that shouldn’t be squandered. If you’re a CFO looking to expand your horizons in your organization’s cyber security, it’s time to step up and work with the IT professionals you partner with to help guide your organization’s security systems of tomorrow.

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