Why CEOs need to be tightrope walkers when it comes to cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity is becoming critical for both smaller and larger businesses.

Cyber threats and security threats negatively impact many companies. As such, one of the biggest problems is that most CEOs do not take appropriate actions against cybersecurity risks and issues associated with them. 

CEOs cybersecurityData loss resulting from security breaches causes damage to a company’s reputation and can increase the risk of clients not trusting the corporate anymore. 

Now, more than ever, business owners must take the necessary steps to secure their organizations. Contrary to most inexperienced beliefs, it’s not an option anymore just to be reactive in the face of cyberthreats. Being proactive is the best way to ensure that your business will stay safe. 

So, what’s the challenge?

Companies are generating ever-growing amounts of data – even more than has ever been created, processed or generated. As this happens, systems security and more exactly, cybersecurity and data privacy management has never been more critical. 

With organizational processes and systems all taken online, to improve business efficiencies and economies as well as allow real-time customer experience management, this also necessitates robust data protection and security systems. 

Businesses, especially those in the online medium, should protect not just their own operations, strategies, and intellectual property, but also customer data collected through multiple processes, as well comply with applicable data privacy laws. 

With that said, here are a few reasons all CEOs should take the privacy and security of their clients seriously and of the highest priority. 

Brand trust

The good news about businesses activating the online medium is that the number of victims of privacy breaches is oftentimes a short-term phenomenon. However, the bad news is that your client’s loyalty and trust may have been irreparably damaged.

IBM’s recent study found that more than 20% of consumers (and 25% of millennials) would stop using a service following a data breach. Another survey reports that 90% of customers said they would consider legal action if they were affected by a data breach, while 70% said they would stop doing business with an organization that suffered a data breach. All that, adding the competitors that will make sure your customers don’t quickly forget your missteps will lead to zero brand trust.

New policies and regulations will also reduce your company’s time to report and reinforce the public disclosure requirements. Nowadays hiding and hoping nobody notices your company’s small missteps is no longer a viable option. Your failure to protect sensitive personal data becomes a matter of public record, along with all of the costs outlined above.

Honoring client security and privacy

Your customers are nonetheless the most important aspect of your business. The service or product your render as a business is done with the customer in mind. Should a breach occur, the long-lasting negative impact of your brand trust and credibility exceeds the additional expenses associated with building privacy and security onto your service or product. As the business owner, setting the tone of how your organization views the importance of security is one of the smartest things you can do. 

CEOs must set the cybersecurity bar for the entire company. Embed the security and privacy of your customers within the nucleus of your business and its products. The reason? No matter the niche you’re in if you collect and data on your customer, you immediately become a fiduciary of that information. And as you expected, there is a duty and responsibility to safeguard and protect that information. 

Following the law

More than 16,000 victims joined the case seeking compensation for British Airways’ data breach data that occurred in 2018. The company revealed in September 2018 that a breach in its security systems compromised the personal and financial data of more than 400,000 customers. The IAG-owned BA was fined £20m by the British data protection guard last year, a fraction of a much burdensome fine initially planned by the regulator.

Take the British Airways case, and imagine what would happen if your business will face a sudden data breach while being off-guard. While this may be an extreme case, the ease with which compromised consumers can now pursue litigation can create a nightmare for businesses, even those who suffer a minor breach. They can even access services like  to proceed with legal claims regarding data breaches and more.

Regulatory drawbacks, on the other hand, are another landmine for businesses. The GDPR imposes penalties of up to 4% of an organization’s total revenue for each privacy violation which means that even a minor breach could bring bankruptcy for the compromised organization.

Work-from-anywhere continues to expose cyber gaps

As companies embrace working remotely practically overnight, more and more corporate cybersecurity teams have to work hard to catch up and ensure their cybersecurity infrastructure is aligned with the new environment. This “new normalcy” is still in effect for many businesses and included the often-swift transition to cloud-based systems, opening the door to cloud-based cyber threats. What’s more, as the corporate environment transitions (partially or fully) back to the office, CEOs and cybersecurity leaders must consider how their team will handle this change, secure devices that may be compromised, or be out of compliance.

Ransomware: Sophisticated than ever

The fastest-growing type of cybercrime is expected to claim a new victim every 5 seconds in 2021. Sadly, last year we witnessed the first instance of human loss due to cybercrime- ransomware to be exact. Smart, sophisticated ransomware attacks have already begun to skyrocket, including new versions that not only steal data but threaten to openly expose it, in addition to self-destructing keys and backups. This level of cleverness imposes even more incentives on companies to pay up. As we move into the new year, CISO, CIOs, and IT security staff need to enhance their awareness and response strategies around ransomware.

In sum, tough times never last, but though cybersecurity teams and CEOs do. We can only hope you’ve already advanced your cybersecurity posture and your company is better prepared now than it was 12 months back.