Home Security CEOs will take hit for cyber security incidents: study
CEOs will take hit for cyber security incidents: study Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Chief executives of companies which experience security incidents are more likely to lose their jobs than the chief information officers or the chief information security officers of the same firms, a research firm claims.

Analyst Paul Proctor of the analyst company Gartner said in a study that twice as many CEOS were being fired over cyber security incidents compared to CIOs and CISOs.

He attributed this to the fact that CEOs and and other execurives, whose core functions did not encompass IT, tended to regard cyber security as a black box and hence were unable to mount a defence after an incident.

Adding to this was the fact that neither CIOs nor CISOs indulged in plain speaking when detailing the systemic risks posed by technology, giving non-IT executives a false sense of security.

Proctor said CIOs could address these factors by providing sufficient information about the systemic risks and communicate across the divide that made non-IT executives consider security as a technical issue that had to be looked after only by technical employees.

Throwing money at a problem would not help, as it would only increase operational costs and not in any way help business outcomes, he said, adding that CIOs and CISOs should not be the defenders of an organisation as this gave technical people the role of protecting business outcomes which they could not comprehend.

Additional suggestions made by Proctor were:

  • "Address broken accountability that results in poor investment decisions and more invisible systemic risk;
  • "Do not create ineffective risk-tolerance and -appetite statements that promise to only engage in low-risk activities that run counter to sound business practices;
  • "Accept and address society’s assumption that hacks happen when people fail to do their job; and
  • "Address any lack of transparency that blocks fully-informed decision making."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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