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Who will be our next cybersecurity hero?

Risk is a language that business leaders now live and breathe.

Learning how to articulate cybersecurity challenges in a language understood by executives and board members will not only allow them to better understand the business risks but will also help to accelerate your career in defining transformational cyber security programmes in your organisation.

In our previous article, we referenced three stories of modern day Information Security heroes. Information Security teams who provide the first and last line of defence, protecting corporate reputations, customer sensitive data and ultimately, company profits.  Here, we dive deeper into these stories to show how each champion has overcome internal challenges to initiate significant and strategic cyber security programmes.

One large Australian organisation we work with is gearing up for the next phase of internal business evolution as well as expanding their business through innovation.  A strategic plan was put in place following a successful joint venture. The plan is designed to grow revenues by engaging in Research & Development (R&D) projects. This initiative has changed the risk profile of the organisation - shifting focus to a buildup of unique, valuable R&D information and critical assets, which has become a highly attractive target for local and international hackers.

To address this new potential risk, the CISO attempted several times to obtain a budget to enhance the organisation’s Information Security. Finally the CISO employed a new tactic, utilising consultative services to produce factual documentation that identified areas of risk with a solid plan of demonstrating how technology, people, and process would close these gaps whilst aligning to their core business objectives.

Several cybersecurity initiatives are now underway reducing identified risk exposure in a measured way, gaining visibility into targeted threats and prioritising activities based on data-driven decision-making.  This initiative has given the organisation an opportunity to position themselves more competitively with an aim of winning three times more business and has helped in building a stronger reputation in the marketplace.

Another inspiring character whose path we have crossed is an Information Security veteran in Australia.  Through constant sharing of thought leadership insights around cyber risks, this CISO has helped transform a once ‘conservative-thinking’ board of directors into one that truly understands that cyber threats are the fastest growing risk within its Australian business and that inevitably these risks need to be addressed.  With the right mindset established within the organisation, the CISO is now able to take the next step on the journey towards a mature cyber security practice.

It was critical to understand that external forces are always at play – Third platforms facilitate business agility however they can also dramatically increase the attack-surface for businesses. Experienced security analysts are becoming more expensive and hard to find and the volume of attacks on Australian businesses are increasing at an alarming rate.  Our hero in this story instinctively understood that purely investing in a defensive strategy was no longer adequate to protect the organisation. Instead, the dedicated security analyst needed an intuitive tool that can create leverage with advanced computer science techniques and can give complete visibility to the business operation and executive teams at the same time.

Working with a trusted partner organisation, this CISO was able to take a strategic and holistic approach to transforming its Information Security approach.  Designing and implementing an architecture that delivered visibility to the whole organisation.  With its latest Advanced Security Operations Centre set up, the CISO now has the business context needed to prioritise and justify future cybersecurity initiatives.  The return on this investment saw a reduction of declared incidents from of 10 to 3 per day as well as significantly reducing time to triage each incident from 2 weeks to 1 day, on average.

Finally, our third local CISO, a well-respected professional - He applies his information security strategies from the NIST framework. Under his guidance, he has now established a small but agile team consisting of two full-time security analysts. One of his strategies was to transform his team from being reactive to becoming an effective and proactive team of cyber threat hunters.  By helping to enhance their skill sets, this CISO was able to attract new talent and retain existing staff with an increased level of commitment and dedication.

Having the right tools and procedures helped advance the development of these security analysts and helped multiply the impact of experienced team members.  The team was growing together! To the business, this transformation of the security team from being an internal cost center to a profitable business unit has been evident.

With a team that is enabled and working closely with the trusted partner on the same vision – the CISO has succeeded in aligning the business objectives and deploying its Information Security programme that includes people, process and technology.  

With the cyber world around us evolving all the time, organisations must learn to adapt to remain competitive. Cyber threats will not stop – so who will be our next Cyber Security hero?

  • 80% expect an increase in cyber risk over the next year or so
  • 34% have clearly defined risk appetite for cyber security
  • 11% are taking proactive approaches to reassure investors/customers about the organisation’s cyber security

(SOURCE: http://www.asx.com.au/documents/investor-relations/ASX-100-Cyber-Health-Check-Report.pdf  )

Great cybersecurity programmes need solid understanding of your organisation’s risk appetite, an understanding of the desired business outcomes, and a defined way of measuring success.  RSA is a long standing trusted partner to thousands of companies and government departments and we can help your organisation successfully achieve your strategic goals, whilst providing positive business outcomes and demonstrating how to get a measurable Return on Investment.

Authors
Simon Perry,  Threat Detection and Response Business Manager, RSA
Andrew Bonehill, Threat Detection and Response Snr Technology Consultant, RSA

Download our report  “Translating security leadership into board value”

What Boards Want to Know and CISOs Need to Say.
•  Major trends
•  5 CISO Secrets to better Board Meetings
•  6 ways Boards can step up to Cybersecurity

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