What C-suite Executives need to know about Cloud Security

For all businesses, security must be a priority, and not an afterthought.

Across the globe, every dialogue with the C-suite revolves mostly around numbers and profits. It is hard to convince them that cost-inducing cybersecurity is just as important as the result-driven operational priorities. In fact, the biggest cost of not having security is that you end up paying for data breaches.

For all businesses, security must be a priority, and not an afterthought. 

With the cloud being the new buzzword, several organisations are embracing the technology, without fully understanding what it means to security. Primarily, cloud works on a shared responsibility model where the cloud provider is responsible for securing the infrastructure and the business is responsible for securing the data. That is the reason why business leaders must be educated about the importance of strong strategic cybersecurity decisions. A strong security posture starts at the top and flows through the organisation. One cannot expect their staff to prioritise security if they have not set the agenda at the highest levels. This makes it imperative for C suite which also includes CISOs to involve themselves into the security conversation at the board level. 

Four key strategies for the C-suite that should help them safeguard their organisation from any potential threats:

Make it visual

More often than not, the non-technology savvy board members switch off during conversations about cybersecurity. Instead, speak their language and frame the conversation in the context of business risk. Demonstrate how the cloud is just another risk that needs attention and make the board members visualise the reality and potential severity of security risks. For instance – show them how typical data breaches or loss scenarios has cost the CEOs to apologise to the public. This should get their attention. The solution lies in treating cloud and cyber risk as any other risk that would be dealt with - by identifying the gaps and mitigating them to the possible extent.

Walking a thin line

Never forget that for business leaders it is a constant battle – between profitable business investments and (unprofitable) security investments – to protect the current revenues and make profit. They may think of it as added cost, but you must explain why the native public cloud security is not enough and the responsibility to secure their own data cannot be ignored. Data in the cloud is only as secure as data stored anywhere else in the organisation. It is therefore essential to put additional, specific security measures in place to thoroughly integrate the cloud security measures with the rest of your security architecture, and automate security processes wherever possible. 

Consistency is the key

Cloud security is no different from other cybersecurity, so what is required is to apply a consistent approach to managing security across the entire enterprise, regardless of where information or applications reside. Managing and orchestrating multiple security approaches and products leads to complicating the security environment, leaving room for errors and risks. Highlight the importance of a consistent, strategic approach to cybersecurity as a whole. 

Return on investment

While it is possible to mitigate the effects of an attack, a successful attack will inevitably cause financial, reputational, and even legal damage to the organisation. Any security investment should be considered on the basis of its ability to stop attackers in their tracks; that is how it will provide return on investment. Once the CIOs and CISOs have articulated these principles clearly and compellingly to the board getting an executive buy-in for security projects is a breeze. 


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