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4 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Cybersecurity

4 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Cybersecurity

Posted by TEAM ASCEND on 12/19/18 12:00 AM

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To be competitive in today’s digital world, SMBs must increase their web footprint year-after-year. Unfortunately, the only digital element that hasn’t increased at the same rate is cybersecurity awareness.

For leaders and decision-makers at the top of an organization, asking the right questions can help ensure you don’t overlook important infrastructure and protocols for your business’s cybersecurity. By starting a conversation within your key players, you’ll set your response team and leadership up to guide discussions on information security and promote a culture of awareness from the top down.

We’ve prepared four questions every CEO should ask about their cybersecurity to help you engage with your board, executive team and employees, and, if needed, jumpstart a new cybersecurity initiative in your office.

To begin, ask yourself:

  1. How informed is your executive team about the current level and business impact of cyber risks to your company?

When you prepare your decision-makers for a cyber emergency, you pave the way for a timely response. The key to minimizing damage after an attack is to equip your team with the information they need to make educated decisions in a time of need. 

Through careful planning and strategy development, you can educate your C-level executives about high-risk scenarios and contingency plans for immediate action in the event of an emergency.

This strategy should include communication pathways for those in charge of risk management and specific response times to set clear expectations for your team.

  1. What is the current level and business impact of cyber risks to your company and how do you address identified risks?

Have your CTO perform a risk assessment by identifying your critical business assets and the impact cyber threats pose to them. This will help you prioritize protective measures and inform how you allocate resources. Similarly, this is critical to understanding a company’s risk exposure — whether financial, competitive, reputational or regulatory.

If your company hasn’t performed a risk assessment and identified which of your assets would be impacted by a cyber-attack, you may want to create a list of the likely culprits like phishing emails, social engineering or employee awareness and establish metrics to measure the effectiveness of your security program. 

With this list in place, you can prioritize your protective measures and allocate internal resources accordingly. Similarly, this assessment is critical to understanding your company’s risk exposure.


  1. How many and what types of cyber incidents do you detect in a normal week? When do you inform the rest of your board?

With robust metrics in place you’ll be able to identify trends within your security risks. This information will inform your response plan and help you detail which risks require escalation to your C-level versus which are more common and can be mitigated at the risk management level.

Regular communication with those accountable for managing cyber risks increases cybersecurity awareness and provides a sightline to the impact such risks could have on your business.

In order to detect, analyze and correlate anomalies from your manageable threats, you can recruit experienced security employees or consider a third-party managed services provider.

  1. How comprehensive is your cyber incident response plan and how often is it tested?

Timely action can limit or prevent damage from a cyber incident. Coordinate with your team to establish a disaster response plan across your company that includes action items for you, your CIO, business leaders, general counsel and public relations teams.

By creating clear metrics, a structured action plan and teaching your team to identify high-level risks, you give your company the tools and resources to act in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, after completing this work you will have instilled a culture of awareness from your C-level down to your risk management team — and opened dialogue that prioritizes the safety of your business information.

For SMBs in need of security evaluation, Ascend Technologies provides a complimentary risk assessment for all new clients. Contact us to learn more. 

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Posted in Cybersecurity