Owning Cybersecurity Risk
Cybersecurity risk is a significant concern for companies of all sizes and industries. With the increasing amount of sensitive information stored and shared digitally, the potential for data breaches and cyber-attacks is at an all-time high. But who should own the responsibility of managing cybersecurity risk within a company?
One of the most common misconceptions is that cybersecurity risk is solely the responsibility of the IT department. While the IT team plays a crucial role in implementing and maintaining security controls, they can only expect to bear part of the burden of cybersecurity risk management. Cybersecurity risk affects all aspects of a business, so all organization members should own it.
The first step in managing cybersecurity risk is establishing a culture of security within the company. Establishing that culture means ensuring all employees understand cybersecurity’s importance and their role in protecting sensitive information. Training employees on essential cybersecurity best practices, such as creating strong passwords and identifying phishing scams, is a significant first step.
One key aspect of managing cybersecurity risk, as defined by NIST, is assigning ownership and responsibility to specific individuals or teams. Create a cybersecurity steering committee comprising representatives from different departments to manage risk across the organization that is responsible for establishing policies and procedures for managing cybersecurity risk and communicating these policies to the rest of the company.
Another critical aspect of managing cybersecurity risk is regularly reviewing and updating the company’s security controls. Start by evaluating the effectiveness of current security measures, identifying new threats and vulnerabilities, and then implementing new controls as necessary. The IT team should play a central role in this process, but it should also involve input from other departments, such as finance and human resources.
Cybersecurity risk management is not just the responsibility of the IT department. It is a business-wide responsibility that all organization members should own. By creating a security culture, assigning ownership and accountability, and regularly reviewing and updating security controls, companies can effectively manage cybersecurity risk and protect against potential data breaches and cyber-attacks.
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