Business Leaders

Cyber Risks Every Business Leader Should Know

Since the advent of the Covid-era, an upsurge in cyber attacks worldwide hasn’t stopped. There is always one gang or another launching a cyber attack against their target organisation. There is a continuous effort carried out in the security or IT industry to create security patches to close the loophole the bad actors exploited.

While some threat actor gangs may go dormant for 2-3 months and come back with new and advanced technologies to penetrate the patched network. Hence, it’s the IT team’s responsibility to stay one step ahead of threat actors by continuously monitoring the network and systems for bugs and vulnerabilities.

Earlier this month, a pharmaceutical company in Spain, Alliance Healthcare, was hit by a cyber attack. The company went down to a standstill for the first few days and faced a shutdown of the company’s website, billing systems, and ordering processes. Thus causing supply disruptions across the company.

The attack took place at a healthcare company that supplies hundreds or thousands of people with medicines. There is always the possibility of an unforeseen incident occurring within the most critical industries at any time. A business leader who has a proper incident response plan in place could avoid putting a patient at risk in the event of a big outage like this.

This is not solely a CISO’s responsibility, but a CISO and a business leader’s joint effort to bring about change. Working closely with the IT team would help them understand the cyber risks.

There is a typical pattern where cyber risks are understood only by IT or security experts. This should change for the good.

What is cyber risk?

Cyber risk is the unknown/known vulnerability related to your business or organisation that could become a loophole for a significant cyber event to take off.

Why business leaders?

The rapidly changing cyber threat landscape calls for the collaboration of business leaders with IT or security teams to accelerate the mitigation process. Every new attack requires additional security measures to mitigate it. By working together, IT and business leaders can grasp the urgency of the issue and call for immediate action.

Cyber risks

Supply chain cyber risks

As seen earlier, an attack on a pharmaceutical company could disrupt the supply of medicines to hospitals, putting patients’ health at risk. The threat actor can intrude on any supply chain, whether small or large and affect anyone involved in it.

Ransomware attacks

In response to a recent ransomware attack, thousands of medical appointments and surgeries had to be cancelled at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. Attacks of this nature could harm the reputation of an organisation and result in its financial collapse.

Risks associated with the convergence of OT and IT

With OT and IoT devices becoming more prevalent in businesses, security vulnerabilities multiply due to their infancy. Thus, they could easily be exploited to gain access to company networks.

Third-party vendor risks

Third-party vendors are often relied upon for critical services but are also susceptible to security risks if they have access to sensitive data. For instance, AT&T, a multinational telecommunications company, recently warned its customers about a breach of their data caused by a compromised system at a third-party vendor.

Cyber Risk Mitigation

Collaborate with security professionals and CISOs

Close association with security professionals and CISOs will assist business leaders in understanding and addressing specific risks. They will also gain an understanding of the security level controls applied to each data asset. Thus helping business leaders determine if more budget needs to be allocated to improve security.

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Integrate cyber risk management into the corporate governance framework

Ensure that your organisation has a robust risk management plan that is continuously reviewed. This will help in preventing and mitigating cyber attacks.

Identify business-critical information assets

Map critical information assets related to your business, including financial data, customer information, etc., and implement controls to protect them from potential cyber threats.

Devise an effective disaster recovery plan

Plan and implement a robust disaster recovery plan for an unprecedented cyberattack.

Ensure regular software update audits are performed

Maintain the software’s latest version at all times. By upgrading, you can add new features, enhance existing ones, and eliminate security threats.

Maintain a regular audit for third-party vendors

To ensure that vendors meet the organisation’s cybersecurity standards, business leaders should have internal audit teams assess vendors’ cybersecurity practices.

Integrate security testing into the development process

Develop a plan that ensures software developers follow continuous security testing throughout the development process. It will help identify vulnerabilities and bugs in the product so they can be fixed quickly. This will help keep cyber attacks at bay.

Continuous cyber security awareness training for employees

Keeping employees informed and ensuring they receive regular cybersecurity awareness training can help business leaders minimize the risks of cyberattacks due to human error.