Chief financial officers are accustomed to managing a significant amount of risk and responsibility. It’s a stressful and challenging position, but it’s also one of the most critical to operating a sustaining a successful business — and one of the roles most impacted by your company’s culture of security (or lack thereof).
We don’t often think about the intersection between a CFO’s role and cybersecurity, but the overlap is massive and growing by the year. After all, as the person in charge of managing an organization’s financial risk and revenue, CFOs are also concerned with reducing turnover, company liabilities, and employee inefficiencies — three things also impacted by security processes.
Today, we’re delving into how a culture of security will help overcome some of the leading stressors keeping CFOs up at night.
Photo by Isabella and Louisa Fischer
4 Ways a Culture of Security Benefits CFOs
The idea of a culture of security, or the set of values and processes everyone in an organization shares to help strengthen its cybersecurity, is quickly gaining momentum in businesses of all sizes. Leaders are recognizing that, by committing to making security a tenet of the organization’s culture, everyone wins (except hackers, of course).
A culture of security benefits CFOs in the following ways:
- Curtails turnover among top security talent
Thanks to the rapidly growing tech skills gap, attracting and retaining top security pros is becoming more challenging every year. Losing an employee can be expensive — according to Gallup, it can cost as much as twice an employee’s salary to replace them — but it’s especially difficult to lose team members with such a rare and crucial skill set. By ensuring a commitment to security from the top down, you’ll ease the burden placed on security teams while also showing you respect their role and the value they bring your organization — thus helping you hang on to some of your most important employees.
- Mitigates security liabilities
A breach won’t just cost you money in downtime and lost data — it can land your company in hot water from a legal standpoint. Settlements can often reach millions — especially if you’ve inadvertently violated mandates like the general data protection regulation (GDPR). Developing a culture of security will reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a hack or breach and ensure everyone is committed to protecting sensitive data.
- Helps reduce downtime
When your network goes down — even temporarily — it can cost you a lot of money. An IBM report estimates infrastructure failure can cost a business an average of $100,000 per hour, with the average cost of annual unplanned application downtime reaching the billions. But when everyone in your organization supports a culture of security, you can help mitigate one of the leading causes of downtime: security breaches.
- Enables employee autonomy and workplace flexibility
Research has consistently shown employees perform better in a flexible work environment than when micro-managed. Since the pandemic forced employees to work from home, many organizations have discovered employees are just as productive (and often more so) when working remotely.
But, the increase in flexible work arrangements can also negatively impact security. (For example, employees working from home may be using unsecured Wi-Fi and unauthorized devices, or carelessly leave sensitive information where others can access it.)
When employees are educated and committed to cybersecurity processes, they’ll be less likely to make those mistakes — which means fewer roadblocks to mobility. But by empowering employees to work independently, they’ll be more productive and more satisfied — both of which can improve your bottom line.
Tips for Building and Optimizing a Culture of Security
If your organization hasn’t yet begun fostering its culture of security, there are a few things you can do to get things started:
- Get buy-in from senior leadership
Like any major change, a culture of security works best when it comes from the top down. So, once you’ve earned their support, it will be much easier to evangelize it across the company. And when the CFO and security team partner together, it will make an even stronger case to senior executives than either alone.
- Empower employees (and hold them accountable)
Start by giving employees all the knowledge and resources they need to make the right decisions. Once you’ve educated your workforce, then you can hold them accountable for their actions online. Instead of making security teams clean up messes, ensure employees are correcting their own mistakes.
- Support your efforts with actionable threat intelligence
The best way to ensure your culture of security sustains is by adopting the right tech. Actionable threat intelligence like HackNotice Teams will help you pinpoint departments or employees who are higher risk than others, so you know who may need more education or monitoring. It will also give you insight into breaches in real-time.
Building a more secure organization is beneficial for everyone, but it directly supports many CFO objectives. And by supporting a culture of security, you can help alleviate some of the most common headaches modern CFOs face.