As cyber security concerns continue to evolve in complexity and magnitude, they have undeniably moved from the confines of the IT department to the forefront of strategic boardroom discussions. The responsibility of safeguarding an organisation’s digital assets and ensuring its preparedness to defend, respond to, and recover from cyber threats rests on the shoulders of board directors. But how can a board director navigate this intricate and ever-changing cyber security landscape? The key lies in asking the right questions.
An understanding of the cyber risk profile begins with asking pertinent questions. This article provides a comprehensive list of key questions that every director should be asking their team, accompanied by signs of satisfactory and unsatisfactory answers, along with proactive actions that directors can take.
- Is our cyber resilience plan risk-based? A risk-based cyber resilience plan provides a targeted and prioritised approach to cyber defence. This plan incorporates a clear understanding of the organisation’s critical assets and vulnerabilities, the threats they face, and how they could be compromised. An affirmative answer to this question signals that the organisation recognises the necessity of a targeted defence strategy, based on a comprehensive understanding of its unique cyber risks.
- Do we have adequate board oversight of risks, controls, treatments & cyber plan progress? Cyber risk is business risk. This means it’s essential that board directors have regular oversight of the organisation’s cyber risk management. The board should be informed and actively involved in understanding the key risks, the controls in place, how these are being treated and the progress of the organisation’s cyber resilience plan.
- How quickly can we respond & recover? The speed and effectiveness of an organisation’s response to a cyber incident can significantly limit damage and reduce recovery time. Therefore, it’s vital for boards to understand and be satisfied with the organisation’s incident response capability. This includes having a well-defined and regularly tested incident response plan.
- What is our risk appetite? Every organisation needs to define its risk appetite – the level of risk it’s willing to accept before action is required. This guides strategic decisions, informs risk management activities and helps prioritise investments in cyber security controls.
The above and many more questions on this list spark insightful discussions about the organisation’s cybersecurity stance, helping to identify gaps that might be overlooked otherwise. However, the importance of these questions doesn’t end at asking. Directors must be prepared to act based on the responses, validating and supporting the right answers, and treating unsatisfactory ones as a call to action for further inquiry and improvement.
Directors are in the driver’s seat when it comes to cyber security governance. By asking the right questions, understanding the implications of the responses and taking appropriate actions, they can significantly strengthen their organisation’s cyber resilience, protecting their operations, assets, reputation, and customer trust. The journey towards a robust cyber security posture is ongoing and continually evolving, much like the cyber threat landscape itself.
Stay updated with 4walls Cyber Advisory for more in-depth insights on cyber security and the role of leadership in shaping a resilient cyber future. Our team is dedicated to helping you secure your organisation’s digital space, empowering you to take confident strides in the age of digital transformation.