This is a large and important part of cybersecurity for business. Creating and maintaining a strong cybersecurity strategy is no mean feat. It can take months, even years to perfect, but it needs to be done right if your business hopes to protect itself and its data from online hackers and other cybercriminals. And while this is a very technical job and requires a team of experts to get the most efficient systems in place, there is also another important aspect that must be considered.
Technical security teams need to work closely with senior managers, C-suite executives and business analysts to make sure that not only are they putting the best security systems in place, but that the company’s cybersecurity efforts align with the overall business objectives. That’s because effective security must always exist in context to something else, for example, what are you protecting, why are you protecting it, and what is the most beneficial way to do that?
Therefore, it helps when your cybersecurity exists in the context of your overall business goals. It needs to reflect and support the objectives at every stage. But despite this being so important, not all businesses take this into account when setting out their goals or cybersecurity strategies. But don’t panic, if you know you need to do more to align your cybersecurity and business objectives, we’re here to help.
Set SMART objectives
First, you need to make sure you’ve set SMART objectives. This means that they need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. If your objectives are weak or vague, it will be much harder to not only achieve them but also to align them with any other area of the business. So, it’s vital that any overall goals or objectives are well thought out and achievable. Then you can give yourself a timeframe within which to complete them.
How CyberSecurity and Business-related, Understand the role cybersecurity plays
Next up, it’s important to know the role that cybersecurity plays in your business. You can then dig deeper to understand how it relates to your overall objectives. This may require you to tweak or review the objectives – or your cybersecurity measures – slightly until the two complements one another. To help illustrate the point, below are some top-level examples of business objectives you may choose and how your cybersecurity and business relate to each other:
Objective 1: Increasing brand awareness and sales through marketing
Cybersecurity is so important for online marketing, especially because this is usually when businesses collect data from existing and potential customers. Your cybersecurity efforts must be up to scratch and GDPR compliant before running any new campaigns and collecting, storing, or using any personal data.
Objective 2: Build a reputation as an industry leader
In recent years, people have become more aware of the importance of cybersecurity and protecting themselves online – and they expect businesses to do the same. Being able to show that you take the privacy of your customers/clients very seriously can help to strengthen the reputation of the company.
Objective 3: Streamlining all business processes
More and more businesses are using apps, software and new technologies to help them streamline the daily running of their business. For example, using cloud-based systems to backup data or using email or messaging platforms to communicate. These all come with their own cybersecurity risks and therefore online security needs to be considered before implementing any new processes. By perfectly aligning the two, businesses can cut time and costs, whilst also keeping their data safe.
Make your staff aware of your objectives
Human error can be one of the biggest causes of cybersecurity failures and/or cyberattacks. For this reason, it’s vital that all your staff have at least a basic grasp of security and how to spot the signs of a scam. Regular staff training can be very beneficial for keeping all employees vigilant and security conscious. Because what good is getting the very best cybersecurity systems in place, only to have an employee break your defenses internally – even if it was an accident!
It’s also important that your staff understand the overall business objectives, so they not only know the role they play in helping to achieve these but also so they can be aware of how cybersecurity contributes towards reaching your goals. This will help to keep them vigilant and ensure they know who to turn to if they spot a security issue. Keeping everyone in the know is an important way to keep your cybersecurity and Business objectives efforts aligned.
Be aware it may take time to align CyberSecurity and Business
It’s understandable that once you’ve set out your goals, you want to jump straight into reaching them. But unfortunately, security measures can slow things down a bit and you need to be prepared for this. But while security systems or additional process might slow things down initially, once you’ve got a strong system in place, it will benefit all areas of the business. So be patient, you will reach your goals eventually, but in order to align these perfectly with your cybersecurity initiatives, it might take longer than originally planned.
Ensure ‘compliance’ isn’t your sole concern
GDPR compliance is so important to businesses that sometimes it can become all-consuming. While it’s vital that you’re following all the guidelines and keeping GDPR in mind, if you allow compliance to run the show, you might find you don’t end up putting the most efficient and beneficial objectives in place for your business. So of course, compliance is important, but don’t rush or compromise on your objectives just to get there. Take the time to find a way you can reach your goals, run your business in a way that works for you AND stay GDPR compliant.
Review your objectives regularly
Finally, as with anything, you need to review your objectives regularly to make sure you’re progressing towards your goals and that they are still relevant. With each review, look at the ways in which your cybersecurity systems may be helping or hindering the business and its journey towards reaching its goals. You may need to amend some of the objectives or extend the deadline you set for reaching them.