Every organization needs a cyber security executive who can lead well. Getting cyber security governance right matters more than ever before.

The cyber threats are growing and becoming increasingly costly. The average expenses associated with a ransomware attack exceed $4.25 million. You can’t afford to miss insights that can significantly enrich your leadership capabilities.

In this article, discover how to become a stronger cyber security executive, allowing both you and your organization to achieve greater success in mitigating risks. Reach your full potential. Keep reading to learn more.

10 practical hacks to supercharge your cyber security leadership skills

1. Enhance your technical background. If you’re a CISO or technical cyber security executive, consider advancing your existing technical knowledge. It never hurts to know more, especially in the event of a breach. Participate in red team/blue team exercises, get to know the technical experts in your organization, launch technical training sessions, seek mentorship, attend conferences, follow technical blogs, and network with industry professionals.

If you are a non-technical cyber security leader, you may be familiar with financial risk, but less familiar with cyber risk. As your role involves aligning the company’s needs with cyber security needs, you may find it useful to familiarize yourself with basic cyber security jargon. That will also come in handy as you review cyber security results with CISOs and other more technical staff.

2. Master the art of communication. There is often a communication gap between cyber security leaders and the C-suite. Regardless of your exact role, know your audience. A foundational element of successful communication is understanding your audience’s interests, professional journeys, concerns and priorities.

In presentations to C-suite peers, cyber security executives should ensure that the dialogue sounds like a business discussion – not a technical talk. No need to dumb down content. Just make it accessible and relevant to the audience that you’re speaking to. Even if you’ve done your research on participants ahead of time, you may want to start a C-suite presentation by asking questions of your audience, as you’ll be able to better gauge where to focus and what to emphasize.

Bridge the gap between business and cyber security.

3. Get organized. Disorganization is likely to lead to a breach. Investigate where and how your cyber security approach/infrastructure could be better organized. Address internal tool sprawl, identify redundancies, integrate elements effectively, ensure adaptability of systems and if needed, redesign systems.

If this sounds like an overwhelming set of tasks, consider hiring a cyber security architect – someone who’s adept and agile when it comes to designing structures and systems that anticipate potential cyber threats. Or, you may want to reach out to a reputable cyber security vendor, which will have teams of experts who can potentially assist.

4. Manage people well. As a cyber security executive, you need to be able to manage people well. For some, this requires a brand new skill set. For others, it’s a matter of refining a rudimentary skill set.

When it comes to managing people, cyber security executives must prioritize active listening. Engage with people in a way that ensures that their concerns are understood, and in a way that makes them feel valued.

In the absence of strong people skills, you may find yourself delivering subpar performance, you might feel frustrated and your employees or those whom you oversee, will likely also experience frustration.

5. Ensure efficient cyber security spending. As a cyber security executive, you’ve likely set up systems so that everything – absolutely everything – is being monitored. But it’s important to regularly review and refine the monitoring strategy.

One issue related to the ‘monitor-everything’ stance is inefficient spending. If your goal is to reduce organizational risk, the initiatives with the best ROI, when it comes to risk reduction, should be the ones to receive the most resources.

Initiatives with proven track records of delivering tangible security improvements should also receive priority in resource allocation.

6. Become an innovator. While this is easy to talk about, it’s tough to move forward with. New technologies can seem like hazards and, in some cases, can introduce risks. But businesses do need to take some small risks in order to win. What got you here won’t get you there, as they say.

Emerging cyber security technologies can massively accelerate security initiatives. Think about security technologies with AI-fueled capabilities. Explore innovative technologies produced by reputable cyber security vendors who can directly assist you with implementation. They’ll help ensure that all systems are installed and running properly so that you not only have better security, but also retain peace-of-mind.

7. Implement a risk-based approach. This involves identifying the organization’s most valuable assets and corresponding cyber security risks. Prioritize cyber security spending in order to minimize such risks to the greatest extent possible.

Although a risk-based approach to cyber security can be rather complicated, and best practices are still emerging, start by identifying all possible assets and risks, and prioritize based on risk probability and potential impact. Apply clear methods or frameworks that will guide decision-making.

8. Engage with leadership and board members. This doesn’t have to be a daunting endeavor. C-level stakeholders and boards want to know about cyber security risk, and everything that you’re working on to advance cyber security and build greater resilience.

In advance, do give consideration to how you’ll frame these conversations. Avoid the language of bits and bytes. Skip the technological details. Focus on how better security contributes to the mitigation of business risk, including monetary losses.

Ensure that communications are clear, businesslike and concise.

9. Foster a cyber security culture. As a cyber security executive, invest in ongoing training and awareness programs for employees. Leverage gamification, AI/ML and other fun means of getting the message across.

Help individuals embrace attitudes and beliefs that drive secure everyday behaviors. Consider making cyber security participation and efforts part of formal employee evaluation.

10. Remain aware of the legal and regulatory landscape. Every cyber security executive needs to remain aware of the latest legal updates that could affect systems, processes and the organization at-large.

Develop a routine for monitoring legal updates. Ensure that your organization adjusts its cyber security practices accordingly, as compliance or lack thereof can affect customer trust and brand credibility.

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