Why Every CEO Should Care More About Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is no longer the niche concern that it once was. Nowadays, we spend a significant portion of our lives in the online arena, where we are constantly sharing data with businesses for a variety of reasons. Given how important data is to the relationship between a business and its audience in today’s market, CEOs need to take an active interest in the cybersecurity of their businesses. Here are a few of the many reasons why.
It’s Good Marketing
Consumers are a lot more clued-up when it comes to cybersecurity and data privacy issues, and they know all about avoiding businesses who are careless with their customers’ personal data. Consequently, a business that has a good track record with cybersecurity has an easy winning hand when it comes to their marketing.
If one of your main competitors suffers a serious data breach, you have a golden opportunity to highlight your own robust cybersecurity measures. There was a time when issues surrounding data privacy were only of interest to a relatively small number of people. However, even someone who knows very little about the world of cybersecurity still understands the importance of their personal data remaining private. Especially, in the times when web scraping is a well-known business tool. More about it you can find on Smartproxy blog.
Finally, do not underestimate how crucial trust between you and your audience is. If your audience trusts you, then everything becomes easier. For example, a trusting audience is going to be more receptive to your marketing messages. They are also more likely to forgive you if you do suffer a data breach.
Avoid A PR Catastrophe
It is important to remember that tech companies are not the only ones collecting data about their customers on a regular basis. Most big businesses, and a higher portion of SMEs than many people realize, are gathering various bits of data about their customers. This data includes things like the information needed to process a store loyalty card or rewards program, or the data needed to ship an online order to their home address. We are happy to share these facts with most of the businesses that we use, but we would not want cybercriminals and fraudsters to have access to this sensitive information.
If your business suffers a data breach, then you have a legal obligation to inform the relevant authorities. Depending on where you do business, this might trigger an investigation by the relevant watchdog or data authority. If you are doing business in Europe, you need to be aware of your obligation to your users’ data under the GDPR.
The Buck Stops With You
The role of the CEO should be about more than financial rewards. In order for a business to truly thrive, it needs to be able to inspire its workers at every level. Retail businesses that neglect their frontline staff never reach their full potential and tend to suffer from higher-than-average turnover rates. On the other hand, businesses that are led by CEOs who genuinely care about the staff within it inspire confidence from everyone.
Being a good CEO also means that when things go wrong, you are willing to accept responsibility. After all, if you want to take a hands-on approach to your business’ cybersecurity, you assume the responsibility that goes along with it. Most CEOs could benefit from being more involved in cybersecurity within their business, but many are deterred by their own lack of specialized knowledge. However, if you are willing to learn, you can teach yourself using readily available online resources, and liaise with your cybersecurity experts to improve even more.
Of course, hands-on CEOs can be a disaster if they go charging into situations and start overruling their own experts. Sometimes it is better for you to listen and let people with more relevant training and experience in decision making take the lead.
Data Leaks Have A Financial Cost
When data is stolen from a business, there’s always a financial cost. These usually aren’t direct costs as most of the costs result from the fallout of a data breach. The first potential cost comes from your legal exposure. No security system is perfect – suffering a security breach doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to get in trouble with the regulators. The power of data watchdogs and regulators is currently set on a state-by-state basis.
However, because of the success and popularity of the GDPR in the EU and the appetite for federal regulations from across the political spectrum in the USA, it seems likely that we will see the creation of a federal data watchdog at some point. Until then, the California Consumer Privacy Act provides us with an example of what federal regulations might look like. In the absence of federal regulations, expect more states to follow California’s lead.
CEOs need to be aware of the way the wind is blowing when it comes to data leaks. It is also important to be familiar with existing legislation.
If your data breach doesn’t land you with any fines or legal punishments, it is still going to cost you in lost trade. Different audiences have different sensitivities when it comes to data breaches. Since people are now much more aware when it comes to cybersecurity issues, you can be sure that there will be some who think twice about using your business if it seems to have weak cybersecurity.
It doesn’t matter how much formal training CEOs have in cybersecurity – even a lack of knowledge should not make them care less about how their business is performing when it comes to safety. Cybersecurity experts should make the important decisions but, given how important cybersecurity is to a company’s public image and legal liabilities, CEOs need to care more about it as well.
We hope you enjoyed this promoted piece as much as we did!