There’s no doubt the C-suite and boards are paying increased attention to cyber security, hearing more frequently from infosec pros. But are CISOs communicating in a language the business side needs to hear?
There’s no shortage of security metrics, Torsten George points out in a Security Week column today, but what the business side needs to hear is not necessarily what security pros use when talking to each other.
“Upper management and boards want to understand what the organization is doing to prevent security breaches and the effectiveness these measures, its exposure to future risks and threats, and what areas can be improved.” That means telling them things like the number of vulnerabilities discovered, the number of incidents and the average time a vulnerability remains unpatched isn’t helpful.
Better, he writes, is to focus metrics that relate risk to the organization’s business goals — for example, on sensitive data that could be exfiltrated due to existing vulnerabilities or the financial impact associated with critical assets being rendered unusable by an attack.
Being a CISOs these days can sometimes feel like a roller-coaster of never-ending crises. To some degree many problems can be solved through doing the basics, including keeping on top of patching and educating users. These aren’t big ticket items. But board level support is vital for solutions that may call for investment, ranging from penetration tests to multi-factor authentication and on.
Top levels of management have to be able to relate to the metrics infosec pros give them. If you aren’t getting a sympathetic ear upstairs it may be because you’re giving them the wrong numbers.