Cybersecurity / Unsplash

Cybersecurity has been a prominent topic for businesses for various years, yet in the past, it used to be mostly discussed within companies’ technology departments.

However, recent cases have shown that cyberattacks can go beyond targeting that specific department, with more reports of social media hacks of wider organisations and business leaders being revealed. Last July, Malta Film Commission’s official Facebook page was hacked, with the organisation’s logo being changed to that of an attractive young lady. The Superintendent of the Police’s Financial Crime Investigation Department Sandro Camilleri, together with Foundation for Social Welfare Services CEO Alfred Grixti were both also subject to hacks, with their Facebook and Messenger accounts being used by hackers to try to lure people to invest in financial scams.

PwC’s 26th Global CEO Survey released earlier this year found that 60 per cent of the 4,500 CEOs surveyed expected a moderate to severe threat from cyber risks during 2023, with 39 per cent expecting a very high cyber risk in the next five years. Inflation, macroeconomic volatility and geopolitical conflict were the top three concerns for CEOs, with cybersecurity ranking in fourth.

While there has been increased investment in cybersecurity, the rapid development of technology has also prompted more elaborate cybersecurity threats to pop up.

As a result, here are five things that every CEO should keep in mind about cybersecurity.

1. Educate and become aware

As explained earlier, the digital space is developing at an accelerated space.

Therefore, a CEO needs to make sure that everyone in the organisation, from C-suite executives, all the way to customer service professionals, receive adequate cybersecurity education and awareness training.

This can be about the latest developments in the area, together with the best ways to safeguard oneself when faced with cyber risks.

2. Hire an independent cybersecurity company

On certain occasions, cybersecurity threats can be too advanced for a company’s management to deal with, especially if that business is relatively small in size.

However, such businesses can still avoid these cyber risks, potentially by employing an independent company that specialises in the area.

These companies can conduct cyber risk assessments against Government regulatory compliance requirements and industry standards in order to identify potential gaps in the company’s information security policies, processes, plans, and procedures.

3. Be prepared for anything

In today’s world, cyberattacks are practically inevitable.

Given the sheer number of users there are on the internet, together with the advancements that technology has made, businesses need to prepare themselves for everything.

Therefore, business leaders need to ensure that the organisation has an appropriate cyber breach incident response plan, so that when such issues arise, they can be immediately dealt with.

These include the policy and procedures related to ransomware attacks, together with plans on how to quickly recover any lost or stolen data.

4. Establish information security KPIs

Business leaders also need to keep track of their progress in the cybersecurity space.

This involves the establishment of information security key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the number of cyberattacks, data breaches, network uptime, network downtime, cost of cyber breaches, among many others.

Doing so will enable them to track their investment in the area, and assess whether more work is needed to safeguard their data.

5. Introduce additional layers of security

At the end of the day, business leaders have to act on their plans.

CEOs need to mandate additional layers of information security so that the hackers’ goal becomes even more difficult.

Business leaders can introduce data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and also highly restrict access to the company’s most valuable information assets. Some of these solutions, such as multi-factor authentication, can be done simply through the settings sections of social media platforms, while others, such as encryption, will require further discussions between the management.

While CEOs are aware of many of the risks that the digital world presents, they need to actively put in place strategies that curb the chances of data breaches.

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