The Unspoken Voice – CFOs Perspective On Security
Posted: Friday, Nov 17

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The Unspoken Voice – CFOs Perspective On Security

The increasing and severe impact of cybersecurity risks on businesses. Short-term effects, like stock price declines after a cyberattack, are well-known, but the long-term consequences can be even more significant. Cyber incidents can lead to a loss of competitive advantage, reduced credit rating, and increased cyber insurance premiums. The financial implications extend beyond immediate stock price drops, affecting the entire supply chain.

Steve Vintz, CFO from Tenable commented on how these incidents impact the business and looking at these issues through a cyber lens.

What Are The Financial And Business Impacts Of Cyber Incidents, And How Can Companies Protect Themselves From Potential Fines And Damages?

Cyber incidents can disrupt normal business operations, leading to reduced productivity and revenue loss. Such incidents bring about direct costs like expenses related to incident response, recovery and regulatory fines. Additionally, there are indirect costs associated with damage to the company’s reputation, erosion of customer trust and potential legal liabilities.

The exposure of sensitive data through breaches can also have long-term strategic implications, particularly when it involves the loss of valuable intellectual property.

Furthermore, tightening global data privacy regulations and increasing disclosure about cyber risk such as the recent U.S. SEC ruling have increased the likelihood of lawsuits following a cyber breach. For publicly traded companies, cybersecurity incidents can result in significant declines in stock prices, impacting shareholder value.

These consequences highlight the fact that cyber risk should be considered a fundamental business risk.

How Can CFOs Strategically Invest In Cybersecurity While Facing Budgetary Constraints?

To optimise spending while maintaining security, CFOs should prioritise investments based on risk. This entails assessing the potential impact and likelihood of threats, enabling a focused allocation of resources to areas with the highest vulnerability and potential consequences.

Collaboration with the CISO is paramount in aligning cost, performance and risk reduction objectives with business needs. This could mean seeking opportunities to consolidate tools and reduce sprawl. Adopting a platform approach that integrates and unifies security functions can enhance cost and operational efficiencies.

What Is The Role Of Collaboration Between CFOs And Ciso’s In Managing Cyber Risk?

By collaborating closely with the CISO, CFOs have the opportunity to align business objectives with cybersecurity strategies. This involves actively participating in the identification, prioritisation, and funding of cybersecurity initiatives.

CFOs play a pivotal role in risk management by evaluating and quantifying cyber risk in financial terms, which helps justify the need for investments in cybersecurity. By taking a proactive stance within the cybersecurity team, CFOs can make well-informed decisions that directly minimise revenue losses and mitigate risks.

How Can CFOs Make Strategic Investments In Cybersecurity To Reduce Cyber Risk And Protect The Organisation From Cyber Threats?

By comprehending the potential threats, vulnerabilities and impacts of a cyberattack, CFOs can make informed decisions regarding cybersecurity investments. Armed with this knowledge, they can prioritise the allocation of appropriate resources, working closely with the CIO and the cybersecurity team. This includes budgeting for cybersecurity initiatives, ensuring adequate staffing, and investing in cutting-edge technologies and tools.

Furthermore, conducting a comprehensive risk assessment is crucial. CFOs should actively support the organisation in identifying potential vulnerabilities and determining the most critical areas for cybersecurity investments. By considering factors such as critical assets, breach impacts, regulatory requirements, and industry best practices, CFOs can guide the organisation in deploying resources effectively.

Finally, CFOs should continuously monitor and measure the effectiveness of cybersecurity initiatives. Establishing metrics and key performance indicators enables them to assess the return on investment and make data-driven decisions for future cybersecurity expenditures.

How Can CFOs Quantify Cyber Risk As A Metric Of Overall Risk And Track Progress In Risk Reduction?

CFOs must first comprehend the organisation’s attack surface and identify areas of exposure. Key questions such as “Where are we exposed?”, “Where should we prioritise based on risk?”, and “How are we reducing our exposure over time?” help guide the quantification process.

They can then quantify cyber risk by developing metrics that assess the potential financial impact of cyber incidents on the organisation. This involves evaluating the likelihood of a cyberattack and estimating the potential monetary losses associated with such an event. CFOs can work closely with cybersecurity teams to analyse historical data, industry benchmarks, and threat intelligence to build robust models for quantifying cyber risk.

To track progress in risk reduction, CFOs can establish KPIs related to cybersecurity initiatives such as the number of security incidents, average incident response time, and financial losses due to cyber incidents. By monitoring these metrics over time, CFOs can assess the effectiveness of risk mitigation efforts and identify areas that require additional attention or investment.

As A CFO, How Would You like Ciso’s To Present to You If They’re Seeking More Budget For A New Tool, Solution Etc.?

CISO’s play a pivotal role in facilitating CFOs’ comprehension of risk. They need to provide objective measures of risk to ensure that cyber risk is evaluated on equal footing with other critical aspects of the business, such as customer risk, human capital risk, and more.

In doing so, CISO’s should offer a concise overview of the present cybersecurity landscape, encompassing emerging threats and organisation-specific risks. This should incorporate recent incidents or breaches that underscore the urgency of the matter in addition to a comprehensive risk assessment that outlines the potential financial, operational, and reputational consequences of neglecting the identified gaps or vulnerabilities.

Moreover, CISO’s then need to demonstrate how this new solution aligns with the organisation’s strategic objectives and supports its long-term goals. To justify the investment, a detailed analysis of the financial implications and anticipated ROI of the proposed investment should be presented. This includes quantifying the potential cost savings, risk mitigation, and revenue protection.

Can You List Some Examples of Key Analogies/Phrases That Have Gotten You (As A CFO) To Understand More About Cyber?

“Hit straight before you hit it long.” This emphasises the importance of establishing a strong cybersecurity foundation before expanding the organisation. It underscores the need to prioritise building a secure infrastructure and implementing effective cybersecurity measures from the start.

“Sometimes cybersecurity is all about the numbers, but sometimes it’s not.” While financial metrics are important, cybersecurity involves more than just numbers. It emphasises the need to consider qualitative aspects, such as organisational culture, employee awareness, and proactive risk management, alongside quantitative metrics.

Where Would You Say The Biggest Gap Is When Ciso’s Are Asking You For Money Or To Get More Money For Something?

CISO’s face challenges in securing funds for cybersecurity initiatives due to a gap in communicating value and aligning cybersecurity with business objectives.

Firstly, they need to effectively quantify risks and analyse their business impact to convey the financial implications of potential cyber threats. By translating technical jargon into business language and providing insights into financial, operational, and reputational risks, CISO’s can help CFOs understand the value of cybersecurity investments.

CISO’s must also demonstrate measurable ROI for proposed initiatives. Clear data-driven evidence showcasing cost savings, risk reduction, and other benefits, along with robust measurement frameworks and success stories, can support the case for additional funding.

Collaboration and communication between CISO’s and CFOs are essential. Establishing ongoing dialogue aligns cybersecurity with business strategy, emphasising how the budget request contributes to growth, competitive advantage, and long-term resilience.

From Your Point Of View, What Are The Main Drivers That You Care About As A CFO When It Comes To Cybersecurity?

Financial impact and risk management are crucial considerations for CFOs who prioritise investments that reduce the likelihood and impact of cyber threats whilst ensuring a strong ROI.

Operational resilience is crucial, considering the potential impact of cyberattacks, including downtime, productivity loss, and customer trust. Hence, cybersecurity measures should prioritise seamless business continuity and critical asset protection.

Ultimately, protecting the organisation’s reputation is crucial. Cybersecurity incidents can harm a brand and erode customer trust, leading to long-term financial consequences.

Karissa Breen
Karissa Breen, crowned a LinkedIn ‘Top Voice in Technology’, is more commonly known as KB. A serial Entrepreneur that Co-Founded the TMFE Group, a holding company and consortium of several businesses all relating to cybersecurity including, an industry-leading media platform, a marketing agency, a content production studio, and the executive headhunting firm, MercSec. KBI.Media is an independent and agnostic global cyber security media company led by KB at the helm of the journalism division. As a Cybersecurity Investigative Journalist, KB hosts her flagship podcast, KBKast, interviewing cybersecurity practitioners around the globe on security and the problems business executives face. It has been downloaded in 65 countries with more than 300K downloads globally, influencing billions in cyber budgets. KB asks hard questions and gets real answers from her guests, providing a unique, uncoloured position on the always evolving landscape of cybersecurity. As a Producer and Host of the streaming show,, she sits down with experts to demystify the world of cybersecurity and provide genuine insight to businesses executives on the downstream impacts cybersecurity advancement and events have on our wider world.
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