Gone are the days when chief financial officers could stay in their offices and crunch numbers. Today’s CFOs need a solid working knowledge of every aspect of the business in order to protect data, predict trends, and evaluate where and how money is being allocated.
One of the top CFO concerns for 2014 is cyber-security, which affects the financial health of an organization in many ways. The costs of a data breach can be astronomical, making the benefits of proper preparation equally valuable. CFOs who understand security issues are better able to tell when, where, and how the company should focus its “security spending” for best results.
To improve your organization’s protection and outcomes, consider the following tips:
- Identify the true cost of a data breach. The average financial cost of a data breach is about $5 million, according to data from the Ponemon Institute. The cost of lost reputation and goodwill may be even higher. When CFOs can estimate the costs of a data breach, they are better prepared to weigh the costs and benefits of different types of security approaches.
- Exercise persistence and patience. Persistence and patience are common qualities among hackers out to breach data security systems and steal or compromise data, according to the FBI’s cybercrime division. CFOs should take these qualities into consideration when developing a budget and plan for cyber security.
- Learn the basics of data protection. You don’t have to step into the IT department’s shoes, but every CFO should know enough about data protection options to have a fruitful conversation about them. Understanding the difference between a compliance program and a full-security program, for instance, may save your organization more in the long term.
- Develop a breach-response program before the damage occurs. Is your organization prepared to respond if a security breach happens? CFOs can play a key role in developing a breach response program and ensuring staff rehearse various responses before data is compromised. Consider not only how the organization will identify and stop a breach, but also who will prepare and deliver the company’s media and other responses if a breach occurs.
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