NewsJune 29, 2018 @ 4:45 AM

Why Growing Cyberthreat Awareness Among CEOs Could Lead to Bigger Security Budgets

Recent data revealed that CEOs are now putting fears about cyberthreats ahead of traditional business concerns, such as an increasing tax burden and the availability of key skills. This shift in priorities may help IT professionals make a stronger business case for more substantial security budgets — a challenge for many C-suite leaders in recent years.

Cyberthreat Awareness on the Rise Among CEOs

Executives around the world have become more aware of the cyberthreat landscape as technology has grown more pervasive in the enterprise. A new survey of global CEOs ranked cyberthreats among the top five most significant impediments to business growth. In North America, CEOs listed IT security as a top priority, with 53 percent of executives reporting that they were “extremely concerned” about cyberthreats.

These findings from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicate that C-suite executives might be warming up to the idea of allocating more resources for security. While the 2017 study placed cyberthreats at number 10 on the list of impediments to business growth, this concern took the fourth spot in 2018.

Now Is the Time to Push for Bigger Security Budgets

The new data suggests that security leaders should consider reframing their requests to business leaders for more resources to fend off malware, social engineering and other cyberthreats. For example, chief information security officers (CISOs) can get board directors’ attention by focusing on the three R’s — reputation, regulation and revenue — and referring to news headlines to communicate the negative impact of a data breach from a business perspective.

Security leaders can also gain executive buy-in by understanding the organization’s business priorities and explaining how a greater investment in security can help the company achieve those goals. Also, conveying security data in a framework that board directors are used to seeing — such as a risk heat map — can help business leaders better understand the return on investment (ROI) of security investments.

The PwC data shows that CEOs are finally beginning to see the connection between cybersecurity and long-term business growth. For security leaders whose requests for more budget had previously fallen on deaf ears, now is the time to approach the C-suite and make a strong business case for more significant investment in cybersecurity.

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Shane Schick

Writer & Editor

Shane Schick is a writer, editor and speaker who focuses on how information technology creates business value. He lives in Toronto.