Cybersecurity and the C-Suite

by | 10 November 2015

The digital revolution has business and banking easier and more accessible. Unfortunately, undesirable parties sometimes give themselves easy access as well. Dick Lake, director of global security at the Gates Foundation, says that there are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked. Anyone who’s received a new credit card in the mail due to a security breach or kept up with the massive bank hack earlier this year know that safety isn’t guaranteed, but it’s been a challenge getting businesses to admit their weakness. Conrad Andersen, Executive Managing Director of  Strategy and Innovation at Colliers International, takes a look into cybersecurity and the c-suite in the latest issue of Knowledge Leader magazine.

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Two stereotypes about cybersecurity need to be overcome in order to maintain company and shareholder security: the first is that a business’s defenses are infallible, and the second is that security is only the job of the company’s information technology experts. The aforementioned bank hack was accomplished by sending unwitting bank employees e-mails with embedded malware, which allowed the hackers to hijack the institution’s systems. Target’s major data breach was allegedly accomplished by using credentials from an associated maintenance company. The retailer’s secrecy on the matter, such as waiting four days to report the breach, did its reputation no favors.

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Security experts are insisting that companies reconsider not just their risk-assessment and defensive measures, but their detection and response as well. Even with strong preventative measures, there’s always a wildcard—such as when programmers discovered a serious vulnerability in encryption software used by several companies in different sectors. Representatives in tech, web, and financial sectors had to scramble to respond to a threat that had been present for an undefined period of time, while customers became even more acutely aware of the unpredictable nature of information technology.

Just as cybercriminals are finding new ways to hack, cybersecurity specialists are helping come up with ways to recover from breaches. This can’t happen, however, without the cooperation of company executives.

Read about the steps experts recommend for businesses hoping to improve their security in the digital age in the Fall 2015 issue of Knowledge Leader.