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Is Information or Cyber Security finally becoming a strategic board level issue?

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By Steve Daniels, Strategic Business Advisor – Cyber Security, CGI

It’s my opinion that cyber security has for too long been seen by business leaders as a tactical activity left to a breed of specialists. Certainly, CGI research entitled ‘Cyber security in the boardroom: UK plc at risk’ found that 28% of respondents said this had been the case until recently.  This seems comparable to other important areas of business enabling activity such as data protection, consent management and data management which have typically received low levels of management attention.

Fortunately, it seems that there is growing evidence of board level executives waking up to the threat to their business cyber security poses. Some 38% of those surveyed believe they will experience a cyber security breach in the next 12 months. This is perhaps prompted by high profile cyber security breaches reported in the media and their organisations’ dependence on IT services.

With the direct costs of such data breaches estimated at over £1m a year by survey respondents and the new stiffer penalties for breaches on Board members under the finance sector’s Senior Managers Regime and imminent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Network Information Security Directive (NISD), the stakes are high. The breaches reported publicly and these new requirements have led to an 81% increase in cyber security awareness amongst those that CGI surveyed.

Whilst Boards are now recognising the problem, the business response still seems to be lagging behind. Spend is increasing by 11% on average and 15% in retail and financial services but that is against a low base of an average of 9% of total IT spend. It could be seen that this response still seems tactical rather than actively governed as defined in standard BS13500, and concerted and programmatic to build in the organisational resilience as defined in standard BS65000.

At the heart of an organisation are its data assets, which GDPR and NISD seek to protect through what will be a step change in cyber security maturity. This may absorb all of the increased cyber security spend being promised, and more. It’s surely time for all the data and cyber security specialists to come together both to advise their Boards, to execute the Board’s direction effectively and underpin the Board’s accountability for this critical concern.

Just how far is your organisation along this path and should it be satisfied with where it is?

Find out more about the connection between cyber and data governance which will be moderated by Angela Wilbraham at the next EDMworks Practitioner Network at Kings Cross on 2nd June. Click here to for further information and to register.

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