Thursday, April 1, 2010

Execs Need to Be Involved in Cyber Security Decisions

Business Week has a great story on how a new study calls for more C-level involvement in cybersecurity:

Organizations with top executives who aren't involved in cybersecurity decisions face a serious problem -- a major hit to their bottom lines, according to a report released Wednesday.

"Many organizations see cybersecurity as solely an IT problem," said Karen Hughes, director of homeland security standards programs at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), one of the major sponsors of the new report. "We are directing a wake-up call to executives nationwide. The message is, this is a very serious issue, and it's costing you a lot of money."

The report, called "The Financial Management of Cyber Risk," recommends how C-level executives can implement cybersecurity risk management programs at their companies. Part of the goal is to get executives such as chief financial officers directly involved in cybersecurity efforts, said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance (ISA), the other major sponsor of the report.

The report cites a cyberpolicy review released by President Barack Obama's administration last May saying that U.S. businesses lost US$1 trillion worth of intellectual property to cyberattacks between 2008 and 2009. That number doesn't include losses due to theft of personal information and loss of customers, the report said.
The total cost of a typical breach of 10,000 personal records held by an organization would be about $2 million, the report said.

"We believe if we can educate American organizations about how much they're actually losing, we can move to the next step, which is solving the problem," Clinton said. Eighty to 90 percent of cybersecurity problems can be avoided by a combination of best practices, standards and security technology, but some organizations need to understand the financial problems associated with poor security practices before they will make changes, Clinton said. 

Read the full article over at Business Week

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