A lack of alignment on COVID-19 response plans exemplifies how a chronic disconnect between cybersecurity and business leaders increases organizational risk.
As organizations in France grapple with yet another wave of COVID-19 infections, driving a further push toward remote work, a lack of alignment between business and cybersecurity leaders is proving detrimental. The vast majority of business and security leaders in France (88%) acknowledge that their pandemic response strategies are only somewhat aligned, at best. And two thirds said they are very or extremely concerned that COVID-19-related workforce changes would increase their organizations' level of risk.
The self-reported data is drawn from a commissioned study of 104 business and cybersecurity leaders in France. The study, The Rise of the Business-Aligned Security Executive - a Spotlight on French Organizations, was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Tenable.
The effects of the disconnect are readily apparent: 30% of respondents said their organization had already experienced at least one business-impacting cyberattack related to COVID-19 by April 2020.
The pandemic brings to light a lack of alignment that is chronic and potentially harmful to business operations even in the best of times. In fact, 34% of business executives said that they rarely consult with security leaders when developing their organization's business strategies. Almost half (42%) of French security leaders said they don't work with business stakeholders to align cost, performance and risk reduction objectives with the needs and priorities of the business.
Meanwhile, 90% of French organizations have experienced at least one business-impacting1 cyberattack in the past 24 months and 40% have experienced five or more. The business fallout as a result of these attacks includes:
- Loss of productivity (38%)
- Loss of customer data (33%)
- Financial loss or theft (31%)
The misalignment between security and business leaders is exacerbated by the challenges infosec professionals face in communicating risk in a language the business understands. A lack of visibility is compounding the issue, particularly in light of the newly distributed and dynamic environments made necessary by COVID-19. The study found that:
- 40% of French security leaders said they had limited visibility into the risk posed by employees - whether on-premises or working from home.
- Roughly a third reported a similar lack of visibility into their IT, operational technology (OT) and internet of things (IoT) devices.
- More than half of respondents had limited visibility into mobile devices.
With cyber risk now an integral part of business risk, direct, consistent and effective communication is the only way to develop strategies that further organizational goals while prioritizing risk reduction around the most business-critical assets. The study shows that when business and cybersecurity leaders are aligned, the results are significant. In fact, 72% of business aligned security leaders are very or completely confident in their ability to report on their organizations' level of risk versus just 9% of their more siloed peers. And, in a time of global economic uncertainty, it's worth noting that 85% of business-aligned security leaders have metrics to track cybersecurity ROI and impact on business performance versus just 25% of their more reactive and siloed peers.
When cybersecurity strategy is aligned with business needs, security teams are equipped to deliver an informed, risk-based approach that prioritizes what matters most to the business, making the organization more resilient in times of crisis and more productive when circumstances improve.
- See additional study highlights in French here
- Download the study in French here: The Rise of the Business-Aligned Security Executive - a Spotlight on French Organizations
- Evaluate your own organization (tool is available in English language only): How Business Aligned Are You?
1"Business-impacting" relates to a cyberattack or compromise that results in a loss of customer, employee, or other confidential data; interruption of day-to-day operations; ransomware payout; financial loss or theft; and/or theft of intellectual property.