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      What Is a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) & Why Do You Need One?

      Businesses today are regularly under attack from cyber threats. Malware and other viruses are constantly searching for ways to infiltrate companies’ digital security and steal information. Larger businesses, in particular, are often targets of such malicious attacks and even the most prepared businesses can fall victim to these attacks. For example, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Japan 2020 Olympics experienced a data breach, and the personal information of volunteers, as well as ticket holders, was exposed. 

      Maintaining digital security is a serious issue that companies have to diligently monitor on a daily basis. Following digital trends and protecting against malware and other attacks, however, is a time-consuming process which is why businesses have been hiring a chief information security officer.

      What Is a Chief Information Security Officer?

      A CISO is an executive-level company leader who is responsible for maintaining digital security and managing a company’s information. Developing a strategy for handling a company’s information is no easy task, which is why the CISO role requires knowledge of information regulations, implementation of security policies, and regular security updates to minimize the risks of cyber threats and attacks.

      The CISO role also deals with risk management, advising on the risks versus the benefits of working with new technologies and collaborating with other companies. In today’s digital age, all companies can benefit from a solid information security strategy, and a CISO is the expert who can develop one for your company. 

      Why You Need a CISO

      Not all businesses have a CISO, but the pandemic is one event that has spurred many companies to invest in digital security. Cyberattacks have gone up during the pandemic as people switched to remote work and new security policies had to be implemented. A study by IDG Communications found that 61 percent of companies surveyed employ a top-level security executive. The same study found companies who didn’t employ a security executive were more likely to report inadequate security training as well as insufficient security strategies. 

      A CISO is an executive-level position that is well worth the investment as one successful cyberattack has the potential to ruin a business. Below are the three main reasons why a business needs a CISO.

      Financial damages

      According to a report by Hiscox, in 2019, 6 percent of companies paid a ransom to regain control of critical IT operations in their business. These ransoms resulted in $381 million in losses. If a cyberattack steals your information you either have to pay a large sum of money for it to be returned or lose valuable data. In either case, your business will be taking a major financial hit. Cyberterrorists demand large sums of money for the information, but even if you don’t pay your business will still suffer a financial loss. It’s likely the business will be responsible for paying fees and damages associated with the compromised information.

      Loss of confidence

      Another serious result of a cyberattack is the loss of customer and investor confidence. It takes years of dedicated work to build a brand’s reputation, but a breach in confidential information can leave people distrustful of your brand. People don’t want to leave their sensitive information with a company that has failed to properly fortify its IT infrastructure against attacks. 

      A successful cyberattack will also make potential business partners hesitant to work with your company. If you can’t protect your own information, companies will see your business as too big of a risk to their own reputation and security. 

      Operational changes

      Hackers and other cyberattacks often target tools that disrupt the day-to-day operations of a business. For example, in 2010 hackers attacked Mastercard and Visa and managed to temporarily crash their websites. This caused a major issue for customers and made it impossible for employees to do their jobs. When employees can’t do their work, the business takes an even bigger loss. 

      Businesses also have to alter their business practices after a cyberattack by creating a new strategy for their digital information. In some cases, smaller businesses have had to scale back and shut down online stores because they couldn’t be properly protected. Don’t let a potential cyberattack derail the advancement of your company.

      Be prepared

      Prepare for inevitable cyberattacks now by hiring a chief information security officer. If you haven’t taken the time to seriously fortify your online information, a CISO is the perfect person to rework your digital security. Don’t wait until after a cyberattack to protect your business. Get ahead of the risk and secure a professional who can focus solely on your company’s information and cybersecurity. 

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