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C-Suite Tips for Keeping Finances Cyber-Secure

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Think your C-suite doesn’t need to be tech-savvy? Your CFO isn’t the only one who needs to know how to protect company finances in the digital age. Learn what you need to know to stay vigilant against cyberattacks on finances.
 

Cyberattacks

Cybercrime is the second largest threat to financial information and institutions, second only to asset misappropriation. Cyberattacks come in many forms: hackers targeting mobile devices, wearables and credit cards; banking malware that infects personal and professional financial information; and internal threats to bookkeeping practices and cloud storage.

Even if you use outsourced bookkeeping services, you still have a duty to your customers and your organization to ensure that their financial information and yours stays safe. Planning and implementing cybersecurity for your organizational finances starts with understanding not only the threats but also how to defend against them.

Cybersecurity Viewpoints

 
The 2016 Barkly Cybersecurity Confidence Report revealed a number of differences between the views of IT professionals and members of the C-suite. Using these results, the importance of educating your company’s top executives about cybersecurity becomes evident.

Barkly’s survey found that

  • IT professionals aren’t confident that current cybersecurity solutions work.
  • IT professionals don’t believe those systems can adequately measure security ROI.
  • Organizational cybersecurity awareness needs to be much higher.

On the other hand, IT executives

  • Are confident in current organizational systems.
  • Would rather invest in new systems despite lack of ROI measurement.
  • Think cybersecurity awareness is at an acceptable level.

The main disconnect between viewpoints occurs due to proximity to cybersecurity threats and understanding the nature of security breaches. Because the C-suite is farther away from daily operations, they may not fully understand how threatened financial information is.

Connecting With the C-Suite

Although the C-suite has the company’s best interests in mind, the disconnect between executive reports and daily operations makes executives susceptible to the viewpoint that everything is taken care of until it’s too late. But there are ways to engage and educate executives that will help strengthen your cybersecurity efforts.

1. Make Status Quo a No-Go

Change is good. Too often keeping numbers steady looks better than seeing the books go into the red, but striving for better is what the C-suite is meant to accomplish. Put the status quo to rest and equip executives with information about cyberattack trends to open discussions about real solutions.

2. Know the Difference Between Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Awareness

Security and awareness are two different but related concepts. They both require specialized knowledge, but security can’t happen without awareness of the problem. Initiate an organization-wide awareness program that includes threats to financial data internally and externally.

3. Invite Your C-Suite to Participate in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors multiple campaigns throughout the year, but October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. DHS offers resources for businesses to stay abreast of threats and training on preparedness and response. Use these resources and invite all your executives to attend training classes.

4. Use Real-Life Examples to Make Concepts Real

People are more likely to understand, remember and apply information when it’s presented in a manner that resonates with them. Use examples in training materials that mirror personal experience for increased awareness and success.

5. Share End-User Feedback With the C-Suite

If your C-suite is presented with feedback from end-users, this will connect them with numerous viewpoints. Diversity of opinion goes a long way to inspiring new solutions, identifying gaps in resources, and making decisions that protect finances. Use feedback for growth and for smashing the status quo.

Keeping vigilant isn’t difficult, but it does take planning and time. Keep your C-suite in the know with timely information and make them active players in the cybersecurity process.

 

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