Making The Most Of Your Advisory Board’s Data Security Expert

Author: Purandar Das

This article was originally published:

– May 9, 2023

Data has become the lifeblood of businesses, driving growth and innovation. However, greater vulnerability to cyber threats comes with increased reliance on data. This makes having a data security expert on an organization’s advisory board essential for success.

Most organizations don’t have a dedicated data security person who understands compliance requirements and how to secure data without making it difficult for relevant business units to access the data for informed decisionn making. Data security experts serve as powerful allies, helping organizations make informed decisions and reducing the long-term costs associated with data incidents. Let’s review some of the benefits of this position and how companies can make the most of their data security expert.

Leveraging Expertise And Experience On Demand

With the increasing importance of data security in today’s world, boards face new challenges that the traditional board makeup cannot handle. To address these modern threats, boards should consider adding members with specific expertise in developing and implementing data security strategies. These individuals should have a thorough understanding of emerging threats and trends in data security and be able to assess and mitigate risks associated with data breaches.

These particular board members should also have experience in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Security is intrinsically tied to compliance due to well-known regulations such as SOX, GDPR, HIPAA and PCI. Having expertise in security and compliance ensures that the board is equipped to meet any legal and regulatory challenges that may arise during their work.

By seeking out individuals with these specific skill sets, boards can better position themselves to address the complex and ever-evolving challenges of data security in the modern world.

Improving Decision Making

No matter the business size, data security is a critical concern. Yet due to its complexity, it can be challenging to explain to non-technical stakeholders, particularly to boards of directors. CISOs and CIOs are responsible for safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring the company’s data remains secure. Effectively communicating the importance of data security requires explaining the complex threats in clear and concise terms along with defining the risk to data security, compliance, reputation and other areas that could be impacted if a breach occurs.

CISOs and CIOs must also be able to describe new or potential solutions to data security challenges to a non-technical audience. This task is daunting, as many technical solutions are complicated for the layperson to understand, so these professionals must be able to easily convey the benefits and drawbacks of various solutions. By effectively communicating the importance of data security and the potential solutions to mitigate risks, CISOs and CIOs can help ensure that their organizations are well-protected against cyber threats.

Increasing Customer Confidence

Customers are increasingly concerned about the security of their personal information. Companies prioritizing data security and demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding their customers’ data can gain a significant advantage in gaining trust and loyalty.

Having a board member with experience in data security makes a solid statement of the board’s commitment. This individual can help establish and implement robust security protocols and effectively communicate these efforts to stakeholders, enhancing the organization’s overall brand reputation. By having a data security expert on the board, a company conveys the message that data security is a top priority in their operations, just as they have experts in other areas of their business operations.

Improving Risk Management And Mitigation

With a data security expert on the board, the company can adopt proactive risk management and mitigation controls to safeguard against breaches and ensure compliance with complex data privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA and HIPAA. The expert can guide the organization in conducting regular audits, implementing data protection policies and avoiding costly penalties and potential legal battles that could result from non-compliance. A board member with data security expertise can help better explain the risks of failing to secure data adequately and argue for more advanced or aggressive security measures to mitigate these risks.

The expert also has the insight to help justify security costs and make a case for investing in more robust security measures by quantifying the costs of non-compliance with data privacy regulations and explaining the potential impact on the organization’s reputation, including lost business due to incidents. They can argue why punting solutions for future budgets is dangerous and make a case for prioritizing advanced security measures to protect the organization’s data.

Long-Term Cost Savings

Board members with data security experience can also help the company save money. Their expertise helps set the stage for avoiding costly data breach incidents by driving proactive measures to mitigate the risks and avoid expensive penalties, lawsuits, remediation costs and loss of business. This is especially true for companies that comply with GDPR, HIPAA and SOX, as the fines and penalties for non-compliance are substantial. Mandatory remediation efforts force expedited timelines, increasing the total cost.

While those direct costs are impactful, losing business due to attacks can be devastating. Studies show that 70% of consumers will stop doing business with a company after a data breach. Combining this with downtime and decreased productivity during the recovery process can also result in significant costs to the organization.

Data Security Strength From The Ground Up

A data security expert on an organization’s advisory board can be a key to success in today’s data-driven world. Their ability to translate risk from technical counterparts to other board members helps drive informed decision making, improving the organization’s data security posture. Not only does this result in lower overall costs, but reductions in incidents enhance the brand’s reputation and communicate to customers a strong interest in protecting their data and privacy.

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