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CISOs and Board Members can no longer ignore the importance of cybersecurity. New cyber attacks and threats surface every week and threaten the security of business operations. Non-technical teams and leadership must learn and invest in cybersecurity actively. Cyber can no longer be thought of as a siloed process. At the board level and among other non-technical leaders, cyber investment and interest are necessary for a business’s success and continuity. 

With cybersecurity as a board-level issue, many CISOs face the same level of inquiry and scrutiny as a CFO or CEO. Cyber is no longer an abstract concept that can be assessed with the question “Are we secure?” and a brief “Yes.” Successful CISOs are leaders, communicators, and managers. All CISOs must be prepared to convey their organization's progress to ensure business continuity, make informed decisions, and improve cybersecurity incident response plans.

When a CISO reports to the Board of Directors, it is their responsibility to communicate the organization’s existing security posture, its risks, and the potential impact of future threats. To do this, CISOs must avoid technical details and cyber jargon to avoid confusing non-technical board members. The CISO’s cybersecurity board report should include proposed solutions and the potential impact of time and money on cybersecurity programs. Read below to learn how to structure your cybersecurity report template. 

Is the Company Secure?

It is impossible to have 100% security and business growth within an organization. Growth and risk go hand in hand. A CISO must communicate this so the board understands that certain risks are associated with business growth and are necessary to absorb to grow the business. 

The CISO should communicate that risk should be viewed through the lens of good vs. bad instead of high vs. low - good risk is associated with risk that can grow the business. CISOs should consider communicating this through a risk appetite statement. A risk appetite statement defines the amount of risk an organization can take to pursue its goals. In doing so, security initiatives should be considered part of business objectives. As an organization grows, the business needs to accept certain risks for growth.

An Overview of the Company’s Cybersecurity Posture

As board members grow more interested in cybersecurity, the CISO needs to provide information on the company's most critical security threats and risks, the controls in place, how things can change over time, and proposed solutions. CISOs can convey this information through an Executive Risk Report, a high-level overview of the company’s risk. This risk report can give an overview of the organization's overall risk and illustrate alignment with the risk appetite statement.

The CyberStrong platform offers an Executive Risk Report which visualizes risk by threat type and risk by business impact. This risk report also delivers a risk report breakdown for control families. A CyberStrong Executive Risk report includes a more granular analysis of the risk posture by the control family by breaking the categories of risk down into three groups; inherent risk (total risk by family), residual risk (a risk that remains after some implementation of controls), and opportunity (the amount of risk that remains to be mitigated).

Frame Risk Through a Financial Lens with FAIR 

The FAIR model measures risk by financial impact. By translating quantified risk into monetary terms, board members and non-technical stakeholders can better understand risk. Presenting cyber risk in a business context will encourage executive buy-in and demonstrate the impact of time and money on cybersecurity and operational risk.

The CyberStrong platform allows users to quantify risk via the FAIR model. Using the risk register, CISOs can display the financial impact of risk using a graphical representation of a Monte Carlo simulation with an identified risk.

Know Your Dashboards

CISOs can display real-time information using dashboards. CyberStrong offers users updated Governance Dashboards to show updates on their security program. Governance Dashboards are business-friendly visualizations of compliance and risk initiatives that combine quantitative and qualitative methods to allow CISOs to give meaningful metrics to CEOs and the board.

Governance Dashboards enable a seamless flow of information up and down the chain of command. View compliance posture by business unit, geography, site, vertical, or any other tagging taxonomy in addition to year-over-year comparisons. These dashboards can also display where weaknesses exist in the organization. CyberStrong’s Risk Dashboard and NIST CSF Scorecard further illustrate return on security investment (RoSI), where the spending is going, and the impact on the organization's risks.

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Streamline Your Board Report

CISOs must clearly and cohesively present cyber information to the board to gain their buy-in. Cyber is a critical business function. Therefore, a CISO must use the right tools to communicate an organization’s cyber posture. FAIR risk quantification frames cyber in a financial context, and dashboards help visualize and synthesize cyber initiatives to understand them better.

Contact us to learn more about how to improve your cybersecurity board report for board meetings with CyberStrong.

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