5 Best Practices to Integrate Cybersecurity With Your Business Strategy

by Sarah Harvey / January 13th, 2020

What Does an Effective Business Strategy Look Like?

For many businesses, it’s been a long time since the business strategy was initially developed. If it was created a few years ago, it’s likely missing cybersecurity as one of its strategic initiatives. The role of cybersecurity has dramatically changed for the C-suite and should be re-evaluated in terms of its impact on strategy.

Any successful business will have a solid definition of its mission, values, and goals. In today’s landscape, every organization is in the business of cybersecurity. It should have significant part to play in the overall strategy for the company’s success. How can you do this? By adopting the following five best practices to integrate cybersecurity with your business strategy.

5 Ways to Integrate Cybersecurity With Your Business Strategy

Integrating cybersecurity with your business strategy shouldn’t be as painstaking as it may initially seem. Whether you’re in the beginning phases of establishing a business strategy or your organization is re-evaluating your long-term goals, you can follow these five best practices as a starting point to integrate cybersecurity with your business strategy.

1. Identify your business’ key goals and aspirations

What is the overall purpose of your organization? Evaluate the specific milestones you have set to realize that purpose and now look at them in a new way. How does cybersecurity make or break the mission? This are important considerations to integrate into your strategic initiatives.

2. Pinpoint areas of weakness in your cybersecurity hygiene

When you evaluate risk throughout the organization, C-level executives are particularly strong at considering threats impacting financial risk, competitive changes, loss of key employees, market shifts, environmental events, and other disasters. Now, add cybersecurity risk to this same equation. Don’t make the mistake of assuming an IT department is covering this base. Executives must seek out the same details on potential impact from cybersecurity threats as they do in other areas. Conducting a risk analysis can help you identify weak areas in your cybersecurity hygiene and risk-rank vulnerabilities that need to be addressed first. You might need a third-party information security expert to provide an unbiased view of your risk. Specialists at KirkpatrickPrice can help pinpoint weak areas in your cybersecurity hygiene, give you advice on how to remediate those findings, and help fine tune your strategic initiatives.

3. Determine how your people, processes, and technology need to evolve

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing, and you need to make sure that your people, processes, and technology are able to swiftly adapt. Humans are generally the root cause of security incidents – whether it’s out of ignorance or deceit – and so it’s up to your organization to ensure that all personnel understand the cyber threats they’re faced with on a day-to-day basis. Requiring annual, thorough security awareness training is one way to do this. As for your processes and technology, how often do you update them to meet information security best practices? Do you conduct internal audits to validate the security of your processes and technology? Are you making investments in technology that will improve the cybersecurity of your organization?

4. Implement a strategy for cybersecurity best practices

Once you’ve identified your key goals and aspirations, identified areas of weakness in your cybersecurity hygiene, and found ways that your people, processes, and technology need to evolve, you need to decide how exactly you’ll be implementing these five best practices. Will you use a framework like NIST to guide your efforts? Will it require you to partner with an MSP or hire more IT personnel? Do you need to hire an independent, third-party firm to validate your cybersecurity efforts?

5. Leverage cybersecurity and compliance for success

Strategic planning is what guides all that you do in your organization. Cybersecurity and compliance are strategic initiatives that serve as benchmarks for your business. Do we have a cybersecurity mission? Have we identified our cybersecurity goals? What are the plans to get there? Have we defined the resources we need? Are we monitoring our progress to quantify success? Ultimately, these will become strengths that are important to your clients and other stakeholders. You might train your sales and marketing teams on how to communicate your strategic differentiation in the market because of your cybersecurity and compliance strengths. Leading firms have a dedicated cybersecurity landing page on their website that explains the “why” behind cybersecurity and how it serves as a strategic goal in their business.

All in all, cybersecurity can no longer be an afterthought or kept at arms-length from the boardroom. It must be a proactive effort – one that is ingrained in the company culture and strategic purpose. If your business is struggling to adopt these five best practices to integrate cybersecurity with your business strategy, let’s find some time to talk to see how we can help you.

More Cybersecurity Resources

What is Cybersecurity?

When Will it Happen to You? Top Cybersecurity Attacks You Could Face

How to Lead a Cybersecurity Initiative

Key Takeaways from the SEC’s Cybersecurity Guidance