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  • Writer's pictureWinfrid Jonathan

The Importance of Cyber and Data Security Governance

Updated: Aug 24, 2023


Cybersecurity governance is the process of managing an organization's cyber and data risks to align with its risk appetite and comply with regulations.


Introduction

Cyber and information(data) security governance is the process by which an organization overseas its cyber and data risk framework to ensure the risks are managed in a way that aligns with the organization's risk appetite and meets or exceeds applicable compliance requirements.

Cybersecurity used to be considered important only for regulated industries, like banks and insurance companies, as well as public-sector entities or critical national infrastructure. However, after the increase in ransomware attacks over the last few years, many organisations including retail and manufacturing realised that they are vulnerable to cyberattacks in an online world where most of their business and employee interactions and record keeping happen online.

A well-defined governance framework will help to ensure that senior management are aware of and have oversight of cyber and data risks, and that resources are allocated in a way that mitigates these risks. It also helps to ensure that lessons learnt from incidents are communicated effectively both up to the board and down to management and staff.


Considerations for a Cybersecurity Governance Model

Board members and senior management need to be aware of the specific cyber and data security risks associated with their company and that technical process and procedures that have been put in place to mitigate the risks.

Implementing a governance framework, which includes identifying the risks, documented management and response processes and procedures, and communicating learnings from incidents is essential for building a strong defence and protecting your company from cyberattacks and data breaches.

Board members need to be engaged in the governance process and understand the sensitivity of data being stored, the vulnerabilities of where a cyberattack or data breaches could occur and the risk mitigants processes and procedures that management has implemented. They also need to be able to ask the right questions to management and understand the answers so that they can make informed decisions about the risks.

One of the most important aspects of governance is ongoing communication. The board needs to be kept up to date on the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and management needs to be communicating with staff about the importance of cyber and information security. The board needs to set a culture where staff are aware of the risks that they face and how they can help protect the company's data.

In a studies of data breaches, it has been found that more than 60% of breaches were caused by malicious or inadvertent actions by employees. Staff need to be aware of the risks that they face and how they can help protect the company's data.


Implementing a governance framework

When implementing a governance framework for cybersecurity and data security, there are a few key aspects that need to be taken into consideration. It may be necessary to engage external consultants to assist with these steps.

  • The first is the company's risk appetite (reputation as well as monetary) - how willing is the company to take on a risk to protect its data?

  • The second is the sensitivity of the data being protected - how important is it to keep this data confidential and what are the consequences if it is not (not only monetary loss but also brand and reputation)?

  • The third factor is the level of security needed - what measures need to be put in place to ensure that the data is protected from unauthorized access or theft?

  • The fourth consideration is resources available - what financial and human resources are available to implement and maintain a data security governance framework? and

  • Finally, communication to the company's management and staff on the importance of data security and cybersecurity.

It's also important to have regular external reviews/assurance testing of the governance framework to make sure that it is still effective in addressing the company's needs. Cyber and data security risks evolve over time, so it's necessary to adapt the governance model as needed to stay ahead of potential threats.


Conclusion

Cybersecurity should always be a top priority for directors and senior management, and effective governance is crucial for ensuring that it remains a priority. By implementing a governance framework that fosters open communication, businesses can help ensure that they are well protected against cyberattacks. In the online world of 2022, cyber and data security should always be a top priority for directors and senior management, and effective governance is crucial for ensuring that it remains a priority.

This governance includes creating policies and procedures, setting up training programs, and investing in security technologies. Governance ensures that everyone in an organization understands their role in keeping data safe and knows what to do in the event of a security breach.

However, governance and a risk framework is only one part of an effective cyber and data security strategy. Companies also need to have technical controls and the expertise to manage these controls in place to protect their data and networks. These controls could include firewalls, access controls, and encryption for example.

Cybersecurity governance should also be supported by technical risk management and incident response plans. By implementing an effective governance framework, investing in technical controls, and keeping communication open, businesses can help ensure that they are well protected against cyberattacks.

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