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Why CEOs need
visibility into
cyber security
threat intelligence

Author: Nick Reese

While the CIO or CISO is immediately responsible for cyber security threat intelligence, the CEO plays a critical role in safeguarding their organization. Just as a CEO has a responsibility to sign off on a marketing campaign from the CMO or review the budget projections from the CFO, the CEO must take an active interest in the cyber security operations.  The success or failure of the organization depends on it.

Here's why chief executives need visibility into the cyber security risks the company faces—and how they can get it.

Cyber security is a business challenge

A cyber attack isn't just an IT problem; it's a business problem. A major attack can halt operations, tarnish brand value, destroy productivity, harm customers and leave the company exposed to massive fines, lawsuits and remediation costs. More than any competitor, a cyber attack is the largest threat to almost every business.

Because cyber security affects every facet of the business, the CEO is perfectly positioned to ensure the organization has the appropriate level of threat intelligence to make sure it's being treated as a priority throughout the organization.

To make it a priority, the CEO and other C-level executives must first have cyber security threat intelligence visibility. This doesn't mean executives need to get their hands dirty installing software patches, putting in firewalls or hunting down hackers. However, they do need to be able to understand, at a glance, their organization's security posture in a way that helps them make intelligent decisions about what security investments they can take to protect their business.

Threat intelligence in cyber security: Visibility for the C-suite

The first step is to create a risk-based cyber security program that allows an internal security team to effectively sift through a massive trove of threat intelligence. The security team should then provide company leaders with contextualized security data to help them understand the subset of threats that pertain to their organization and take action. The key word here is "contextualized." It won't work to just throw a bunch of data points at a CEO and expect them to know what to do with it. It's important to take the time to synthesize the data and provide response options so the CEO can make a data-driven decision about where to invest time and resources, instead of trying to figure out what the data is trying to say.

Rather than being surprised with a breach, stay abreast of the latest cyber security threat intelligence methods by receiving regular dark web monitoring reports. While not always as immediately actionable, these reports can serve as an early warning that an attack might be coming your way. When it comes time to invest resources into shoring up defenses, the CEO and other C-level executives are already aware of the threat patterns to protect against.

Remember: The CEO's job is to ensure the company invests its time and budget into the initiatives that do the most good for the overall business. By improving your ability to understand and track cyber security threat intelligence, you gain a clearer understanding of your organization's risks, so the CEO can prioritize the resources the CIO needs to do their job.

Discover how Verizon's threat intelligence services can help give both the IT team and the CEO the proactive threat intelligence they need to detect, respond to and mitigate threats faster and more effectively.