When it comes to keeping business running smoothly, corporate board-of-directors need to be proactive, especially nowadays. This includes supporting the infrastructure that handles the organization’s digital data, storage, and utilization. Not long ago, a company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO) was the central authority in IT decisions; however, that role has recently changed shape. Whereas CEOs and company boards used to see IT spending as frivolous and unnecessary, they now regard it as a critical piece of their professional responsibility. And because the handling of digital data, storage, and utilization are a vital part of any organization’s ability to generate income, it is a key part of success.

The moment leaders forget the importance of customer trust and the need for privacy protection is the same moment they are destined to fail. No company, regardless of size or shape, can stay alive in today’s digital environment without certain cybersecurity solutions in place. As companies continue to file for bankruptcy in the wake of well-aimed cyberattacks and negligent data control, the risks become increasingly real.

There is a climate change happening in the world of cybersecurity, as attackers are now more interested in earning a profit than destroying the user’s computer or data. A typical company now allocates an average of 75% of their IT budget to security software, which means company leaders must rely on industry professionals to provide careful and thorough evaluations of their security. In an effort to balance spending, companies need to follow reasonable guidelines around budget allocation and the use of limited resources.

Here’s how:

Education equals prevention.

Employees are the first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity, so increased awareness of all related risks is a smart investment—and not an unnecessary cost. Clueless or misinformed employees are the weakest link in the security chain, as they are often victims of phishing and social engineering scams. IT teams should redesign their existing protocols to accommodate any future incidents involving an employee report of infection. The system should also be easy to understand, primarily because complicated ones may deter workers from reporting certain issues.

Disasters demand a reasonable response rate.

IT teams usually conduct operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round—ready to provide their IT services whenever the enterprise requires them. That said, speed is not the only measure of competency. Knowledge and experience also play a vital role in how effectively solutions can be delivered.

Defining a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is key.

A BCP should operate from the top down, not from the ground up. From the board-of-directors to the entry-level employees, everyone must understand the operations of their specific teams, especially during times of trouble. In many cases, the situation is not immediately clear, which means professionals will need to apply their knowledge in careful ways to gain better perspective. The good news, however, is the ethical hacking industry is fairly mature these days—which can help with the BCP setup of any organization. They accomplish this goal through simulated cyberattacks, data breaches, and penetration testing in a controlled environment. The board-of-directors should thoroughly study the results of any ethical hacking efforts and offer guidance to higher-ups in need of awareness. Any potential weaknesses in the system should be immediately patched using vendor hotfixes and never left open for future attacks.

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