2. Quantify cyber risk in financial terms
Another way to cut through the technical jargon and resonate with executives is to analyze and quantify cyber risk in terms of its financial impact.
With BitSight Financial Quantification, you can simulate your organization’s financial exposure across hundreds of thousands of cyber events, including ransomware, denial of service, regulatory compliance issues, supply chain attacks, and more.
By transforming the technical side of cybersecurity into financial language, you can guide leadership discussions around cyber risk management, prioritize cybersecurity decisions, and justify new technology investments. By drilling down and diagnosing the underlying causes that impact financial exposure, it’s easier than ever to demonstrate how that exposure changes as you invest in controls to improve your organization’s security posture.
Furthermore, unlike traditional financial quantification methods that rely on consulting engagements or long data collection processes, BitSight empowers you to assess cyber risk as it evolves. Financial Quantification is available on-demand, easily repeatable, and can be run without adding headcount.
3. Report effectively to executives
Effective communication is key to IT governance because it brings transparency to the decision-making process. The board and C-suite need to know how the company could be affected by its cybersecurity posture.
We already know about the importance of conveying information about cyber risk in business and financial terms, but some data points are more important than others. For instance, board members may not know what it means if you say “the intrusion detection system experienced 500,000 hits in the past quarter.” It’s more effective to say “last quarter we were able to successfully block hundreds of thousands of attempted intrusions, that would have resulted in substantial data loss.” In short, you need to be concise with your explanation and show them how the metric at hand impacts the organization’s digital health. According to a Forrester Consulting report, security ratings are a more appropriate metric than the number of malware incidents or phishing emails your controls have blocked. Why? Because they are risk-focused, objective, and outcome-based.
You can use security ratings to provide context around your cybersecurity metrics, too. Context helps tell a well-rounded story on the impact that security performance can have on the business. For example, security ratings can tell you how many vulnerabilities you have in your digital ecosystem and their severity – i.e., their likelihood of contributing to a breach. You can also use ratings to benchmark your organization’s security performance against its peers and display the results as a comparative metric, which gives you and your executive team a better perspective on how well (or not) your company is doing in relation to others.
These and other cybersecurity KPIs can help you make a case for how cybersecurity impacts the business directly. And because they can be captured over time, you can use them to demonstrate cause and effect.