It’s important to make sure that your report is tailored to the real world business outcomes the board will care about. Download this guide to learn best practices and tips for reporting cybersecurity to the board.
Drafting a cybersecurity executive summary – an example
Reporting on the performance of cyber risk and security programs is critical to avoiding breaches, learning from prior performance, and mitigating risk. Effective communication and decision making between different levels of an organization – from the practitioners and managers on the ground to the C-suite and the Board – can be the difference between keeping systems secure and suffering a massive incident.
However, too many security and risk professionals make mistake of providing information that’s too technical, too detailed, or without context. These reports can be indecipherable for readers who lack a technical background, preventing security leaders from engaging in the clear communication around risk and security programs that’s required to keep the organization safe.
An effective report should capture the highest risk items in a cybersecurity executive summary. For example, aspects of a security program that are significantly underperforming and adding unacceptable risk to the business should be front and center. Effective communications may also include a cybersecurity KPI dashboard that summarizes key findings and recommendations, contextualizing them with risk scores that help the reader understand the severity of risks and the importance of remediation efforts.
As the world’s leading Security Ratings platform, BitSight provides the tools to accurately assess risk and security performance of an organizations network, as well as their vendors’ risk. The BitSight Security Ratings platform also includes solutions that can streamline cyber security presentation and reporting, providing templates and examples of cybersecurity executive summaries that help users deliver the most pressing risk information quickly and easily.
Template example: a cybersecurity executive summary
An effective cyber security executive summary includes several essential sections.
Every cybersecurity report should begin up front with a summary of the most critical findings and action items in non-technical language that every executive and board member can understand. Key findings can also include security ratings that provide external insight into the organization’s security performance.
This section should outline what was monitored for the report, including the number and locations of monitored servers, devices, and workstations, and the extent to which the organization’s endpoints where assessed. Parts of the IT environment that weren’t monitored should also be mentioned, to clearly identify the scope of the report.
It’s helpful to include a summary of the number of incidents detected and resolved in the cyber executive summary. Depending on the audience, you can provide a breakdown of incidents by type, target, and severity, along with metrics such as the Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR).
In this part of the cyber executive summary, examples and details of the most severe threats faced by the organization can help the reader understand the context of cybersecurity concerns and recommendations. It’s helpful for readers to know about emerging malware trends and recommended actions for stopping them. The threat summary can also include overall or specific levels of financial risk your program is subject to based on the vulnerabilities present.
Recommendations – and the cost of implementing them, if possible – comprise the final section of the cybersecurity executive summary. For example, if a large amount of malware is entering your organization through phishing emails, the recommendations in this section might include stricter enforcement of policies across departments and security awareness training for employees.
The BitSight Security Ratings platform
Since its founding in 2011, BitSight has consistently delivered Security Ratings with the most extensive depth and breadth of coverage for organizations around the world. BitSight Security Ratings provide an accurate, data-driven measurement of the security performance of an organization and its third-party vendors. Issued daily, BitSight’s ratings range from 250 to 900, with higher numbers representing stronger security posture.
BitSight ratings are based on information derived from 120+ sources that cover 23 key risk vectors in 4 major categories: security diligence, user behavior, evidence of compromised systems, and public disclosures of data breaches. Using a proprietary algorithm, BitSight analyzes and classifies 250 billion security measurements each day to provide a verifiable, objective assessment of the security posture of 540,000 organizations. BitSight ratings are independently verified to correlate to breach – that is, the lower a company’s security rating is, the greater likelihood it will experience a security incident.
BitSight Security Ratings provide the detailed cyber security information behind BitSight solutions for managing security performance, mitigating third-party risk, conducting cloud security audits and security benchmarking, and analyzing the organization’s attack surface.
BitSight Executive Reports
BitSight Executive Reports help organizations bridge the gap between risk management and executive teams by simplifying and streamlining information security presentations and reporting. BitSight’s reporting capabilities allow security and risk professionals to quickly pull metrics that matter and are understood by C-suite executives and the Board. To report on the security performance of their organization and vendor portfolio, users can leverage more than a dozen readily available reports with cybersecurity executive summaries, for example, or create custom reports based on their organization’s specific needs.
Pull information about company and vendor security performance into one central location and view in the BitSight platform.
Quickly determine whether security programs and vendors are meeting security standards and develop a plan of action to remediate vulnerabilities.
Query all data in the BitSight platform to create flexible, custom reports and executive summaries that speak to the organization’s risk tolerance and profile, or focus in on a specific area of risk the organization has struggled with in the past.
Facilitate easily understood, data-driven conversations about cyber risk in the digital ecosystem.
Why choose BitSight?
An industry-leading solution
BitSight is the most widely adopted Security Ratings solution in the world. BitSight’s 2,100+ customers include 20% of the world’s countries, 25% of Fortune 500 companies, and 40+ government agencies, including U.S. and global financial regulators.
BitSight’s proprietary method of collecting data from 120+ sources provides unprecedented visibility into key risk vectors, many of which are unique to BitSight.
An engaged community
The BitSight platform hosts the most robust community of cyber risk professionals in the industry. BitSight customers share security ratings with more than 170,000 third-party organizations, making BitSight the most widely used security ratings platform across all industries.
Prioritization of risk vectors
BitSight incorporates the criticality of risk vectors in to calculation of Security Ratings, highlighting risk in a more diversified way to ensure the most critical assets and vulnerabilities are ranked higher.
FAQs: What’s an example of a cybersecurity executive summary?
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