The threat of cyberattacks and security breaches is at an all-time high, and as technology continues to develop, cybercriminals are finding more advanced ways to hack into our systems. Unfortunately, the nature of these attacks is unavoidable, but the way your business defends itself from and deals with these threats can make all the difference.
The results of a security breach aren’t simply inconveniencing and having to re-think your systems. Nowadays, if a hacker gets into your systems and gains access to your data, this can have much more damaging implications for your business. As such, security governance is something you need to take very seriously.
But if you’re not 100% clear on what security governance entails, why it’s so important or what security governance means in 2020, don’t panic – this guide is here to clear a few things up for you.
What is security governance?
Security governance is the way in which you control and direct your company’s security efforts and is not to be confused with security management. While management concerns itself with actually making decisions to mitigate cyber threats, governance is all about outlining who is authorised to coordinate security activities and make those decisions. Essentially, it’s about setting out a framework for accountability, enabling the sharing of information which in turn, allows your team to make decisions that mitigate security risks.
Why do we need security governance?
Security is no longer just the responsibility of the business owner or the IT team. Nowadays security needs to be built in at every level of the business and every employee is responsible for implementing security best practices. The same is therefore true about security decision making.
Through security governance, senior staff are setting out a framework for all employees which tells them what risks they’re allowed to take and what situations call for them to reach out to senior leadership. After all, senior staff cannot always be there to make decisions, nor should they have to be with effective governance. It’s important to ensure that everyone in the business is on the same page, so nobody makes a decision they weren’t supposed to and one which could have a negative impact on data or cybersecurity. Many companies are now opting to bring in a data protection specialist to lead their teams in this.
Is technology not enough?
Many businesses, particularly in the early stages, fall victim to thinking that technology is enough or that their business won’t be much of a target. This is what lands people in trouble. In 2020, cybercriminals are more likely to attack SMEs than they are to go for huge corporations. Despite this, many owners believe that having a firewall and password on their laptop is enough to keep them covered. Technology is great, but it cannot work alone. What good is a top of the range security system if staff continue to take risks they shouldn’t or if no one knows how to use the program effectively?
The answer – not much good at all! Through security governance your business puts the human touch back into information security, ensuring that security assessments are taking place and that every individual knows their role and responsibilities within the company, for keeping sensitive data safe. Even if it’s as simple as the new intern having a strong password on their laptop and two-factor authentication when logging in. Security is vital at every level.
Why is it so important in 2021?
Since the internet became an integral part of the daily running of most businesses, information security has been important. But now, with individuals sharing record-breaking levels of personal data online, it is more important than ever that organizations are doing everything they can to keep this data safe.
What’s more, after the implementation of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) back in 2018, businesses have had to become hyperaware of their security and data protection systems. Otherwise, they risk coming under the scrutiny of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and facing a large fine. The ICO began cracking down on data breaches in 2019, but those efforts are being ramped up in 2021 with some big-name organizations having already been fined hundreds of thousands of pounds for not complying with GDPR, or for data breaches that have compromised the personal data of millions.
Security governance is an important part of reducing the risk of human error, ensuring all staff are clued up on cyber and data security and mitigating security risks. Get this right in 2021 to ensure your business is compliant with GDPR and is running the most effective security strategy possible.
How can security governance align with your business goals?
The good news is, putting effective frameworks in place and prioritizing security governance isn’t just a fad. It’s a long term investment and something that every business should be doing. Better still, it is a great way to align your security systems with the overall goals of your business. For example, is one of your overall aims to boost your reputation and build a loyal customer base? Believe it or not but a strong security strategy plays a big role in this.
How? Well, it’s 2021 and thanks to GDPR and increasing awareness of the subject, more and more individuals are becoming aware of their rights to access and delete their data. What’s more, many are increasingly making consumer decisions based on the safety of their personal information. Not only does effective security governance show your business takes security seriously, but it also boosts the chances of your team being able to coherently explain to customers, clients or suppliers, the steps you are taking to mitigate risks and keep their data safe.
You see how the two connect? Information and data security need to be intertwined with every aspect of your business, right down to the goals you’ve set for yourself, whether these are directly related to security systems or not.
In a nutshell, cyber and data security is going to be an ongoing focus for governing bodies like the ICO throughout 2021 and will continue to gain media attention. Getting your security governance right is one very important step to protecting your business from falling victim to a very costly data breach.