Leadership Principals for Cybersecurity Success

Managing the drive to become a more security-minded organization can feel like an uphill battle for employees and leaders alike. However, as a leader, you’ll have to shoulder the responsibility of setting the goals, drawing the roadmap, and managing your human resources to effect meaningful and lasting, change.

The good news is that you probably already possess many of the skills and attributes to make this happen. The key is to know how to apply this in a cyber security-specific context for the most efficient and pain-free transition possible.


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Start by Educating Yourself

Some business leaders or decision-makers may view themselves above spending the time and effort to understand an operational discipline such as cybersecurity intimately.

However, as a business imperative, cybersecurity cannot be ignored at any level of the leadership structure. Even if you have IT Experts, or even a CISO, to advise you, some basic knowledge of the cybersecurity landscape is needed to help guide effective and timely decision-making.

Cybersecurity is not just a one-time fix or upfront investment. It’s a growing and evolving concern that requires a long-term strategy to manage effectively, just like any other business concern.

At the minimum, you should be able to answer:

  • What is your business’s current security posture?
  • What are your security gaps?
  • What are the most significant cybersecurity threats to your company?
  • What governance and compliance regulations are you subject to?

Ensure Employee Buy-in With Your Vision

As a business leader across any vertical, you’re intimately aware of cybersecurity’s importance to your company’s long-term health, wealth, and overall success. As a result, the motivation to pursue a robust security posture with rock-solid measures and diligently observed best practices may seem evident.

However, this overarching perspective might not be as obvious to your “boots on the ground.”

Unfortunately, the human factor is still the main avenue exploited as an initial attack vector. Your cybersecurity is also only as strong as your weakest link, which means you simply can’t uphold tight security for long without everyone being on board.

That’s why you clearly need to communicate this vision to your workforce, as well as why and how you want to achieve it. Make sure everyone knows they have a role to play and make sure that the motivation is thereby engaging, giving ownership, and incentivizing positive change.

Prepare for The Lows…

As with any major change in your organization, you’ll undoubtedly face obstacles, pushback, and even the odd setback on your way to establishing yourself as a cyber security-minded operation.

Adopting new security-oriented practices, measures, and procedures will inevitably lead to some initial resistance and can possibly even impact employee morale. Business must go on, and the extra workload and responsibilities of operating in a more security-conscious manner may feel like an unfair burden.

Employees may face a learning curve that can be both intimidating and frustrating. You also have to make peace with the fact that productivity and efficiency will likely be impacted during the necessary transition period.

However, it’s important that you keep your message strong and consistent, even during this time. Act with compassion, but remain steadfast to manage burnout while keeping your project on track.

This is where implementing a strategy with incremental changes, and clear checkpoints can come in handy. As a long-term process, you can afford to adjust timelines, add/remove training or tasks, reassign responsibilities or work, etc.

…. But Keep Your Eye On the Prize

Among the highs, lows, and in-betweens, you should be the one constant during the change process that keeps the train on the tracks, so to speak. When tackling complex puzzle-like cybersecurity that’s equal parts technical and human, you’ll need to bring all the talents that landed you in a leadership position to bear.

This is your time to leverage all of your charisma and motivational skills to help your employees through hard times and embrace change with as much positivity as possible. While the going may be tough, there is a shining light at the end of the tunnel.

After all, the end goal is to create a better, more resilient organization that will protect the interests of your business, employees, and customers alike.



Do It! Four Leadership Moves For Cybersecurity Success