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How to Present Cyber Risk in CFO-Speak | #cloudsecurity | #hacking | #aihp

Do you find it challenging to have meaningful conversations with your organization’s senior executives and board members about cyber security risk?

If you answered yes, it may be that you’re not speaking in terms that your CFO, CEO and board understand, or more importantly, care about. As a security leader, you need your stakeholders and to have a shared understanding of cyber risk. Doing so will allow you to effectively talk about the security threat landscape and its material impact on your business’ goals.

To change how cybersecurity is discussed across the organization you need to present your key stakeholders with information that conveys cyber risk in terms they can easily tie to business outcomes. Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) allows you to translate security risk into financial terms (CFO-speak) to give you a new way to communicate and report on risk and help you align your cyber programs with leaders’ business goals.

What is CRQ and why is it important?

CRQ is the method of using a data-driven approach to measure an organization’s cybersecurity posture in quantifiable business terms. Quantifying cyber risk can benefit your key decision makers in various ways:

  • CISOs gain a deeper visibility of the cyber risk landscape and its impact on their security posture.
  • Executive stakeholders can rationalize the ROI of cyber security investments and ensure that money is being used for the right tools and resources.
  • Board members can understand if security leaders are investing enough in security
  • Everyone can measure the financial impact cyber events can have on the business.

If you’re looking for how to leverage CRQ in your future business discussions on cyber security, here are three best practices:

  • Business metrics
  • Clear and structured reports
  • Real-time insights

Business metrics

It can be tempting for security leaders to use operational metrics, like mean-time-to-respond, when speaking to executives and board members about cyber security risk. But it’s important to be mindful of who your audience is. A list of software vulnerabilities and detection metrics are useful to manage the performance of your security teams to mitigate cyber threats, but they don’t help contextualize the monetary impact a cyber security event will have on a business for executives. Instead, CRQ-based metrics provide a framework to tie the degree of cyber risk to financial impact so executives and board members can prioritize security projects, rationalize spending and track the effectiveness of their organization’s cybersecurity program. Your CFO will understand the impact of your cyber security program more readily if you can discuss:

  • Your financial risk exposure
  • The cost of a breach by business unit, geography or asset type
  • The progress you’ve made reducing risk in your organization in monetary terms
  • The return on investment from your current and future investments in security tools in terms of reduced risk measured in dollars, or other currency

Clear and structured reports

Executives and senior executives are swamped with reports showing operational metrics and key performance indicators. Often, these risk reports can be confusing to understand and provide too-high levels of detail. Moreover, they can become overloaded with terms that are technical and are not easily digestible for someone who isn’t a cyber security expert.

Security leaders need to provide well-organized and accurate reports that clearly relay the security posture of an organization through a financial perspective. Manually compiled spreadsheets are error-prone and complex. Instead, use CRQ to consistently report on a subset of key metrics with dashboards  that align to your business structure.

Real-time insights

Outdated or conflicting information creates a false sense of security and puts your organization at risk of a cyber breach given that new vulnerabilities and security issues emerge at a rapid rate. CRQ can help your security team produce real-time insights that allow your key stakeholders to make informed and strategic cyber risk decisions quickly and easily. Presenting up-to-date data also reassures your senior executives and board members that you are continuously tracking your organization’s security posture.

How can Balbix help? 

Balbix Cyber Risk Quantification (Balbix CRQ) allows you to align your board, senior leaders and operational teams to focus on protecting the most critical assets and reducing the most threatening cyber risks through a common business language and action-oriented dashboards.


Key metrics provided by the Balbix Security Cloud


To see how the Balbix Security Cloud can help your organization quantify its cyber risk, please download our white paper.

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