Written by: Riley Anne Johns
Cybersecurity is a major priority nowadays for business leaders, as no organization is immune to cyber threats. For example, according to Forbes, cyberattackers made roughly $456.8 million in ransomware profits in 2022 alone, as most businesses were unprepared to counter them. As a result, more business leaders are focused on having the appropriate cybersecurity systems in place to avoid vulnerability to cyberattacks and minimize any potential damage.
Now, while investing in the development of advanced cybersecurity strategies is important, most businesses tend to overlook the role of good leadership in building cyber resilience. As a matter of fact, some experts even claim that any cybersecurity incident is a result of failure in a leader’s decision making and not a failure in technology. This only highlights the need for leaders to realize the role they play in rolling out effective cybersecurity measures for their businesses.
The importance of good leadership
A dominant reason why cybersecurity is also an issue for business leaders is because cyberattacks have grown in scale and sophistication. Besides hacking basic databases, contemporary cyber threats are now also targeting decision-makers themselves. This is also why there has been a rise in breaches, even among government-level information. Case in point, in 2023, a common pattern in American cyber incidents involved compromised communication channels between government officials and some federal agencies that were targeted by malware. Along the same vein, small businesses reported the highest incidences of malicious emails.
That said, building cyber resilience not only entails better IT systems to prevent such issues. It requires better decision-making from leaders since they have the ability to set the right organizational tempo to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Since cyberattacks can bring structural and organizational issues, it is important that leaders are kept up to date on protecting critical information and avoiding any common cybersecurity mistakes. These include practices like training employees and using password protection, which can secure overall company security. Furthermore, leaders are in a position to coordinate with security and technology teams to stay updated on potential threats and create the necessary steps to address any issues should an attack occur. Keep in mind part of cyber-resilience is not just preventing attacks but efficiently recovering from any, too.
Essentially, good leadership requires proactivity to ensure that the right cybersecurity measures are in place, along with a well-coordinated share of responsibility that trickles down through the company.
What makes a good leader?
Given the importance of good leadership, it is important for leaders to consistently improve their awareness and capabilities in line with cybersecurity. Besides proactivity, they should also possess qualities such as greater empathy, resilience, agility, and even virtual leadership. One way to upskill these capabilities is by taking advantage of leadership development solutions, which can include coaching sessions and consultations. These solutions are focused on empowering leaders by helping them further their leadership potential by identifying the capabilities and behaviors leaders need to activate successful business strategies. Furthermore, leaders can gain new skills that help them develop their ability to adapt and cement their competency in dealing with unexpected situations. Of course, this includes pressing cybersecurity concerns. In a way, these solutions help leaders and companies move forward with the guidance of someone who is prepared to take accountability and have the company’s best interests in mind.
In fact, you’ll find that some high-profile CEOs and business leaders prepared in such a way were able to step up during cyberattacks, further cementing the importance of having a good leader in these circumstances. For example, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has emphasized cybersecurity at every level and saw the value of the company’s stocks increase tremendously. Not only did the company leader ensure cyber protection, but they also managed to strengthen their resources, which gained them business benefits as well. As it stands, more leaders should realize that their role is more than just delegating tasks to their employees. Leaders have the power to make or break their company’s cybersecurity resilience, further highlighting how important it is to have good leadership.
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