Who is your Trump card in the battle for cybersecurity?

Published 16/02/2017 by Jon Wrennall, Chief Technology Officer, Advanced

Protecting intellectual property and financial information is a crucial part of business strategy. 
Yet with the number of threats and the sophistication of cyber-attacks increasing, getting the right safeguards in place is a formidable challenge. This month, President Donald Trump postponed signing an executive order on cybersecurity, with a White House official saying  that Trump hoped that the action would ‘set a philosophy of proper cybersecurity management and modernise the federal government's information technology structure’.

This comes after security experts expressed concerns over the decision to centralise the executive branch’s cybersecurity management under the Office of Management and Budget, arguing that cybersecurity needs to be run by people who are experts in the field, rather than experts in management. The Office of Management and Budget is known for suffering a data breach in 2015, where 22.1 million people; one of the worst cyberattacks in US history.

And when it comes to cybersecurity, the waters this side of the pond look just as murky. According to Get Safe Online and Action Fraud, British businesses have seen a 22% increase in cyber incidents over the past year, with total reported losses of more than £1 billion. Worryingly, our recent Trends Report revealed that one in four British businesses (26 percent) are not prepared for the threat of a cyber-attack. Cyber security, with such a presently wide breadth of effect, touches every aspect of business, calling for all decision makers and employees to be informed, educated and trained on company security practices. So whose responsibility is it to identify these threats along with highlighting the opportunities that digital bring?

With many traditional IT roles being redefined, and as digital business and technology decisions are increasingly intertwined, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) has become an integral member of the board. Just as IT now impacts every area of business, the CTO must be fully integrated across an organisation - and the culture within it - to deliver innovation and change, in a safe and secure manner. In this way, forward-thinking ‘connected’ CTOs ensure the entire business stays ahead of the latest cybersecurity and tech trends, overseeing the wider impact technology is having on the business and can use this insight to make informed, strategic decisions that are beneficial to the whole of the organisation. 

However, the stark truth is many British businesses still aren’t anywhere close to achieving this, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity. Although some sectors are more acutely worried than others, such as financial services, the concerns spread right across the public and private sector.

Cybersecurity is far more than just building security controls – it's about changing the whole organisation to be more secure. And it falls to the CTO to know which digital technologies and their associated risks are the most pertinent for their industry. From this, they can then work to assimilate these into their organisation.

The impact of technology has on our lives and associated cyber-attacks will continue to increase. It’s therefore time for CTOs to connect themselves to the rest of the organisation to stay relevant, valued, strategic, and perhaps above all in today’s society, secure.

Is your organisation’s CTO rising to the challenge of the digital era? Are you getting all the benefits of a forward thinking and connected CTO? Click here to read our whitepaper on 'Today's Chief Technology Officer - the organisational lynchpin'.

Jon Wrennall, CTO, Advanced
@jonwrennall