Security compliance TrustOps

What is cybersecurity governance?

Organizations today are operating in an increasingly complex threat landscape. And without oversight from leadership, cybersecurity threats can slip through the cracks created by a remote workforce or siloed departments. Proactive leadership teams are using cybersecurity governance and compliance platforms to equip their companies with a clear strategy to mitigate company-wide risks and minimize potential damage. 

Before you can fortify your own organization against cybersecurity attacks, it’s critical that you learn the components of an effective governance process and the top challenges of implementation. But don’t worry. In this blog, we’ll teach you exactly what you need to know to get started on cybersecurity governance, while also setting you up to pursue compliance for security frameworks including GDPR, NIST SP 800-171, ISO 27001, and more

The nuts and bolts of cybersecurity governance

Cybersecurity governance is the process of overseeing the teams responsible for mitigating business risks. An effective governance process should be aligned with your company’s unique business priorities and organizational objectives. This includes outlining detailed processes for how different teams will prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats. Cybersecurity governance enables small and large organizations to stay synchronized strategically and ensures adequate risk mitigation.  

Understanding the difference between cybersecurity management and cybersecurity governance

The cybersecurity industry uses several terms that sound similar but have different and distinct meanings. Let’s quickly review the differences between cybersecurity management and cybersecurity governance before going any further. 

Cybersecurity management is narrower than governance, focusing on the actionable security controls that are used day to day in an organization. Think of cybersecurity management as your tactical approach. It’s the process of defining, building, implementing, and enforcing the controls selected to mitigate security risks. 

On the other hand, cybersecurity governance is long-term strategic planning. It aligns security strategies with business objectives, establishes who is accountable for the implementation of security controls, and identifies who is authorized to execute security decisions. Together, these two approaches form the foundation of a strong security strategy equipped to minimize damage from cyber threats or cyber attacks. 

Why is cybersecurity governance becoming more important?

Cybersecurity management without a strategic governance plan is simply not adequate to minimize potential damage in the current threat landscape. Establishing a cybersecurity governance process is critical to overseeing the implementation of cybersecurity management controls and alignment with greater business objectives. As organizations become increasingly siloed and rely on remote workers, ensuring accountability and synchronicity across departments is more important than ever. 

Now that you understand what cybersecurity governance entails and why it’s important, let’s dive into the top challenges that companies may face when implementing a governance process. 

Top four cybersecurity governance challenges

While creating and implementing a cybersecurity governance framework is essential for modern companies, there are four main challenges that can make the process more difficult. It’s important to understand what these challenges are so that you can avoid them when you approach your own cybersecurity governance plan. 

1. Ambiguous goals

When creating a governance process, leadership teams need to outline clear and comprehensive business objectives and strategic goals. These goals should address enterprise-level strategy and detail exactly how cybersecurity risks relate to each of them. Clear and specific goals will make it easier to understand the risk landscape and help to determine your risk appetite. In turn, this will allow you to identify your cybersecurity needs and understand the resources required to meet them. Without clear goals in mind, it’s difficult to assess potential risks and establish effective processes to minimize them. 

2. No leadership buy-in

Cybersecurity governance is an enterprise-level strategy by nature and requires senior leaders to actively participate in its creation and implementation. As we just discussed, leadership plays a key role in outlining the strategic goals and business objectives that are foundational to cybersecurity governance. 

In addition, the leadership team is responsible for setting the tone for the entire organization to follow. Cybersecurity is a serious matter and should be a top concern for leadership in any modern organization. If senior leaders don’t take cybersecurity seriously, it will be difficult for governance to be enforced or effective throughout the entire company.  

3. Non-repeatable processes

In order for cybersecurity governance processes to work, they must be standardized and repeatable across your entire organization. A process that cannot be replicated is not a worthwhile solution to cybersecurity threats and could put your organization at further risk. 

When establishing a new process, create a well-defined compliance management chain that ensures there is oversight and accountability for every step along the way. Increased visibility will also enable your leadership team to collect feedback regarding any difficulties in implementing a cybersecurity process, encouraging improvement over time. 

3. Lack of resources

Adequate resource allocation is necessary to ensure that all steps of a cybersecurity governance process are completed correctly. If there are not enough resources to thoroughly complete each step of the process, it can undermine the effectiveness of the entire cybersecurity governance plan. To prevent this from happening, you should identify necessary resources early on and establish a clear plan to allocate resources for each step of the process. For instance, confirm there are enough funds, qualified staff, and necessary software or hardware available for the teams involved. This will ensure that your organization is ready and able to address any cybersecurity threats that may arise. 

Where to start with cybersecurity governance

Getting started with cybersecurity governance is easy with Strike Graph. Our compliance platform streamlines risk assessment and allows you to assign responsibilities across your entire team. With custom security templates and pre-loaded configurations, you can quickly identify and implement cybersecurity processes unique to your business context to make your first security certification fast and easy. And, our multi-framework dashboard makes it simple to scale growth and achieve multiple security certifications at the same time, including GDPR, SOC 2, PCI DSS, CCPA, ISO 27001, and more. 

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