Chief Sustainability Officer Role Viewed to be Vital in Cybersecurity

Posted by Marketing on 07 06, 2021

This year, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic prompted businesses everywhere to shut their doors and shift to a work-from-home model. However, doing so presents a slew of security challenges that did not exist when working from a secure office environment.   

With so many companies moving to a remote work environment, cybersecurity took on a whole new level of importance. In fact, the global pandemic has urged businesses to begin prioritizing cybersecurity more than ever before. In 2019, only 40% of large enterprises stated that they were planning to report cybersecurity risks to their board of directors. However, in a recent study, 100% of these companies plan to do so this 2020. 

According to new research, nearly 98% of companies believe cybersecurity will help them improve their sustainability efforts, development strategies, and the role of a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). Despite the positivity of many companies surrounding a CSO role, the research also revealed that 56% of industrial businesses do not intend to bring in a CSO, despite half of the 56% having already appointed a CSO.  

Let’s take a deeper dive into why the CSO role is vital in the cybersecurity field.  

The Impact of COVID-19 on Cybersecurity 

This past year, several factors have significantly impacted the cybersecurity industry. Across the board, remote work has increased by 53%, indicating a rise in the demand for cybersecurity professionals. Despite the clear need for this tech area, cybersecurity budgets have decreased by 24% among industrial businesses.  

On the other hand, 24% of industrial businesses have developed cybersecurity plans for disasters. As a result, industrial companies have been forced to revisit their cybersecurity practices to include more modern technological advancements, such as industrial IoT, Cloud and SaaS, edge computing, and 5G.  

In addition to paving the way for new plans for industries’ security, the COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced a new set of challenges once unheard of in the cybersecurity field.  

Cybersecurity Challenges in 2020 

One of the major threats involved with cybersecurity has to do with industrial control systems (ICS). These systems oversee and manage physical processes similar to corporate networks, but they do not handle data management.  

In the past, ICS did not have a major security risk, where previous issues were mainly caused by user errors or defective software and hardware. Unfortunately, the same cannot be claimed today. Physical assets are at an incredibly high risk of being manipulated or even destroyed by attacks from cybercriminals.  

ICS and the Effects of Major Cyberthreats 

Because ICS relies on an industry’s connectivity, this makes it primarily susceptible to exploitation from criminals in the form of cyberattacks. However, new security measures have the power to detect attacks and initiate countermeasures to protect a company in case of threats.   

If safety systems are manipulated or turned off by hackers, this can present even greater challenges to ICS cybersecurity. Damage to service quality, loss of confidential information, and mitigation costs are among the top three major challenges that can be encountered from a compromised ICS.   

Mitigation costs have always been a major challenge, but in today’s ever-evolving tech landscape, it requires even more attention through specialized and, at times, expensive tools and resources. Additionally, with more employees working from home, the need for external network scans has increased significantly.  

Despite the increased vulnerabilities from remote work, only 24% of respondents in a recent survey of large enterprises claimed that internal security practices needed to be revisited during the pandemic, and only 15% suggested that all employees should be required to undergo a special security training as they work from home throughout the pandemic.  

More Cyberthreat Challenges to Look Out for  

As part of the recent survey previously mentioned, participants ranked the major cyberthreat challenges in 2020 from most to least threatening. The results: 

  • Injury or death of employees 
  • Due to product/service quality  
  • Loss of proprietary or confidential information  
  • Cost of incident response and mitigation  
  • Damage to company brand or reputation 
  • Injury or death of non-employees  
  • Loss of customer confidence  
  • Equipment damage  
  • Violation of regulatory requirements  
  • Environmental damage  
  • Loss of contracts or business opportunities  
  • Penalties/sanctions for not fulfilling regulatory requirements  
  • Criminal or civil liabilities  
  • Impact on national security  

Evidently, most businesses recognize that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the security of their companies. When asked if they believe that policies will change due to this, 46% responded yes; 23% said it’s too early to know; 23% said they didn’t think so; and 10% flat out said no.  

With the future of remote work on the rise, more businesses must get on board with adopting policies that will protect all information and data – from something minimal to highly confidential – and adapt to new trends and practices in cybersecurity.  

Top Tech Trends Impacting Cybersecurity 

As far as trends go, participants shared the following as the top three trends that have the most impact on cybersecurity: 

  • Use of industrial IoT companies 
  • Cloud and SaaS adoption  
  • Edge computing  

While these are the top trends, research also shows several barriers to a company’s way of adopting these trends or implementing new ICS security projects. One of the biggest obstacles that delay ICS security projects or implementation is having too many decision-makers. This has been shown to delay projects by 47%.  

The Need for a CSO to Help Address Cybersecurity Issues and More 

In today’s ever-changing world, adding new layers of security and leadership can help your business prosper. If your business is currently looking to bring a CSO onboard, it may be one of the greatest decisions you’ll make. Amid the global pandemic, leadership is needed to balance technology investment, human resources, and sustainable practices, encompassing cybersecurity.  

At Infinity Consulting Solutions, we understand the importance of a strong team and strong leaders. If you are looking to bring someone new on board, let our team of experts help guide you in your search. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our services or looking to begin your CSO search today.  

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