IT Security Leaders are often challenged when communicating cyber risks to Management Teams, Risk Committees and Company Boards. However, with good cyber risk narratives that tie technical risk factors to business impacts, IT Security Leaders can get the stakeholder support they need to invest in security controls, fix vulnerabilities and tangibly improve business preparedness should security incidents occur.
Interacting with business leaders is part of every IT Security Leader’s responsibility. If you have presented cyber risks to your Risk Committee or Board, you are all too familiar with the effort required to communicate cyber risk and get buy-in for the right investments. The communication is either overly technical or overly simplified to be valuable and actionable for stakeholder oversight and decision-making.
Building formidable cyber defenses and securing the Firm is in itself a demanding task. With the focus on day to day security management activities, educating non-technical stakeholders in a way that drives action is challenging with today’s methods.
On one hand, you are concerned about vulnerabilities in your complex IT landscape that exposure you to cyber threats. On the other hand, your stakeholders want to know how such cyber risks can interfere with business operations and impact Firm financials.
The reality is that there are a number of interdependent risk factors and risk events that shape the impact to the business. So listing top IT risks from a risk register, or attempting to rely solely on the use of technical standards as a way to communicate these interdependent risk factors, doesn’t paint the full picture of risks and their impacts.
To paint the full picture, you need a compelling story.
Using narratives and the power of story-telling isn’t new. Human beings have always been captivated by and driven to action by powerful stories. The stories we tell ourselves shape our perspective and our view of the world. Our narratives influence our purpose.
Drive action with Cyber Risk Narratives
To drive action from your stakeholders you have to shape their perception. And building perception is about credibly framing your point of view in the context of what your stakeholders see.
Crafting a cyber risk narrative that ties risk factors to business impacts can help your business leaders understand relevant and specific business exposure from cyber threats. With realistic business impacts tied to credible threats, you can captivate your stakeholders and shape their perception effectively. Moreover, with a strong shared understanding, you can optimize investments in security controls to improve your Firm’s preparedness.
In a world where everyone is a technical expert, the cyber risk narrative can be simple and stay within the confines of technology. But your funding is sourced from the revenue generating teams at your Firm that may not have your background and expertise. And, as an IT Security Leader you are entrusted with the responsibility to shape their perspective. Your success in crafting their perspective shapes their interest, attention, involvement, investment decisions and ultimately your budget. Raise the bar and take control of shaping their perspective with insightful narratives.
As an IT Security Leader, ask yourself these questions:
- What cyber risk narratives do you use in communication with Business Leaders?
- Does your cyber risk narrative illuminate the tangible effects to business operations and impact on Firm financials?
- Do your cyber risk narratives inspire confidence among your stakeholders?
Storytelling may not be viewed as a natural skill, but with the right mindset and effective tools to support, the ability to tell powerful cyber risk narratives can be acquired relatively quickly and can be a huge credibility booster for IT Security leaders and risk professionals alike.