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The Board And The CIO: Benefits Of A Strong Relationship

The Board and the CIO: Benefits of a Strong Relationship

A strong relationship between the board of directors and the CIO takes a bit of effort on both parts. Boards are more concerned than ever about the risks associated with technology, and rightly so. The costs of cyber risks are financially high and carry a range of risks across the operation. A half-baked approach to cybersecurity can generate a host of consequences including lost revenue, legal problems, and reputational risk. One comment on social media from a client citing their lack of trust in a company can go viral within minutes and create a public outrage even if the comments are untrue.

As the media continues to report, cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and cyberattacks are becoming increasingly prevalent. A cyberattack that hits at a critical time could destroy a business in short order. While a cyberattack could cause severe, immediate problems, companies could face additional problems for the longer-term as well.

There’s no question that companies need to embrace new technologies to protect themselves, their shareholder, and stakeholders. For many board directors, the issue of cybersecurity and how best to handle it is still fairly new territory. Boards are still trying to get a grasp on what programs and people they need to protect the company.

A strong relationship between the CIO and the board will yield numerous benefits as each fulfills their role in cybersecurity management and oversight. While technology is part of the problem for boards in keeping their company’s data and information private, technology is also a huge part of the solution.

Corporate Boards Still Trying to Identify the Types of Technology and Expertise They Need

As board directors strive to learn more about cyberattacks and cybersecurity, they’re gaining a better understanding of how technology can help them create newer, better business models. There are a host of benefits in hiring a CIO and learning what they do to help protect the company and how they can help the company take advantage of opportunities.

As board directors have become more familiar with the importance of modern governance strategies and techniques, they’re recognizing the business advantages that are associated with speed, agility, and innovation. Technology opens up a whole new list of opportunities for marketing and branding. If the IT budget requires an expansion, the CIO will be able to explain why and how an additional investment will help the company with its goals.

The Importance of Realigning Responsibilities for Risk Management and Hiring a CIO

Many companies have given the full responsibility for risk management to their audit committees or spread the responsibility over several different board committees. The addition of a CIO brings increased capability of technology that will positively impact revenue and growth.

As technology has advanced, it’s brought with it an increased capability to impact revenue and corporate growth. Today’s board directors are more readily seeing the connection between technology and strategy.

Since most board directors lack the technical expertise to appropriately oversee cybersecurity risks, it’s becoming more common for boards to add CIOs to the c-suite. While many boards understand the need for a CIO, they lack understanding of exactly what they need the CIO to do for them. This is a result of not understanding well the technology programs and platforms that are available and the need for human expertise in technology.

There’s a natural breakdown of communication between board directors and CIOs as each of them navigates the learning curve of how to bring board directors up to speed on their knowledge base on cybersecurity so that they can fulfill their fiduciary duties to provide proper oversight over cybersecurity.

A Strong Board Director and CIO Relationship Yields Countless Benefits

All new relationships struggle a bit in the beginning. The CEO and the CFO can be instrumental in helping to bridge the gap between the CEO and the board in the early stages of the relationship.

There are many benefits in the “getting acquainted” stage, especially if the CIO carves out time to meet with each board director individually. Individual meetings will help CIOs gain a better understanding of where the board’s level of cybersecurity lies. These meetings provide a forum where board directors can relay their individual concerns about cybersecurity. CIOs also get the chance to inform board directors about the latest trends and happenings in the world of cybersecurity and how it could affect their company and their industry.

As the relationship between a CIO and the board grows, the CEO can demonstrate to the board how cybersecurity efforts can increase productivity and reduce costs. We are moving into an age of modern governance and boards need the expertise of CIOs about software programs and processes where the company can make the best use of technology as they pursue speed, agility, and innovation.

CIOs have a role in helping boards see the scope of cybersecurity including how it relates to digital systems throughout the company; how it relates to their customers; and how it relates to the bottom line.

CIOs are a major asset in helping boards with their oversight responsibilities as they pertain to cybersecurity. Boards can get a first-hand account on how the CIO is leading a team to mitigate various risks including third-party risks like outsourced tasks and vendors. A strong relationship between the CIO and the board will ensure that the CIO is on the same page with the board related to their risk tolerance and risk appetite.

A Modern Approach to Cybersecurity Calls for Modern Board Management Software

BoardEffect board management software is the modern software platform that’s designed for boards to meet the current and future needs of their companies. CIOs can use the highly-secure platform to see how they can tightly integrate cybersecurity efforts with their overall corporate strategy. Boards will learn exactly how the CIO’s team is working to mitigate cyber risks which will make the board’s oversight of cyber issues more effective. The relationship between board directors and the CIO will also ensure that the board is allocating the right amount of money (not too little or too much) towards cybersecurity. Finally, the CIO relationship with the board means that boards will have a better idea about how their investment in technology compares with their competitors and the industry benchmark. Overall, the addition of a proactive, expert CIO combined with BoardEffect board management software is a team that can’t be beat.

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