Cybersecurity

Define Cybersecurity Initiatives That Align with Business Goals

Explore key methodologies for aligning cybersecurity initiatives with business goals. Discover actionable steps and examples to identify business drivers.

6 min read
define cybersecurity initiatives aligned with business goals mandos nikoloz kokhreidze

Have you ever led a security initiative only to discover it’s steering away from your business's core objectives?

Many security leaders fail during implementation of security initiatives. In a rush to innovate and address new threats, they will buy the tools and spend FTE hours on deployment. Only to realize that the solution does not align with the strategic business goals. This disconnect creates extra liabilities for security teams. Additionally, it leaves CISOs struggling to justify the budget spend. As a result, business concerns remain unaddressed.

Root cause? Not identifying the business objectives before jumping into solutions.

To bridge this gap, let’s explore a methodology that ensures alignment with strategic business objectives.

In this article, I will share the steps to help you identify business drivers for cybersecurity initiatives. You will learn where to seek those with scenarios, examples and checklists. As a result you can become a trusted business partner for your organization.

Review Strategic Plan

Start from the top. Your organization's strategic plan provides valuable insights into its direction.

Analyze the plan to identify key business objectives that can be supported by security initiatives.

📆
Review business strategic plan at least twice a year to keep security objectives aligned with business goals.

Scenario: Per strategic plan brick-and-mortar retailer is transitioning to e-commerce. An e-commerce platform needs secure transactions and strong cybersecurity measures.

Business Driver: Digital transformation & innovation.

Security Initiative: Encrypted transactions for e-commerce platform.

Actions to Take:

Hold Stakeholder Meeting

Engaging with other leaders is essential for understanding the business context.

Schedule regular catchups to gain insights and build relationships across the organization. Strong relationships foster trust, and trust leads to success.

💬
Regular dialogue with stakeholders keeps security efforts relevant and integrated.

Scenario: Engineering department is working on a proprietary algorithm for automating sales operations. If the algorithm gets exposed, competitors will take advantage of it and R&D investments will be lost.

Business Driver: Intellectual property protection.

Security Initiative: Data leakage prevention for the engineering team.

Actions to Take:

Customer Interactions

Your customers can be a goldmine for identifying pain points and growth opportunities.

Review customer feedback, queries, and complaints related to security and compliance. Patterns may emerge, helping you pinpoint critical business drivers.

🎯
Customer feedback is invaluable for shaping security initiatives that meet market demands.

Scenario: Customers of a cloud service provider need to adhere to the new regulation. The regulation requires them to control encryption keys. If customers do not follow the regulation, they might lose a license to operate.

Business Driver: Customer demand & expectations.

Security Initiative: Develop a bring-your-own-key encryption feature.

Actions to Take:

Regulatory Landscape

As threats and cybersecurity risks evolve, so do regulations, albeit at a slower pace.

Keep an eye on new or changing regulations that might require security adjustments. By doing so you will avert risks of compliance issues and hefty fines.

⚖️
Stay proactive with compliance to avoid fines, maintain trust and enable business continuity.

Scenario: The European arm of your organization is preparing for DORA compliance. It requires having regular security tests for your organization.

Business Driver: Regulatory compliance.

Security Initiative: Engage Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to provide regular penetration testing services.

Actions to Take:

Competitor Analysis

Competitors might introduce security measures giving them a business advantage over your organization.

Observe what security measures competitors are implementing. This could indicate their customer expectations or new ways for achieving security-driven growth.

🔎
Understanding competitors’ security measures can reveal gaps and opportunities in your own strategy.

Scenario: A competitor in online collaboration business is rolling out encrypted video calls. This enables customer teams to safely collaborate on sensitive projects. Enterprise customers will be more interested in engaging with a competitor.

Business Driver: Revenue protection & growth.

Security Initiative: Work with engineering teams to design encrypted video calls and messaging feature.

Actions to Take:

Internal Data Analysis

Data is the king. Use data analytics to discover areas of frequent security incidents or automation opportunities.

Identify and prioritize risks based on their impact on business operations.

📊
Use data analytics not just to respond to incidents, but to prevent them and drive strategy.

Scenario: A manufacturer has noticed uptick in quarantined malware on their OT environment. If the future attacks are successful, they might need to halt operations. Downtime of a few hours can lead to millions in financial losses. (See example for Clorox).

Business Driver: Operational continuity.

Security Initiative: OT network segmentation and anti-ransomware solution deployment.

Actions to Take:

Feedback from Frontline Teams

Frontline teams, including IT, sales, and customer service, often understand security needs and operational issues.

Listening to their feedback can help identify essential business drivers.

🗣️
Frontline feedback is a goldmine for actionable security improvements.

Scenario: Employees have been contacting IT about forgotten passwords. This results in operational overhead for IT support and loss of access for business.

Business Driver: Business continuity

Security Initiative: Install a central password management solution allowing employees to secure store passwords. Employees will have to remember a single password instead of many.

Actions to Take:

Conclusion

Successful cybersecurity initiatives are those that align with your business objectives. By following the proactive steps, you can transition from a mere defender against threats to a strategic business enabler and define business-driven initiatives. Reflect on these strategies, identify your business drivers, and take action. Doing so will ensure your efforts contribute to the overarching goals and growth of your organization.

Long read for this week, let's see what the next one brings.

P.S.: If this content resonates with you, consider following me on LinkedIn and X.

Nikoloz


Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Work with Me - Let's discuss your cybersecurity strategy or ask me anything about cybersecurity in 15 minutes.
  2. Solve a Cybersecurity Challenge - Explore services I can offer.
  3. Looking for something different? Reach out.

Share This Post

Check out these related posts

The CISO Role is Becoming Impossible - Here is How to Succeed

  • Nikoloz Kokhreidze
by Nikoloz Kokhreidze | | 6 min read

Assessing the Security Risks of an AI Solution During Procurement

  • Nikoloz Kokhreidze
by Nikoloz Kokhreidze | | 6 min read

The Best LLM for Cyber Threat Intelligence: OpenAI, Anthropic, Groq

  • Nikoloz Kokhreidze
by Nikoloz Kokhreidze | | 21 min read