The digital transformation of the global business landscape has ushered in unparalleled benefits, but it has also introduced multifaceted cyber threats.
With everything from financial records to intellectual property at risk, understanding responsibility in cyber security is no longer just an IT concern—it’s a company-wide imperative.
Let’s take a closer look at the layers of responsibility and how companies can best protect themselves.
Who Is Responsible For Cyber Security In A Company?
At first glance, one might assume the IT department solely holds the mantle of cyber security.
While they do play a fundamental role, the truth is more nuanced.
Responsibility spans from the boardroom, where strategic decisions about cyber security budgets and priorities are made, to every individual who accesses company data.
Is Cybersecurity The Responsibility Of All Employees?
Every employee in a company has a role to play in maintaining cyber security. This is because a significant portion of cyber breaches can be attributed to human error.
Every employee, regardless of their role, can be considered a potential vulnerability or a first line of defence.
A sales executive accessing company emails on public Wi-Fi or an HR representative storing employee details without adequate encryption can unintentionally expose the company to breaches.
For this reason, many companies are investing in regular training programmes, ensuring that all employees are aware of potential threats like phishing scams, ransomware, and social engineering tactics.
Who Should Be In Charge Of Cyber Security?
While the responsibility for cyber security is shared across an organisation, it’s crucial to have designated professionals who specialise in this domain.
Typically, larger companies might have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) who oversees the entire cyber security strategy.
Under the CISO, there would be a team of IT professionals who manage day-to-day operations, conduct regular security assessments, and implement necessary security measures.
In smaller companies without the resources for a full-fledged cyber security department, a dedicated IT manager or an external consultant might take on this pivotal role.
Furthermore, it’s the duty of senior management and board members to set the tone, emphasising the importance of cyber security, allocating appropriate resources, and ensuring it’s ingrained in the company culture.
The Risks Of Managing Cyber Security In-House
Managing cyber security internally can offer a company greater control over its data and security practices. However, it also presents a unique set of challenges and risks:
- Limited Expertise: Cyber security is a vast and ever-evolving field. Maintaining an in-house team means the company must ensure that this team remains up-to-date with the latest threats and countermeasures.
There’s a risk that in-house teams, especially in smaller companies, might not possess the broad expertise required to tackle all potential threats.
- Resource Constraints: A dedicated cyber security team requires significant financial resources, not only for salaries but also for ongoing training, tools, and technologies.
For some companies, the costs of maintaining an in-house team can be prohibitive.
- Potential for Complacency: An internal team that has been with the company for a long time might develop blind spots or become complacent, especially if they haven’t encountered significant security issues for a while.
This could lead to overlooked vulnerabilities.
- Scalability Issues: As a company grows, its cyber security needs will evolve.
An in-house team might struggle to scale rapidly in response to the company’s expansion or a sudden increase in threat levels.
- Lack of Third-Party Perspective: Sometimes, an external viewpoint can identify vulnerabilities that internal teams might miss.
In-house teams might be too close to the system, making it challenging to see potential weaknesses.
- Continuity Concerns: If key members of an in-house cyber security team leave the company, it could lead to gaps in knowledge and capability.
This is especially problematic if the departing members were responsible for specific, crucial areas of the cyber security infrastructure.
Should I Outsource My Cyber Security?
While outsourcing cyber security offers numerous benefits, it’s crucial to ensure that third-party vendors adhere to the same, if not stricter, security protocols as the company.
Vendor risk management is becoming a focal point, as even a small lapse in a third-party system can compromise the primary organisation.
Companies choosing to outsource should ensure they have stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and regular audits to maintain the desired security posture.
Further reading: The Best Practices For Business Cyber Security
Our Final Word
Cyber security is a dynamic field, continuously evolving in response to emerging threats and technological advancements.
While technology and protocols are vital, the human element remains both the weakest link and the strongest ally.
Empowering every individual in the company with the knowledge and fostering a culture of shared responsibility is the key to a resilient cyber defence.
In tandem, the synergy of dedicated professionals, advanced tools, and informed employees creates a formidable shield against the ever-growing cyber challenges of our digital age.
At Flotek, we understand the importance of robust cyber security, and many businesses have chosen to place their safety in our hands.