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Imagine a scenario where all your hard work, investments, and time dedicated to growing your business are on the brink of being jeopardized. The threat doesn’t come from a competitor or market downturn but from a potential failure in an overburdened IT department. If you were exposed to such a significant risk, wouldn’t you want someone to raise the alarm?

This article serves as a wake-up call.

Over the past several years, the risks associated with cybersecurity attacks have escalated alarmingly. They are no longer distant, low-probability hazards that result in minor inconveniences.

Today, businesses of all sizes and across various industries are falling victim to cyberattacks, leading to staggering financial losses, substantial damage to their reputation, and a loss of customer trust. It’s a catastrophic event for some unfortunate companies that ends their business altogether. For others, it’s a financial disaster that can haunt them for years, affecting profits and revenue.

Despite the growing threat, too many CEOs and small business owners are still delegating crucial decisions regarding risk tolerance and compliance policies to their IT department. These decisions should no longer be left solely in their hands.

Consider this scenario:

You have an employee who consistently refuses to adhere to strict data security and password policies, neglects cybersecurity awareness training, and exposes your company to cyber-attack risks and compliance violations.

Should your IT manager act? Should they reprimand or terminate the employee?

Is it their responsibility to manage employee behavior concerning company data and devices? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, when was the last time you had a conversation with them to address this issue and provide guidance on handling it? Chances are, it’s either never happened or occurred long ago.

Herein lies the problem.

Most CEOs would agree that making such decisions should not be the IT department’s role. Yet, many of these same CEOs leave it entirely to the IT department to handle such situations and decide what is allowed, what isn’t, and how much risk should be tolerated.

Worse yet, many CEOs know they should have these policies to safeguard their company from compromise or risk. And it’s not necessarily the IT person’s job to determine what should or should not be allowed. That responsibility rests with you as the CEO.

Here’s another example:

Many companies invest in cyber liability, ransomware, or crime insurance policies to mitigate the financial impact of a cyber-attack. These policies cover the exorbitant legal, IT, and related costs during such events.

However, our experience shows that most insurance agents and brokers do not fully understand or convey to CEOs the IT requirements to secure such policies. Consequently, they often fail to advise clients to collaborate with their internal IT team to ensure the right protocols are in place. This oversight can lead to coverage denial due to non-compliance with policy requirements.

The bottom line

When a cyber event occurs, and the insurance claim is denied, who is to blame? The insurance agent for not providing adequate guidance? Your IT department for not implementing protocols they were not properly informed about? Ultimately, the responsibility falls on your shoulders, which is why, as the CEO, you must ensure that decisions impacting your organization’s risk are well-informed, rather than default choices.

Certainly, a reputable IT company will raise these issues and offer guidance, but most are primarily focused on maintaining system functionality and may not prioritize consulting their clients on enterprise risk and legal compliance.

If you want to ensure that your organization is genuinely prepared for and protected against the aftermath of a cyber-attack, we invite you to schedule a private consultation with one of our advisors to discuss your concerns. This consultation is free of charge and has the potential to provide valuable insights and solutions for your business. To get started, click here to schedule your consultation today.