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8 Things CIOs Should Adopt In 2021

2021-01-21 by mohammad ali

CIOs are facing numerous challenges on multiple fronts. Whether it is taking up a more strategic role and driving digital transformation initiatives to success, ensuring consumer privacy and data security, they already have a lot on their plates. Throw in shrinking IT budgets, talent shortfall, and the rising number and complexity of cybersecurity attacks, you can see why it is one of the most stressful job roles in today’s workforce.

In this article, you will learn about eight things CIOs should adopt in 2021.

Flexible Mindset

The pace at which cybersecurity is evolving means CIOs can not afford to be rigid. They need an adaptable mindset which puts them in a much better position to overcome any challenges that come their way. With an adaptable mindset, CIOs can make their organization nimble. CIOs will have to instill that mindset into the organization’s culture. CIOs who have a rigid mindset tend to struggle in adjusting to policies, standards and technologies.

Data-Backed Decision Making

With the cybersecurity landscape changing every year, you need to stay on top of what’s happening in the industry. Which trends are taking off and which ones are dying? Staying informed helps you stay on top of the industry so you can make better decisions. That is why CIOs should invest in government-provided threat intelligence as well as commercial threat intelligence because it gives you visibility into special use cases. When you make decisions based on data you have, you are more likely to protect your business from emerging cybersecurity threats as compared to when you are making decisions based on your gut feelings.

Map Security and Business Strategy

According to Gartner, IT spending dipped7.3% in 2020 and we might see that trend continue as this pandemic continues. With a limited IT budget to play with, CIOs need to be extra cautious about how they spend their IT budgets. Yes, you will have to make some compromises here and there but CIOs need to understand their risk tolerance, security maturity of their organization, and risk exposure so they can make the right trade-off. They need to ensure that it does not impact them badly in the long run. This would only be possible when you align your security and business goals with each other.

Let’s say, you are planning to switch to the best dedicated server hosting to deliver a better experience to your users. Before you do, you need to make sure that it aligns with both your business and cybersecurity goals. Consider the consequences of every decision you make and how it will impact your business in the long run.

Strengthen Human Firewall

Humans are the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain and cybercriminals are fully aware of that. As a CIO, you need to invest heavily to increase the cybersecurity awareness of your employees. Organize training sessions that can help your employees to identify social engineering attacks so they don’t fall victim to such attacks. 

When you strengthen your human firewall, they become your asset because they can identify and report suspicious activity which will help your cybersecurity team to act quickly and minimize the damage done by cybersecurity attacks. Make sure you test the knowledge of employees who have participated in the training sessions by launching mock attacks. It will give you a clear picture of the effectiveness of your cybersecurity training and you can make changes to improve it in the future.

Ensure Transparency

The frequency of cybersecurity attacks and data breaches is at an all-time high. This means that it is no longer about whether your business will become a target or not, it is more about when your business will become a victim of a cybersecurity attack. 

If your organization comes under an attack, CIOs need to lead from the front instead of shying away from the situation. It usually depends on how you react to the situation. Avoid keeping any of your stakeholders in the dark about cybersecurity incidents as it portrays a negative image of your company and shows a lack of trust. If you ensure transparency, you will win the trust and also get higher engagement from stakeholders.

Keep an Eye on your Attack Surface

In the quest to digitally transform their businesses, organizations are adopting multiple technologies simultaneously. Irrespective of which technologies you use, CIOs should ensure that they follow the best practices to secure all these technologies. Spend time understanding the security loopholes present in every technology and how cybercriminals can exploit those vulnerabilities. This will assist you in blocking threats targeting those technologies. You need to discuss and take steps to minimize the risk associated with those technologies.

User-Friendly Tools

Cybersecurity has never been more complex and sophisticated than it is now. The work from home trend coupled with the BYOD trend as well as the influx of IoT devices will add to the complexity. As CIOs, you need to look for ways to simplify things instead of complicating them even more. 

Thankfully, there are many ways you can use to simplify things. Some of them are as follows:

  • Adopt user-friendly tools

  • Hold third party vendors accountable

  • Bridge the cybersecurity skill gap

  • Ensure visibility into all the devices connected to the network

  • Harness the power of the cloud to streamline operations

    Do More With Less

Due to budget constraints, businesses can not afford to purchase dedicated tools for everything. Instead, organizations will look to embrace tools that fulfill multiple purposes. Most businesses already have more tools than they actually need or use. That is why we will see them get rid of some of these tools and stick to a few multi-purpose ones. To do this, they will have to weigh the pros and cons of each and choose wisely. Do your research, conduct proper analysis and prioritize spending on multipurpose tools.  Moreover, CIOs will have to learn to do more with less.

What would you adopt as the CIO in 2021? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Author

mohammad ali

mohammad ali

Mohammad Ali is an experienced digital marketer and a search engine marketing specialist who is currently associated with Branex & HostNoc, as senior digital marketer and brand strategist.

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