Aligning Security Strategy With Business Goals

Security dominated the headlines in 2020, making it a big focus for businesses in 2021. It is important to align business security strategy with business goals for max efficiency.

With all the talk of cybersecurity and information security and application security and misconfigurations and data breaches and cyberattacks in the last year, many businesses are putting a bigger focus on security in 2021. While this is positive, determining a security strategy that aligns with business goals is really important. The business can’t survive without the security, but security can run a business down if not done properly. 

Aligning security strategy with business goals is important for a variety of reasons. One, it’s the job of security to ensure the business remains safe and protected, which aligns with the business goal of actually staying in business. Two, when security and business strategy align, it helps the business run smoothly and efficiently with few or limited problems. Three, the business needs to remain in compliance, which means that security has to fall within regulations. If it doesn’t, then there’s no business. Security is an integral part of every business and should be treated as such.

Cybersecurity leaders should sit down with other department heads and determine what information needs to be stored, who needs access to which systems, what needs to be protected from the broad internet, etc. When department heads sit down and discuss their needs, then security can formulate a plan based around those needs. 

During the planning meetings around security strategy, security and technological leaders need to be able to communicate clearly and candidly with those outside their department. They should be able to explain processes and what certain projects are supposed to do in a way that everyone understands, which means not a lot of techy jargon that most people don’t know. When you can clearly communicate with others and make them feel heard in the process, everyone wins. People tend to get uncomfortable when they don’t understand, so being able to talk to them in a way they understand is important.

The goal of any business is to have security strategies align with business goals, it’s what keeps the business on track. The problem is that they don’t always effectively align, but the reason is not what you might think. It’s not personality conflicts or communication problems. The biggest issue is budget. Cybersecurity budgets are often far short of what is actually needed, when the security strategy is planned out separately from business goals. That’s where the disconnect is, and also why communication and inclusion of security as part of the business strategy is so crucial.

Security is a major pain point for pretty much every business today. It’s often misunderstood and put to the side, but that simply cannot happen anymore. Businesses have to adopt and include security every step of the way, but they also have to make money. This is why it is so important to align security strategy with business goals. When everything is moving in the same direction, businesses overcome obstacles and remain profitable.

About the Author

Pieter VanIperen, Managing Partner of PWV Consultants, leads a boutique group of industry leaders and influencers from the digital tech, security and design industries that acts as trusted technical partners for many Fortune 500 companies, high-visibility startups, universities, defense agencies, and NGOs. He is a 20-year software engineering veteran, who founded or co-founder several companies. He acts as a trusted advisor and mentor to numerous early stage startups, and has held the titles of software and software security executive, consultant and professor. His expert consulting and advisory work spans several industries in finance, media, medical tech, and defense contracting. Has also authored the highly influential precursor HAZL (jADE) programming language.

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