Ruby Pope Ruby Pope
Ruby Pope
  • Dec 17, 2019
  • 3 min read
Dec 17, 2019 3 min read

How To Explain Digital Risk To The Board

How To Explain Digital Risk To The Board

To create a successful business continuity strategy, you first have to answer, ‘what are you trying to protect?’. For the vast majority of businesses today, data is the most valuable asset – intrinsically linked to intellectual property, operational stability and brand reputation.

Traditional business continuity plans might have focused solely on the physical security of that data by restricting access into buildings and protecting data centres from fires and flood, but it only takes a motivated hacker minutes to locate and steal millions of records once they’ve found a cyber vulnerability.

That’s where digital risk comes in. Typically categorised as the new risks that have emerged due to digital business processes e.g. cloud storage, email usage or WiFi connections, digital risk neatly encapsulates the complex challenge that businesses face when trying to keep their employees, customers, partners and suppliers safe from cyber threats.

As regulatory requirements such as GDPR continue to put extra pressure and scrutiny on businesses’ data protection and cyber security processes, it’s never been more important for boards to have a robust digital risk protection strategy in place.

What is the likelihood of digital risk impacting my company?

Although cyberattacks are often characterised in the media as a highly advanced and mysterious hacker exploiting complicated vulnerabilities in your computer systems (e.g. programming mistakes or configuration errors), it’s important to realise that these attacks are not always technically sophisticated.

Frequently, an attacker will rely on something basic like users’ habits of reusing passwords on both personal and professional services to gain unauthorised access into a corporate network. From there, it’s very simple for the attacker to exploit the information and applications on your business systems.

Today, the scale and frequency of cyberattacks is forcing businesses to revise their security strategies going forward. In an era of ‘when not if’ when it comes to data breaches, prevention is now key.

What’s at stake if boards don’t act?

As data breaches and ransomware attacks continue to make the headlines, many organisations are reporting that cyber security is a high priority for them. Unfortunately, in many cases there is still rarely a board member specifically tasked with protecting the business from cyberattacks and digital risk.

It’s clear that more action is needed from senior stakeholders to defend against digital risk, so how do you communicate what’s at stake?

Firstly, it’s helpful to outline the costs associated with a cybersecurity breach. Other than the obvious costs of regulatory fines and legal costs (e.g. if customer data has been exposed), and reputational damage that can lead to a long-lasting loss of market share, there are other potential risks that are harder to quantify but can still have a significant impact on profits. To ensure that a similar breach does not occur in the future, there will need to be a thorough breach investigation, often through a third-party to reduce bias.

From there, it’s best practice to provide cyber awareness and governance training for staff to reduce digital risk going forward. Finally, new software and hardware with higher security standards may need to be purchased. That’s not to mention the value of any intellectual property that has been lost or compromised, as well as a rise in insurance premiums for the wider business in the future.

When these associated costs are considered, even a minor lapse in cyber threat monitoring can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. Of course, the faster you can identify and contain a breach, the less costs you accrue. That’s why it’s so essential for businesses to review their processes to minimise the impact of digital risk on their data, assets, applications, systems and devices.

How should businesses respond to digital risk?

With millions of daily interactions between companies, customers, corporate networks and business systems, managing the digital risk of any organisation has become increasingly complex.

To counter the complexity of this challenge, it’s essential to adopt an automation-based approach that can cope with the scale and volume of cyberattacks today. Digital risk protection solutions provide proactive and accurate cyber threat detection that allows you to identify pressing vulnerabilities and take the correct remediation actions before business continuity can be impacted.

You can’t establish a successful digital risk protection strategy if you don’t know what to prioritise and protect. Investing in the best threat detection tools available will enable your business to stay secure and should be a core component of your cyber security strategy.

At Darkbeam, we’ve created a suite of digital risk protection tools to give you cyber threat visibility in seconds, with no manual effort or time spent compiling reports that are out of date by the time they’re completed. If you’d like to know more about the efficiency and cost savings our clients are seeing with Darkbeam, get in touch today at

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