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Cybersecurity is a C-Suite Issue--Take the Nutanix Executive Cybersecurity Masterclass 

By EJ Bodnar

Cybercrime has reached innumerable proportions across the globe.  In headlines every day, there are stories about cyberattacks that have wreaked havoc on businesses, organizations, and individuals. The global cost of cybercrime has now reached well over $600 billion, or about 0.8%of the global GDP.  No company, organization, industry, individual, or country is immune to cybercrime.

Nutanix is proud to have worked with hundreds of c-level and senior business executives in addressing their most pressing IT and business challenges, including those related to Cybersecurity.  Masterclass is an exclusive educational forum intended for executives and Nutanix is excited to offer a new Masterclass on Cybersecurity.  This Cybersecurity Masterclass discusses how to implement an effective cybersecurity strategy and is taught by experienced cybersecurity executives and leading industry experts.  If you are interested in attending a Masterclass on Cybersecurity or other executive topics, you can find upcoming Masterclasses here.

Cybersecurity is becoming even more critical with the continuing technological advancements in Cloud, IOT, and 5G. The financial losses, reputation, brand damage, legal exposure, and even national security concerns mandate that cybersecurity receives the highest level of attention at the C-suite and senior business executive levels.  Therefore, while Cybersecurity has historically been treated as a technical issue primarily within the domain of the IT department, cybersecurity priorities have been critically elevated to the C-suite.

Among the key drivers fueling the greatest impact are the innovations, and developments changing the risk attack surfaces in 5G, the explosion of IoT devices, the dramatic rise in data capture, the development of blockchain, and the explosion of AI and ML across applications and the cloud. Even as we welcome more intelligent smartphones with 5G, we will find that as these devices become more productive they also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

We also know that there is an explosion of mini-applications today running on an increasing amount of microservices and containers. Along with core developments in blockchain, it drives the replication of data in many instances, which is an opportunity for efficiency, but also opens the door to faster spreading risks in some cases.

So, with more technology comes more data and, therefore, more risk. This issue is especially problematic when we look at the legacy applications that will interact with these new wider data streams.

Asking whether their organization can ever get to a point where they are in control of cybersecurity issues, some organizations may feel like they are just “chasing phantoms,” that is, running after an endless loop that flies away. As much as companies invest in security protection layers, cybercriminals are constantly pushing against vulnerabilities to up level the speed and damage of their attacks.

At this point many enterprises still have legacy systems designed when security was not an inherent part of systems design. Organizations need to remember that cyberattackers are typically using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to target aging technology deployments where security was “bolted on” as an afterthought.

It is important to understand why organizations and the C-suite need to worry about cyberattacks in the first place. It is because a cyber “event” of any kind often has a negative impact upon the financial status, operational abilities, and the reputation of the company. 

To handle cybersecurity strategy competently, companies need to think about developing a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy. This encompasses everything from crisis management, to incident response and control, and internal and external communications.  It also straddles areas including governance and security awareness, data integration and protection, and areas relating to compliance from a legal and regulatory point of view.

When you think about cyber resilience holistically, an organization quickly realizes that the breadth of the task involved is significantly more than any one single person or even just the IT department can effectively handle.  The entire organization, supported fully by the C-suite, needs to be resourceful and ready to adapt to implement a successful cybersecurity strategy.  

As tough as the job of the CISO and CIO is and as far-reaching and damaging that the impact of cyberattacks are, it is important to remain diligent and hopeful in the developments of cybersecurity strategies. Board-level involvement is a promising new trend in cyber resilience programs and initiatives. In addition, CISOs and CIOs will have an increasingly engaged and involved set of other C-suite professionals to draw upon for support.

Many members of the C-suite now want to know how an organization’s resilience strategy compares with that of its competitors, customers, and partners. Boards have now been increasing support for security by design engineering initiatives that ensure resilience are baked-in and not just “bolted-on” as an afterthought. 

One of the core responsibilities of the CISO, CIO, and the wider C-suite and Board is to examine the entire organization’s operational base to assess what the real threats to the company actually are, meaning in terms of the future business impact that could be felt as the result of an attack. 

There is clearly a need for organizations, including the C-suite, to prepare their organizations internally for the next age of business with a new strategic outlook on resilience and cybersecurity. This will help companies better prepare strategic cybersecurity imperatives. Nutanix is proud to offer a free Masterclass on Cybersecurity for the C-suite.  

This Masterclass discusses topics including the tools needed to build, deliver, and implement an effective cybersecurity strategy; how to obtain executive and board-level consensus around the proposed strategy; and how to develop an associated “cyber playbook” to respond to security incidents.  If you are interested in attending a Masterclass on Cybersecurity, you can find upcoming Masterclasses here.

EJ Bodnar is the Global CXO Program Leader at Nutanix and is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s Executive Master of Science in Technology Management Program with a Degree in Cybersecurity.

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