“Non-executive directors have a responsibility to understand cyber security risks” urges AXELOS

Non-executive directors have a responsibility to understand cyber security risks and resilience in order to best protect the interests of their business. That’s the view espoused by AXELOS Global Best Practice in a new discussion paper.

In the paper, AXELOS calls for more training on cyber security risks and resilience for non-executive directors on company Boards. ‘Mind the Information Gap: Non-Executive Directors and Professional Development’ identifies that non-executive directors on audit and risk committees are in a unique position to improve the resilience of their companies, but asserts that many may not currently have access to the training and skills necessary in order to do so.

Nick Wilding, head of cyber resilience Best Practice at AXELOS, stated: “Some organisations can be complacent about cyber risk, believing that ‘We’re not a target. We’re too small and don’t have anything of value to a hacker.’ The reality is that everyone in a business needs to be aware of cyber security risks and resilience strategies, but particularly those in senior roles.”

Wilding added: “Companies need to ensure that their Board members are able to learn about these issues. This is the best way to ensure that a company is as prepared as possible for any incident or attack.”

Nick Wilding: head of cyber resilience Best Practice at AXELOS

Nick Wilding: head of cyber resilience Best Practice at AXELOS

Professional development strategy for senior executives

The discussion paper recommends that companies introduce a professional development strategy for senior executives designed to address this lack of understanding of cyber security issues at Board level. This will help Board members build cyber security risks into a broader understanding of their organisation’s ‘risk appetite’. It will also ensure that they have the capacity to understand and question audit, risk and compliance reports that are provided by the organisation.

In addition, AXELOS also argues that, as a consequence of this better understanding, strong relationships between specific Board members and key figures from the business – such as the CIO, CISO and risk director – will be formed, in turn ensuring that cyber security issues have a ‘champion’ at Board level.

In conclusion, Wilding explained: “Ahead of the launch of the new AXELOS Cyber Resilience Best Practice portfolio later this year, our new discussion paper demonstrates how important it is that everyone – including those at Board level – in an organisation is equipped to deal with a cyber security incident. Companies must improve their resilience. This can only happen if Board members are engaged and informed.”

*The new discussion paper can be found on the AXELOS website: www.axelos.com/case-studies-and-white-papers/mind-the-information-gap

**AXELOS was formed in 2013 to promote and grow the Global Best Practice portfolio, including ITIL, PRINCE2 and the other PPM products used across organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors within more than 150 countries worldwide.
 
AXELOS has an ambitious programme of investment for developing innovative new solutions and stimulating the growth of a vibrant, open and international ecosystem of training, consultancy and examination organisations.
 
Forthcoming developments include the aforementioned launch of a Cyber Resilience Best Practice portfolio, PRINCE2 Agile, the ITIL Practitioner qualification and its first-ever Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for practitioners.

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