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How IT managers can sell cybersecurity to business owners

There's more to cybersecurity than devices and services; it should be intertwined with business operations. But to make that happen, IT managers must speak the business owner's language.

Cybersecurity is often a puzzle for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). It's a challenging subject for business owners and executives who are unfamiliar with data protection, and leaders who are intimidated by it may end up overlooking vulnerabilities within their companies.

Cybersecurity shouldn’t be thought of as necessary evil, nor as an ever-growing cost center that returns little in the form of measurable value. Getting security right is a difficult undertaking, but it's crucial to protecting small and midsize businesses from cyber threats and securing customer data. It's far too big a problem for small businesses to ignore, writes The Atlantic. And it's up to IT managers help inform business owners' mindsets.

Selling cybersecurity 400.jpgA lack of understanding among business leaders often hinders IT managers from properly securing systems and getting the funding, support, and direction needed to protect company assets and intellectual property. However, IT managers might share the blame; IT staff can’t always speak the executives’ language, the vernacular of which is built upon concepts of costs, profits, and losses—considerations often regarded as outside the realm of IT.

IT managers need to translate the language of cybersecurity into something that the business owner can comprehend. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Actions speak louder than words

Many business owners put cybersecurity on the back burner to delay the cost of implementing a strong security plan. But procrastination can run up the tab even further, as a breach can cause irreversible damage, no matter the business's size. On average, it costs an SMB around $38,000 to recover from a breach, according to a Kaspersky Lab report. And 34% of breaches cause downtime, which Kaspersky estimates results in an average loss of $66,000.

Simply telling the business owner that cybersecurity is important may not have much of an effect. However, using the experiences of other SMBs as examples and citing stats like those mentioned above is likely to get their attention.

Cybersecurity requires the right tools

Some CEOs think that cybersecurity is all about active response, which translates to hours spent keeping SMBs secure. However, IT staffs also need to be equipped with passive tools to help them perform their duties. No business would hire a security guard and not spend money on locks, alarms, and fences.

Cybersecurity is a way of doing business

There's more to cybersecurity than devices and services. Security must be intertwined with business operations. Everyone who interacts with sensitive information—whether IT staff or end user—needs to be properly trained in how to handle it.

Threats come from all directions

Many executives focus mainly on threats to IT security come from the outside—hackers looking to compromise systems. But that ignores inside threats and compromises caused by unpatched systems or malware incursions. Cybersecurity must take a holistic approach that identifies all possible threat vectors and reacts to each threat accordingly.

Risk management and cybersecurity go hand in hand

Many executives focus on risk management but leave cybersecurity out of the equation. Loss of data services or proprietary information must be added to the concept of risk and calculated accordingly.

By acknowledging these points and taking action, IT managers at SMBs can change management's mindset and create an environment where cybersecurity rates as highly as any other business concern. It all comes down to speaking the right language and backing that language up with facts that demonstrate the benefits cybersecurity brings to any business.

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About the Author

RobertChecketts

Robert has over 25+ years of IT Marketing and Product Management leadership experience spanning country, Regional and WW organizations. Robert is a marketing executive with extensive experience in field marketing, channel marketing and product marketing on a global basis and is driven to deliver SMB’s end-to-end affordable infrastructure that’s secure from the start, optimized for every workload, packaged for many consumption models, ready to scale, and easy to manage.