How to get your cyber security budget approved by the board

There’s a few ways to improve the approach to the company board that will significantly help to get them onboard with improving cyber security, especially when linking this to risk mitigation.*

1: Get full buy in

Partial board buy in is worthless, aim for full buy in. To do this there's a requirement to ensure that everyone on the board understands the risks. What will happen to them? What will happen to the company? What will be the industry consequence (fines/regulations)?

2. Keep it simple

Too much information is not going to go down well, they will get bored and switch off because they have other things to deal with. If it’s a document, make it no more than two pages, if it’s statistics can you graph them?

3. Physical presence

Stand up in front of the board if you can. This gives you the opportunity to say more (speaking is faster than reading). It will help show emotion, and you can ask them questions, which improves interaction and adds to improving understanding.

4. Research & Plan

Do some research on the board, find out who has an interest and who doesn't. Read previous board papers if you can or ask another colleague. Asking for protection against iPhone risks when the board is all using android may be seen as wasted time (even if everyone in the graphics department is on apple). Find out who gets bored the quickest and focus on them a little more etc.

5. Present Options

Don’t assume the board is going to be wanting to be thinking and researching what the options are, and don’t push an ultimatum. Instead, give them options, everyone likes a few options, and with the board they will always have more on their mind than just what’s being presented regarding cyber security. Make sure you ask for a decision though, and you set up a suitable budget to support your recommendations.

In the end, the best approach often tends to be keeping it simple, quick and focused. If the presentation has gone well, and they want more information they will ask for it and you can deliver more.

At present cyber security is all over the news, and has been for the last few years. It doesn't hurt to mention an incident that is widely known, but don’t dwell on it, focus on breaking the cyber security tasks down into smaller ones and take those steps to improving.

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