It’s not news that cybersecurity is now a board-level imperative. But with all the talk about that, here’s something we don’t talk about enough: board directors and other senior executives might know they need to have these conversations, but in many cases are still struggling with how to have them in a productive way, especially if they aren’t technical or haven’t spent any real time in a technology role.
I distinctly remember discussing this topic at a conference in 2022 with Shamla Naidoo, Head of Cloud Strategy here at Netskope, and Homaira Akabari, CEO and Founder of AKnowledge Partners. Both Shamla and Homaira are public board directors, and both are deeply respected as cybersecurity experts. They didn’t know each other well at the time, but they both identified the exact same need almost right away in the conversation: a resource—a true, all-in-one-place resource—that would help lay out and explain the essentials that boards and corporate executives need to understand to keep their organization’s data and users safe in a succinct, valuable manner. They didn’t want to “dumb it down”; they wanted to help board members and C-suite executives who admittedly struggle to have meaningful conversations about cybersecurity, where basic terms and concepts were not well understood or had variable interpretations, leading to meetings with senior technical staff that didn’t produce the right planning or outcomes.
It was clear from hundreds of conversations with peers and fellow board members that this idea “had legs”. And that’s why today we’re very excited to share with you a new book, The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained.
The book is exactly what it says it is: the essentials, clearly explained. Some of the key topics covered include:
- Building a cybersecurity knowledge base
- Understanding threats and attackers, and how they create risks
- Identifying and addressing cybersecurity risk
- Optimizing a cybersecurity portfolio
- Measuring efficacy and maturity
It’s amazing to see what Shamla and Homaira have accomplished with this short and concise, yet useful book, providing board members with the foundational cybersecurity knowledge that will help them to probe deeply and engage in meaningful risk discussions of their digital journeys. From my perspective, this book helps to bring greater clarity to our community by outlining a clear explanation of the cybersecurity landscape that effectively organizes the topic, provides a coherent structure, and lays the groundwork for future learning. I’m confident in saying, after decades as a practitioner, having been through numerous challenging conversations with board-level executives, and taking on my first board role earlier this year, there is no other all-in-one resource quite like it. It is not only an essential resource for board members, but for everyone in the C-suite, including CIOs and CISOs, offering the opportunity to create more constructive dialogues about strategic cybersecurity risks.
If you’d like to read the book, you can get a copy here. And if you’d like to hear the authors discuss the book, please listen to this podcast episode moderated by Steve Weber. Additionally, Shamla and Homaira will be presenting at SASE Week 2023 with a conversation moderated by Peter High on Tuesday, September 26, register here.