Netskope named a Leader in the 2024 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge. Get the report

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Press Release

Announcing ‘The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained’

Board directors, Homaira Akbari and Shamla Naidoo, create an indispensable cybersecurity reference book for fellow board directors and senior executives

SANTA CLARA, Calif., and DALLAS, Tex. – September 5, 2023Netskope, a leader in Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), and AKnowledge Partners, a global advisory firm, today announced the publication of The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained. As a concise, single volume and comprehensive primer on cybersecurity, this book makes abstract and highly technical concepts usefully practical for public, private, and not-for-profit company board members and C-level executives.

In the past decade, cybersecurity has become a board-level imperative. However, cybersecurity concepts continue to challenge board directors who may not be as familiar with cybersecurity compared to other disciplines such as finance, sales, and human capital management. In a recent Harvard Business Review study examining board-level interactions specific to the topic, less than 70% of board members said they see eye-to-eye with their chief information security officers (CISOs), fewer than half (47%) of members serve on boards that interact with their CISOs regularly, and almost a third of directors only see their CISOs at board presentations[1].

In The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained, longtime cybersecurity experts and board directors Homaira Akbari and Shamla Naidoo take a pragmatic approach, providing a clear explanation of the cybersecurity landscape that effectively organizes the topic as a series of priority concepts that enable better dialogue with security practitioners and lay the groundwork for future learning. The authors draw on their deep knowledge of the field and extensive experience working with boards of directors of large and small companies.

“Every board director knows they need to become more knowledgeable about cybersecurity. But because cybersecurity knowledge among board directors varies widely, board-level cybersecurity discussions are often frustrating for all parties involved,” said Homaira Akbari. “Our book aims to bridge the gap between cybersecurity and board governance, providing board directors and stakeholders of all entity sizes with a model of what cybersecurity operators do, why they do it, and how they accomplish their objectives for mitigating risk.”

“We believe that when board directors combine their professional and life experience with the knowledge in this book, they will be much better equipped to discharge their fiduciary responsibility for supervising cybersecurity risks,” said Shamla Naidoo. “Board directors will know what good cybersecurity governance looks like, including cyber risks, metrics, understanding threats, and investing in effective security for our digital world.”

To download your copy of The Cyber Savvy Boardroom: Essentials Explained, visit here.

To hear more about the impetus for writing this book and how it addresses evolving cybersecurity trends from the book’s authors, Homaira Akbari and Shamla Naidoo, listen to the podcast.

SUPPORTING QUOTES

“Cybersecurity is definitely a hot topic for boards of directors everywhere. The Cyber Savvy Boardroom is a must-read about the risks and rewards of cybersecurity.”

— Ana Botín, Executive Chair, Santander Group

“This book should be read at least once by each board of directors to get a full view of cybersecurity and how organizations should be protected. On the basis of these focused explanations, all board members can reach out to their CISO and expect to fully understand the risk in their business.”

— Bernard Gavgani, Group CIO, BNP Paribas

“Cybersecurity knowledge is now essential at the board level, especially for risk management. This book therefore is a must read. It translates a complicated topic with many nuances into easily understood concepts that help every board director feel better prepared.”

— John Thompson, Partner, Lightspeed Ventures, and former Chair, Microsoft

“Much has been written about cybersecurity. But this excellent, thoughtful and practical book puts the issues in proper perspective. A good read for any board member.”

— Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman, President and CEO, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

About the Authors

Homaira Akbari is an award-winning technology leader with a focus on cybersecurity, IoT and AI. She has spent 12+ years of her career managing P&L and 12+ years in strategic and M&A advisory roles to corporations and private equity. She was President and CEO of SkyBitz Inc., COO of Liberty Media – TruePosition, head of EMEA partner specialist sales of Microsoft and held senior management roles at Thales. She is currently CEO of AKnowledge Partners and serves on several large publicly traded companies’ boards directors. She holds a Ph.D. in particle physics from Tufts University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. She is a faculty member of cybersecurity at DCRO Risk Governance Institute.

Shamla Naidoo is a technologist, innovator, economist, law professor, and business leader with decades of experience in cybersecurity. She currently serves as a non-executive director for multiple domestic and international companies, Head of Cloud Strategy for Netskope, and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Previously she was global CISO and Head of Information Technology Risk at IBM. Applying her experience in the healthcare, finance, hospitality, energy, and manufacturing sectors, Shamla advises governments and industry on how to embrace innovation while managing risk. She has led cybersecurity programs for some of the most targeted companies in the world and has worked effectively with boards in many industries.

About Netskope

Netskope, a global SASE leader, helps organizations apply zero trust principles and AI/ML innovations to protect data and defend against cyber threats. Fast and easy to use, the Netskope platform provides optimized access and real-time security for people, devices, and data anywhere they go. Netskope helps customers reduce risk, accelerate performance, and get unrivaled visibility into any cloud, web, and private application activity. Thousands of customers trust Netskope and its powerful NewEdge network to address evolving threats, new risks, technology shifts, organizational and network changes, and new regulatory requirements. Learn how Netskope helps customers be ready for anything on their SASE journey, visit netskope.com.

About AKnowledge Partners, LLC

AKnowledge Partners, LLC, is a global advisory firm providing high-impact consultative strategies and advice to the world’s leading executives, Fortune 1000 companies and private equity firms. AKnowledge Partners services have guided clients in digital transformation and technology sectors of Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Energy Transition, and FinTech. For additional information, visit www.aknowledge.us.


[1] Milică, Lucia and Pearlson, Dr. Keri, “Boards Are Having the Wrong Conversations About Cybersecurity”, Harvard Business Review, May 2, 2023, https://hbr.org/2023/05/boards-are-having-the-wrong-conversations-about-cybersecurity