How open communications in IT can curtail common security threats

How open communications in IT can curtail common security threats

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Corporate communication has to be as clear and as open as possible, since no amount of technology can correct faulty discourse. Metricstream’s Head of Corporate Engineering Ajith Gopalakrishnan explains why discussions are paramount for success.

CIO_Q and A

The Enterprisers Project (TEP): Why should tech-focused leaders prioritize open communication?

Gopalakrishnan: Technology-focused leaders, including CIOs and CTOs, should make communication a top priority. Unfortunately, senior technology leadership must deal with an added disadvantage that their audience may not always fully comprehend a technology focus. As a result, open communication makes this process more efficient by providing opportunities for employees and customers to get clarification from technology leaders in an open forum. Important messages, especially the ones that have a technology essence, are best understood in a quick question and answer session. With virtual workplaces being a common practice, an organization's ability to introduce instant messaging and video conferences will be critical for efficient communication.

Additionally, internal discussion forums and work-based social media will continue to play a larger role in supporting open communication. Leaders that take advantage of these tools will be more successful in getting the right message across.

TEP: How can CTOs and CIOs facilitate smart communication between tech and the rest of the business?

Gopalakrishnan: CTOs and CIOs also face a unique challenge in providing smart communication. This type of communication often carries a larger defined purpose, and therefore is better received, understood, and accepted. Technology needs to supplement a solution to the rest of the business. Tech-focused leaders need to emphasize the larger business focus that includes the technical details. Most business units are more interested in how the technology affects the efficiency of their day-to-day operation. Therefore, smart communication starts with knowing your audience, and with it the most efficient medium through which you can deliver the message. As mentioned earlier, tools like corporate Intranet, instant messaging and social media can be used to direct communication to focused audiences.

TEP: How does communication help and inform corporate security?

Gopalakrishnan: In today’s digital age, understanding cyber-threats and communicating them to your stakeholders are vital and first steps in enhancing enterprise security. The ability to articulate and communicate corporate threats, such as phishing emails or leaks in an organization’s website, starts with effective communication. Employees that are well informed about the possible threats are more capable of better corporate defense. Educating and developing employees and installing a continued communication process where you have the right communication channels available to share information swiftly, are key to improving cybersecurity programs and the day-to-day functions of the enterprise.

TEP: What is the biggest danger tech leaders should avoid when connecting with sales, the front line or other departments?

Gopalakrishnan: The biggest security threat always comes from the unknown. And, we will continue to have those as more and more people have access to technology. Security threats come in many facets, internal and external. External threats are and can be mitigated to a large extent by technology. Having the right security awareness within IT can reduce this vulnerability, however, never completely eliminate it. Corporations' ability to have sustainable BCP and DR solutions is one way to reduce the larger risk to corporations.

The internal risks, however, will need a more defined approach. This is where communication from the technology office and information security training are critical to reducing the probability of an attack. 2020 will see a significant increase in security spend as more and more corporations find a larger presence in the cloud. Data safety and data breaches will see a huge focus and will command considerable spending. I expect large cloud solutions will provide more comprehensive security solutions on their clouds. Also, I anticipate technology leaders' choice of cloud solutions to be largely driven by security and the ability to have a single place that can provide a more complete corporate security program.

TEP: What is the biggest security challenge companies are facing today? And what will it be in 2020?

Gopalakrishnan: Along with cyber-threats, technology-focused leaders are faced with challenges when dealing with their sales teams. Sales, like most other organizations, are focused on their day-to-day operations. Tech leaders, when connecting with their sales teams, need to focus on the message – it needs to be crisp, short, and to point. The message needs to be with a purpose, and if you are bringing about some change to their operation, you need to start with how it will benefit the organization. Change management is critical when connecting with these organizations.

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