Most cybersecurity programs and certifications focus on equipping technical skills. Successful completion of the courses provides specialists who may not be conversant with the bigger picture or technical view of cyber risks. The professionals may be unable to communicate effectively with business stakeholders or executive management regarding organizational risks due to inadequate cyber leadership skills. A cyber leader is not only required to implement high-impact cybersecurity strategies but must also possess interconnected business skills. They include:
- Using cyber approaches to enable business strategies
- Link cybersecurity risks to operational and enterprise risks
- Stakeholder communication and management
- Formulating and keeping track of KPIs, measures, and metrics
- Program oversight, budgeting, and planning
- Financial and operational management
Although cyber leadership is a critical requirement at all organizational levels, qualified cyber leaders and the corresponding management manage and lead a cyber workforce. Cyber leadership is essential to advancing a company’s business and mission strategies. The primary responsibility of a cyber leader is leadership. It sets aside a cyber leader from the technical expectations often associated with other peers.
The most common trait of a cyber leader is efficiently communicating sophisticated technical cybersecurity matters in a way an organization’s C-Suite executives can understand. Cybersecurity focuses on managing security risks, and cyber leaders must demonstrate their ability to articulate recommendations and observations within the context of a company’s risk management program. On the same note, cyber leaders must be capable of championing an organization’s interests in a potentially resource-restrained, contested environment. They must also be comfortable with complexities since cyber leaders are usually relied upon to lead technical and cross-functional business teams.
Cyber leaders also hold critical positions in a company as C-level executives. Some position descriptions emphasize the need for a cyber leader to develop high-level relationships. The relationships and networks must be outside and within an organization. The connections are crucial to solving unprecedented, controversial, unyielding, and complex challenges. In this regard, a cyber leader should possess skills such as the ability to liaise, advocate, interact, and advise. The relationships also form a foundation for developing a sound situational awareness through which companies can formulate strategies for sharing cyber threat intelligence.
A cyber leader in an executive position must also demonstrate an in-depth understanding of a company’s business objectives, strategy policies, and missions. Such an understanding must be within the context of operational risk, strategic planning, statutes, regulations, applicable federal laws, and necessary governing frameworks. A cyber leader is also a vital team leader who ascertains the security of assets, such as intellectual property and develops information, confidential research, and trade secrets.
Moreover, at an interdisciplinary level, cyber leaders assist organizations in translating business requirements into viable technical solutions and provide technical solutions within the context of a company’s business model. It leads, in part, to a company’s ability to establish a proper balance between expenditures incurred in systems security and information technology and operational necessity.
Benefits of Cyber Leadership Training
Cyber leadership training produces cyber leaders who possess numerous transversal core competencies that immensely contribute to global leadership. The benefits of participating in a cyber leadership training program include:
- Extensive, broad skills and knowledge
Strong leadership in organizational cybersecurity requires individuals with diverse skills and broad knowledge. Senior executive-level cyber leaders must recognize a company’s internal workings, such as risk management strategies, business objectives, processes, and assets. They must also comprehend the external factors that influence cybersecurity, including global and regional systems, world events, and multilateral and bilateral relationships. Cyber leadership is also integral to maintaining and strategically leveraging professional skills worldwide.
- Anticipating cybersecurity threats
The nature of a cybersecurity environment requires cyber leaders with an anticipatory mindset. They must be open to new technological changes, trends, and ideas. The technological landscape is accelerating at a rapid pace, resulting in the interconnectedness of skillful management in near-and long-term risks. Anticipating opportunities is essential to maintaining a healthy cybersecurity posture. Robust cyber leadership further calls for anticipating potential impacts of technologies, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence. Cyber leaders must also anticipate the ripple effects of sudden and unexpected changes like merger dissolutions to ensure a company retains a robust cyber resiliency and posture.
- A sharp acumen for probing discernment
Cyber leaders must be capable of differentiating actionable, pertinent information from the background noise. Like global leaders, cyber leaders are often inundated with massive volumes of diverse inputs acquired from internal and external sources. They should be able to identify fake or inaccurate information to ensure a sound basis for making critical cybersecurity decisions.
- Capacity for identifying strategic issues
Cyber leadership training programs train professionals who are astute in identifying critical gaps and quantities in a broad information set. Cyber leaders use briefings, discussions, statistics, or reports to assess and manage a company’s security posture. The assessment details are pertinent to bolstering organizational cybersecurity using various vector measurements. Moreover, cyber leaders extrapolate different inputs to inform strategic recommendations for strengthening security.
- Managing a crisis
Cyber leaders act decisively and responsibly during crisis management. Cyber-attack incidents vary significantly and may occur at any time. Managing a cyber crisis requires balancing competing interests and organizational needs to ensure continued business operations. Crisis management may be a challenge due to limited time and other pressures. Cyber leaders play an essential role in ensuring rapid mitigation through quick evaluation of the incidence to recommend actionable decisions.
- Delegating roles
Cyber leaders require staff to assist in realizing the security needs to accomplish organizational objectives. As such, cyber leadership training equips professionals with the capacity to delegate specific authority and tasks. Cyber leaders also understand how to distribute accountability and responsibilities equitably. They can also identify their leadership aspects and prioritize responsibilities that cannot be delegated. They include roles such as strategic decision-making, developing and fostering relationships, and performance management.