CIOs and CFOs, two parts of the same whole

The business boardroom: a machine that drives corporate strategy and shapes the future of the company. Such a force requires cohesion and alignment, but silos still exist today. One of the biggest divides lies between the Chief Finance Officer and Chief Information Officer.

CFOs, the keepers of the bottom line, are driven by profitability, whereas CIOs are tasked with achieving technology goals to drive operational efficiency, as well as translating the complex language of digital security to the board. For years, these two C-suite executives stood alongside each other with relatively limited engagement.

But now the landscape demands collaboration. The threats to business assets are increasing and attack methods are becoming ever more sophisticated. CIOs need tools and technology to keep up, but this requires complete business buy-in. The trouble is, if the CFO and other board executives are unaware of the level of risk, friction can occur.

Cost centre or enabler – defining cybersecurity

Historically, the CFO viewed the CIO as a cost centre. They aren’t seen as revenue generators, and they have big tech budgets that puts a drain on resources that could be better invested elsewhere. A CFO would often roll their eyes at the CIO requesting another piece of technology.

The root of the problem lies in the miscommunication between both sides. Too often, CIOs would struggle to articulate the business case for investing in IT security infrastructure in terms that resonate with their financial counterparts.

On the other hand, CFOs have traditionally viewed cybersecurity as an operational concern rather than a strategic imperative. They may not fully grasp how vulnerabilities in the company’s digital assets could lead to financial losses, IP theft, or erosion of customer trust – there is often an underlying assumption that “it won’t happen to us until a breach occurs”.

But that perception is changing. It’s becoming more widely understood that digital security is an enabler, an investment, something that delivers true business value, even if you don’t see it every day.

In the aftermath of an attack, not only is there a significant cost of investing in recovery technology, but there’s also the potential impact on the brand to consider, which ultimately affects the overall financial control of your organisation.

To mitigate these risks, the CIO should be responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive IT strategy that covers both defensive measures, such as cybersecurity, and revenue-generating areas, including the company’s website and e-commerce platforms. Although the CISO may have a direct line to the board, they will typically report to the CIO on a daily basis to ensure seamless coordination and implementation of the organisation’s technology initiatives.

The more the company invests in the CIO upfront, the less the financial impact will be later on down the line. Automation is a huge driver of improved efficiencies; removing manual processes helps increase the engagement across teams using shared digital platforms rather than manual spreadsheets and data. The more automation the CIO can apply, the more effective they will be and, from the CFO’s perspective, the more the business can get out of every single individual.

Investing in the CIO saves money down the line – yes, there’s an upfront cost, but this is hugely outweighed by the savings in the long term.

The same team, different players

To optimise a businesses’ overall strategic objectives, CIOs and CFOs must no longer work in siloes and instead form an understanding of each other’s separate objectives to maximise reaching those strategic goals.

There is real opportunity for CIOs and CFOs to collaborate closely, aligning technology investments with financial goals, mitigating risks, improving decision-making, and enhancing overall operational efficiency. Both play for the same team, just in very different positions.

The power of real-time data analytics

In order to achieve complete business buy-in, the CIO needs to be able to report on the company’s digital health to the board in a way they can understand. However, before they can do this, CIOs need complete visibility of the entire digital infrastructure.

The problem is, businesses are rife with disparate tools, legacy kit, and a mixture of both cloud and on-prem systems that have long caused complications in obtaining a clear view of an organisation’s operational resilience.

The way business tech stacks have been managed in the past is archaic. A company may buy 20 products, but they all sit in siloes, operating independently and not ‘talking’ to each other in any meaningful sense. If you don’t know how your firewalls relate to your network systems, why not? This level of intelligence gained through continuous monitoring is critical to a comprehensive security strategy.

Many regulatory compliance frameworks are weaving in the need to continuously monitor in order to give businesses real time data on their security. But companies need to elevate their security strategy above regulation box ticking; if you’re investing in technology, then it’s worth finding out how you can get the most out of it.

Continuous Controls Monitoring (CCM) is a powerful solution that addresses this need. By integrating with various systems and tools across the IT ecosystem, CCM provides a unified view of an organisation’s digital health. It breaks down silos and enables real-time analytics that empowers both the CIO and CFO to make informed decisions.

Real time analytics provided by these tools means you have immediate information that is never out of date. With real time analytics – powered by automation – the CFO’s and CIO’s interests align.

Bridging the gap

The objectives are clear: the CFO wants greater profitability, and the CIO needs to paint a picture of security in the language of the board, which they can only do with complete visibility over the digital ecosystem. Sometimes, introducing a third party can help facilitate that alignment by acting as translators, deciphering technical jargon for the CIO while helping CFOs understand the financial implications of cybersecurity investments

CIOs have had to realign the way they communicate with the C-Suite, like the CFO. They must paint a picture of cyber threats and how tech can help reduce this risk in a way other stakeholders can understand. By applying business context to both finance and technology, these previously isolated roles can work together, demonstrating they truly are two parts of the same whole.

By Martin Greenfield, CEO of Quod Orbis

The post CIOs and CFOs, two parts of the same whole first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post CIOs and CFOs, two parts of the same whole appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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Author: The Gurus