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It can no longer be acceptable for Chief Executive Officers to deny all knowledge when it comes to responding to cyber security attacks. As consumers expect and demand protection of personal data, they want answers from the top dog whenever a data breach occurs. Even with all the news about hacks of high-profile companies and big box stores, many CEOs still take a hands-off approach.

Here are 5 reasons why CEOs need to increase their level of understanding of—and involvement with—cyber security measures.

1. Early, proactive involvement can minimize the impact of legal and financial issues. Setting visions and strategies for cyber security is just as important as planning for company growth and longevity.
2. Budgets can be properly allocated to make fighting cyber threats more cost effective. Setting a dedicated budget allows company IT teams to put their best foot forward in protecting intellectual assets.
3. Taking the lead ensures across-company support. If a cause is important to the CEO, it is important to those down the hierarchy too. When there is a lack of support for fending off cyber threats by top executives, this laid-back approach can spread like wildfire.  This in turn can cause lax behaviour among employees in general and those responsible for managing IT security.
4. Preparing and planning becomes a matter of course. Instead of taking a wait-and-see approach, a CEO that supports planning and preparation for a cyber attack establishes a culture of trust among stakeholders and employees. Properly executed plans give consideration to the potential economic fallout and help to overcome claims of negligence should a hack or cyber intrusion occur.
5. Stakeholders and consumers are demanding CEO accountability in preventing and responding to cyber threats. When these executives are involved early in the cyber security discussions, they are better able to respond and interact correctly with stakeholders in an informed and truthful manner, signalling they can help the company successfully rebound.

CEOs and other members of the Board need to be more than bystanders in the management of cyber security. Proactive CEO involvement can ensure that resources are allocated to conduct assessments and implement corrective actions that minimize threats, even when threats are due to employee actions or mistakes. Even if your CEO is among those that have cyber security on their radar, now is the time to get the help you need to improve security measures.

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