June 20, 2016
A new ballgame for cybersecurity: Why your best defense requires thinking differently
By: Kelly Bissell

We’ve reached the heart of the baseball season here in the United States, which brings to mind a few analogies my favorite sport shares with another passion of mine: cybersecurity.

Many companies believe they’re putting up All-Star numbers with their security, maybe because they’ve managed to avoid a significant breach so far. In reality, many are closer to a trip down to the minor leagues than they think.

There’s a lot of work to be done, in other words. As I begin my role leading Accenture Security this week, there’s no doubt our responsibility to clients has never been greater.

Cybersecurity directly affects brand reputation, customer loyalty and the bottom line. How can we help clients become more resilient? How can we help them flush out potential intruders before damage has been done—the kind that might shut down an oil refinery or a power plant?

Part of our mission involves basic communication—meaning, everyone across the business must be productively talking to each other.

Chief Information Security Officers need to be bi-lingual in a sense, projecting cyber activities through the lens of business risk management while establishing a common wavelength with the rest of the C-suite. And let’s not forget the board room—Boards are increasingly asking tough questions about what we’re doing to reduce and how we measure cyber risk, as they should.

Protect the “Jewels”

Business leaders must identify their data “crown jewels”—digital assets that absolutely cannot fall into the wrong hands. A drug company, for example, has to embed security into its R&D to ensure sensitive clinical trial results are protected.

Whatever the business or industry we’re talking about, the only constant is change. Global business in some ways is scarcely recognizable compared to when I got into this line of work some 25 years ago. Automakers don’t just make autos anymore—they’re taking on attributes of online retailers, requiring entirely new approaches to security to keep consumers safe in an era of connected cars. This means businesses need to think differently and apply multiple industry techniques and embed cybersecurity into their corporate strategy.

Keeping up with change requires innovation, and innovation carries risk. Ultimately, I want to help our cybersecurity clients innovate, and do so safely and confidently amid rapidly evolving threats.

Bringing us back to baseball, the task ahead looks a bit like the current state of my Atlanta Braves—a long-term building project with a lot of gaps to fill and requiring a big infusion of talent (and need I remind you, there are an infinite number of innings ahead). But it will be worth the effort.

I joined Accenture because I believe we have all the pieces—starting with more than 4,000 security professionals across 67 countries focused on the entire spectrum of security capabilities, from strategy to business transformation and managed services—to solve cybersecurity problems on a global scale. We have not only an opportunity, but a responsibility to make things better. And we will.

Like Freddie Freeman just did hitting the “Cycle” for the Braves, let’s swing away.

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