Does Your Board Need a Cybersecurity or IT Committee?

It’s 2019. By now, your board of directors is probably aware of the importance of cybersecurity and information technology. But the increased emphasis surrounding the rapidly-evolving digital landscape is nothing new. Deloitte’s 2016 Board Best Practices Report found that 8% of boards considered “Technology and Data Analytics” among their top three priorities for the coming year. 22% of boards listed “Cybersecurity” in their top three priorities (up 6% from their 2014 report). But is increasing emphasis on cybersecurity and information technology (IT) oversight enough to warrant the chartering of a committee? Let’s find out if your board needs a cybersecurity committee, IT committee, or both!

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Risk Oversight on Bank Boards

While most organizations understand the value and necessity of risk oversight, banks boards face a pressure which is unique to most other industries. The worst-case scenario in failing to monitor and mitigate risk is always devastating, but unlike other organizations, banks are also burdened with their depositor’s financial well-being. Let’s take a closer look at how banks are handling their risk oversight and what they could be doing better.

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A Cybersecurity Overview for University Board Members

“Cybersecurity” is the perfect buzzword. The amount of sensitive data vulnerable to hacking or phishing attempts grows by the day. The intricacy of methods used to compromise that data is increasing at a far faster rate than the development of effective countermeasures. High risk and high stakes have made the importance of the word abundantly clear. At the same time, addressing the issue of cybersecurity requires highly specialized knowledge. Thus, we get a buzzword; a word everyone knows they should be talking about, but no one knows what to say. Fully plumbing the depths of cybersecurity in a single blog article is a tall order. Instead, let’s keep it simple. We’re going to break down the need-to-knows of cybersecurity for university board members.

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Cyber Security Becomes a Boardroom Priority

Data breaches from cyber attacks have wreaked havoc on major industries in recent years. Prominent companies like Target, Anthem, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, and EBay have all been affected by targeted attacks. These attacks, which typically put individuals’ private identification numbers and payment methods in jeopardy, come at a great cost to corporations.
Internet security concept open red padlock virus or unsecured with threat of hacking

The Ponemon Institute found that, on average, each individual data loss costs a company approximately $154. Multiply that number by 83 million users, and JPMorgan Chase’s recent loss totaled in at around a staggering 12.78 billion dollars—and that’s just a rough estimate; the number is likely higher.

Obviously, these high-profile hacks and breaches have pushed cyber security to the forefront of board members’ concerns. According to PWC’s most recent Corporate Directors Survey, board members are becoming more engaged with IT strategy—namely cyber security risks.

The study states, “83% of directors describe themselves as at least ‘moderately’ engaged with overseeing the risk of cyber attacks.”
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