Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Cybersecurity – Improvements Needed in the Boardroom

January 30th, 2014 | By

Cybersecurity is undoubtedly a critical aspect of board oversight, but an overwhelming majority of directors rate their and their board’s knowledge of IT risk as “in need of improvement.” More than three quarters of directors believe their personal IT knowledge could use a boost and nearly 90 percent believe the same of their board’s IT knowledge. A lack of cyber knowledge at the board level can lead to overreliance on C-suite experts and difficulty by directors in judging an appropriate level of involvement.

Recognizing the disconnect between the need for effective cybersecurity oversight and the boardroom’s lack of IT acumen, NACD, supported by Protiviti and Dentons, convened three roundtable discussions, bringing together directors, executives, and experts in the field of cybersecurity. These meetings provided insight into the numerous and significant risks presented by cybersecurity, while experts pinpointed deficiencies in board responses to threats and possible solutions. Key statements from participants prompted NACD, Protiviti, and Dentons to address issues demanding director attention and action:

  • Boardroom cyber literacy: “Cyber literacy can be considered similar to financial literacy. Not everyone on the board is an auditor, but everyone should be able to read a financial statement and understand the financial language of business.”
  • Identifying high-value information targets: “Do not just harden the perimeter, because hackers will get in. Accept that they can get in, and then design the strategy with the assumption they are already ‘inside.’”
  • Formulating detection and response plans: “When your company is hacked, do not start spending money like a drunken sailor.”
  • The human factor: “People are the constant weakness. Cybersecurity is a human issue. Often the biggest problems are caused by an inadvertent actor.”

Cybersecurity: Boardroom Implications contains information on these issues and more, including questions directors can ask when planning for a breach and when a breach is discovered. Click here for your complimentary copy of the report.

What I Wish the Board Knew: CIOs Speak

October 25th, 2013 | By

The best CIOs don’t just support the business, but use technology to drive value within it. In this session, CIOs and directors spoke about the ideal role that IT can play—not to simply support strategy but to actually drive innovation. In a world of rapidly changing technology, business processes must be fully integrated with IT across all business units so that capabilities can be delivered most efficiently. Thus, IT is becoming a top priority for boards, and as such, boards recognize that they need to better understand IT risks. The CIO can help educate directors about how business and IT are linked.

1. Today, an effective CIO is one who understands how technology can provide a competitive advantage. An emerging trend in companies is to establish the role of a chief digital officer, and not all, but some existing CIOs will be able to perform this role.

2. Companies recognize that traditional service models are changing in today’s interconnected world. Leading companies are focusing on building a holistic customer experience from start to finish through technology. It is important for senior management to work closely with the CIO and other technology leaders to understand how technology can be used to drive strategic goals and stay ahead of the competition.

3. Directors should be discussing with management how the company compares to “best in class” digital competitors, and whether it is doing enough to impact the top- and bottom-line results. In addition, they should discuss IT’s role in helping to foster innovation.

Speaker quote: “Technology is the great equalizer but it is also the great differentiator.”

F. Thaddeus Arroyo

Tamra Hall
Vice President and Executive Partner, Gartner Executive Programs

Virginia Gambale
Director, JetBlue; Managing Partner, Azimuth Partners LLC

This summary provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Emerging Technology

October 18th, 2013 | By

Technology is not just for the CIO and tech support anymore. Directors and IT professionals discussed the role of technology in the enterprise and what boards can do to ensure the company is fully using all available technology resources to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the enterprise. In today’s ever-changing and competitive business world, technology is often critical to long-term sustainability. In fact, many companies acknowledge the increasing importance of IT and their reliance on IT for new avenues of growth. Because technology emerges, evolves, and sometimes disappears so rapidly, integrating IT fully across the business can be the most efficient way to deliver business capabilities.

1. Emerging technologies are becoming more a part of the success factors of an organization. Customers are making buying decisions while on social networks. Investors are making investment decisions. Social media is creating the need for a cultural shift—from marketing to consumer research.

2. There is a reputational risk involving social media. Everything a company does is public. It’s important to have protocols in place as part of the overall risk management process to know how to respond if something is posted online.

3. Big data is going to change the playing field, which will likely alter who a company’s competitors are. So it’s important for companies and boards to be flexible and to move as technology changes.

Virginia Gambale
Director, JetBlue; Managing Partner, Azimuth Partners LLC

John Gullotta
Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Broadridge Financial Solutions

Doreen A. Wright
Independent Board Director, WhiteWave Foods Co.; Crocs Inc.

This summary provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.