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For CISOs in 2024, "Efficiency" Will Be the Keyword

By Jonathan Trull, CISO & SVP, Security Solution Architecture, Qualys

Although boards acknowledge the critical need for a robust cybersecurity posture, budget constraints are still a concern. Consequently, boards will prioritize solutions that offer optimal efficiency. CISOs not only need to focus their efforts on the efficiency of their security stack but also carefully choose the language they use to articulate the value of the solutions they invest in.

When assessing a new solution, CISOs often have multiple goals in mind, including security simplification, task optimization, tool consolidation, threat prioritization, rapid detection, and risk remediation. While these terms may resonate with CISOs or cybersecurity professionals, the board of directors or C-suite leaders may not have that same understanding. CISOs are increasingly tasked with the challenge of articulating the value of their security programs in business terms, and quantifying security risk as financial risk to the business.

Qualys recently launched its Enterprise TruRisk Platform and demonstrated the significance of how being able to measure, communicate and eliminate cyber risk is essential for demonstrating the advantages of a robust security posture to both leadership and board. Let's look at how CISOs can better communicate the value of the Qualys Enterprise TruRisk Platform to their leadership in terms of enhancing business efficiency.

Return on Investment (ROI). IDC analysts discovered that Qualys users get a return on investment of 403%. These savings are driven by two factors, a lower total cost of investment due to the Qualys platform's ability to perform the same function as multiple tools and the reduction of manual processes through automation. As they say, "time is money" and the more a solution can reduce labor and fixed costs, the better the return on investment.

Payback. How quickly will a solution pay for its initial investment? Any security tool should be adding value and streamlining already existing processes. IDC's research found that Qualys customers using a platform approach, or three or more of Qualys' integrated solutions, are being "paid back" within five months as it streamlines workflows across departmental boundaries such as IT, security, and compliance.

Total Value. Total value is defined as ROI plus any additional value found over time. Qualys customers are getting a total value of $5.1M per year when looking at the increase in overall efficiency, lower occurrence of security breaches, shorter application downtime and reduction of compliance related fines.

Staff Time Efficiency. Although this value proposition is wrapped into some of the other buckets, it's also important to point out exactly how much more efficient an employee is. With Qualys TruRisk, customers are 24% more efficient. Mean time to repair (MTTR) is improved by up to 50%, and the mean time to discover (MTTD) is six times faster than competitive platforms. A more efficient security team means a safer enterprise and a workforce that is less likely to leave due to burnout and overwork.

Risk Reduction. Risk applies to every part of the business - from marketing and communications to engineering. Security teams should also communicate security topics in terms of risk when possible. With Qualys, our customers are seeing a 66% improvement in quicker resolution of outages and a 24% reduction in fines for non-compliance. In other words, the organization is at greater financial and operational risk when it doesn't use the platform - a compelling argument for why the board should approve a purchase order.

Improved Security Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The board also understands KPIs, so we should communicate in that language. With Qualys, CISOs can point to staff being 56% more effective at proactively detecting threats (thanks to the platform's constantly growing database), 40% more efficient at responding to potential threats, 37% more efficient at patching and closing tickets 60% faster.

CISOs don't need to pull their hair out in frustration when articulating the security team's requirements to the board or C-suite who may be unfamiliar with the value of improved threat detection - it simply needs to be rephrased. Security professionals should shift their language toward business efficiency, risk reduction, KPIs and ROI to make a more compelling case to their boardroom. In 2024, we hope all CISOs are well equipped to explain their strategies to enhance efficiency.



Jonathan Trull 

Jonathan Trull is Chief Information Security Officer and Head of Solutions Architecture at Qualys, an American technology firm based in Foster City, California, specializing in cloud security, compliance and related services.

Published Monday, December 11, 2023 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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