Cyber Risk Advisory

FUD is Dead

Doug Hudson 70px jpg

Doug Hudson

Senior Director, Cyber Risk Advisory, Coalfire

A friend of mine who runs a cybersecurity firm told me recently, “Bro, FUD is dead. People are tired of all the fearmongering.” I completely agreed. For the uninitiated, FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

In the cybersecurity industry we spend a lot of time and energy fighting for budget, people, and the attention of our key stakeholders. Much of this is done by sowing the fear that without more budget or more people the organization will suffer a breach, lose compliance, or lose investor confidence – or worse, all three. It’s hard to say which children’s story fits best, Chicken Little or The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Is it true that most organizations will suffer a cyber incident? The short answer is yes, eventually the sky will probably fall or the wolf will attack. Why dilute the importance of your cybersecurity message by focusing entirely on FUD when you can shift the focus and align cybersecurity with your business initiatives?

For example, organizations are moving towards a continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD pipeline) model to speed time to market and improve quality. Pairing security with CI/CD not only aligns to the business’ initiative, it also helps reduce risk through identification of flaws that could be used by an attacker or that could cause a failure addressing Integrity and Availability, two of the three pillars of cybersecurity.

The ability to align the narrative for adding security resources to support CI/CD and the DevOps team with improved quality and a better customer experience makes for a more compelling investment story. I think it’s also good to note that we continue to see improvements in the time to identify a cyber incident and the dwell time of an attacker. This is another positive message we can and should be delivering to our business leaders and stakeholders, “your investments are paying off.”

Overall, we’re seeing the most successful CISOs are moving towards communicating in the same language as the business. They are talking quantitatively about risk in terms of potential gain or loss, they are discussing metrics aligned to product or service delivery success, and are aligning compliance (e.g., GDPR or CCPA) requirements with market and customer expansion and retention. This type of messaging contributes to better budgets, more resources, and enhanced cyber risk posture for the business – more than FUD ever has!