Board Director | Advisory Board Member | Interim CEO

8 Strategies for Dealing with Cyber Risks

dreamstime_s_36255278 Target, a national retailer, announced 40 million credit and debit card accounts of customers had been stolen. The Target breach is officially the second largest breach of a retailer in history. Cybercrime threatens all businesses. Cyber threats are increasing in intensity and complexity. Data loss and hacking are in the news every day. You can’t afford to have your data compromised or stolen. Gartner Group says:  43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a “major loss” of computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years — leaving a mere six percent “survival” rate.


  1. Disrupts business functions.
  2. Interrupts supply chains.
  3. Damages business reputation.
  4. Compromises customer’s data.
  5. Forfeits intellectual property.

Board of directors and CEOs must ask the right questions. CEOs need to assess the risks and keep the organization informed. Cyber risks need to be reviewed with “fresh eyes.”

5 Questions Boards and CEOs must ask:

  1. How is the organization informed about risks of cybercrime?
  2. What is our plan to address cybercrime?
  3. Does our Cybercrime program apply industry standards and best practices?
  4. What are our metrics?
  5. How comprehensive is our response plan and how often is it tested.

8 Strategies for Dealing with Cyber Risks:

  1. Incorporate cyber risks into existing risk management and governance procedures.
  2. Elevate cyber risk discussions to the CEO and board of directors.
  3. Implement industry standards and best practices.
  4. Identify and manage your organizations specific risks.
  5. Provide oversight and review.
  6. Develop and test incident response plans and procedures.
  7. Coordinate cyber incident response planning across the organization.
  8. Maintain situational awareness of cyber threats.

The most important strategy for me: #8 Maintain situational awareness of cyber threats. The whole organization needs to be involved for cybercrime to be minimized.  Your employees are your best defense.

Which of the 8 Cyber Risk strategies resonates with you? Why?

Businesses need at least one tech-savvy board member or advisory board member who can stimulate and guide technology related conversations. Issues include: cloud computing, data security, cybercrime, and more. You may find my expertise useful during these challenging times. I am a proven technology and industrial CEO, certified board director and advisory board member.

P.S. – Do you need an Outside Director, Advisory Board Member, Trusted Advisor,  or Interim CEO?  Someone who can help you see your business and your goals through “Fresh Eyes.”  Contact me and I will work with you to look at where you want to go and help you find the best way to get there.  Sometimes all it takes is someone with a fresh viewpoint, unencumbered by company politics or culture to help find the right solution.

For more on preventing cybercrime, read my article, 5 Ways to Address Cybercrime in the Board Room.  Article sources: Cybersecurity Questions for CEOs and Homeland Security News Wire

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About Larry Putterman

Technology and Industrial Executive specializing in next-stage growth and competitive advantage strategy. serial entrepreneur, CEO, and board director. Husband, father... and major golf and fishing enthusiast!


  1. Thanks for sharing these tips Larry. The stats regarding the number of companies that go out of business after a cyber attack really got my attention.

    I do think it is one of those things that executives ignore until something happens. We don’t take our vitamins, but we sure as heck run for the aspirin when we get sick. I hope your article inspires more executives to be preventative!

    • Larry Putterman says:

      JT, you are right. There is no pain point until a cybercrime is committed and then it is too late. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Larry’s piece on CyberRisk is right on. Among our 1600 public company director members at the Corporate Directors Group, this is a priority issue. We are presenting a day and a half Forum on Cyber Security in Washington, DC next November to be led by Dr Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School.

    • Larry Putterman says:

      Thanks..Clint The Cyber Security Forum with Dr Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School is a great forum to attend. Jonathan does a great job.

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