8 Tough Questions Every CISO Should Be Ready to Answer

8 Tough Questions Every CISO Should Be Ready to Answer

When a major security incident, such as the recent massive Equifax data breach, grabs headlines, CEOs start asking more questions about data security.

See Also: Addressing the Identity Risk Factor in the Age of ‘Need It Now’

CISOs need to be thinking about their answers to critical questions the CEO is likely to pose.

Information Security Media Group asked seven security experts what questions they believe CEOs should be asking CISOs, and what information CISOs should arm themselves with to be prepared to provide answers. Following are eight questions and the experts’ suggested responses.

We have been investing in cybersecurity for a few years now. Would you say our organization is secure?

Israel Bryski, vice president, technology risk, Goldman Sachs: To pre-empt this question, the CISO should have a conversation early on with the CEO to determine the organization’s risk appetite. This will allow the CISO to align and prioritize security initiatives accordingly.

We are in the business of information and technology risk management, so the “Are we secure?” question is somewhat misguided. The question should be: “Are we managing risk according to our risk profile?” To answer this, the CISO should be able to easily demonstrate, based on a recent risk assessment, how the various cybersecurity initiatives and projects are in fact reducing risk, shrinking the attack surface of the organization and aligning the security program with the firm’s overall risk profile.

We have a board meeting next week. Can you talk about cybersecurity in a way they will understand?

Mischel Kwon, former director of US-CERT and deputy CISO for the Department of Justice; currently CEO of MKACyber: CISOs should be able to confidently say “absolutely” to this question. They should be able to speak with the board in a very businesslike way and articulate what they are doing with the company’s money and how they are protecting the company and its assets.

The key to being able to speak to the board is to base their program on a business-focused model. That business model shows their capability founded on their maturity, and that maturity is based on the probability of detecting specific types of attacks. These are the type of attacks that are most likely to happen to them, and this is the risk to the business, its goals and its reputation that these attacks bring.

Do you have enough money to do what you need to do?

Tim Youngblood, CISO, McDonald’s: Depending on where CISO sits, this can be a hairy topic. That can be a difficult conversation to say “I’m not getting enough.” It’s not easy if the CIO is in the room.

The best way to answer that is, “We may have current risks we are really well-funded to address, but there may be future risks we’ll need to fund and we still have some work to figure that piece out.”

A CEO is not going to write you a blank check. The CEO is going to look at the CFO and CIO and say, “The CISO needs money. You take it out of your budget and make it happen.” There is not an extra pot of money waiting for anyone, so making the clear case for why it is needed is key.

Is this really worth the investment?

Heath Renfrow, CISO at U.S. Army Medicine: The best thing a CISO can do when asked this question is have multiple options they can present to the CEO. Explain to them: Here’s the full issue. This is the total cost to fix this issue. This is what we believe the cost will be if this issue doesn’t go away and how much it will be should the vulnerability be exploited.

As an example, we didn’t know not know where our protected health Information and personal identifying information resided across all systems when I first got to Army Medicine. It would be a huge HIPAA concern if we got hit on that, or if there was a leak or a violation. It could have cost millions of dollars and many jobs. I tied in the overall cost and broke it down to how much it would be per end-user device to address it and it came out to be an about $3.43 per end-user device. Then I tied in all the results of HIPAA violations in the past few years and the fines associated with them. You get your senior leaders attention real quick with that approach.

Rick Howard, CSO, Palo Alto Networks, adds: Questions like this are sure to arise as corporate leadership attempts to understand the business risk associated with a cyberattack. As a result, CIO/CISOs should be prepared to explain the total cost of a potential breach. Everything from business disruption and loss of customers to consequential legal fees and remediation can rack up the bill more quickly than leadership may realize.

Read More: http://snip.ly/q0zie#https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/8-tough-questions-every-ciso-should-be-ready-to-answer-a-10357

What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties?

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A look at the nature and numbers of HIPAA breaches over just the couple of years makes stark reading: On the one hand, in terms of numbers; 2016, with about 16 million records breached was a pretty good year compared to the previous year, in which about seven times that number, more than 113 million, were breached. But the bad news is that 2016 saw more Covered Entities reporting breaches than in any other year since the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) started publishing its data on healthcare record breaches.

These huge numbers show that not only is there a big demand for these records in the black market -they are in greater demand than even social security and credit cards -Covered Entities and Business Associates need to all that it takes to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties.

What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties4

The federal government has not been lax on this aspect. It is being extremely vigilant about protecting healthcare records. It has been consistently urging the HHS to take a serious view of the increased incidence of cyberattacks that has resulted in medical records theft and has suggested many measures towards ensuring this. The fact that there has been a steady increase in the global spending on cybersecurity-related hardware, software, and services and could reach $100 billion in 2020, according to estimates by the International Data Corporation (IDC), suggests the seriousness with which this issue is being viewed not just in the US, but all over the world.

One of the primary requirements that Business Associates need to comply with is adherence to HIPAA mandates regarding the handling and use of health information. This is spelt out in the HITECH Act, a recent update made to overall HIPAA regulations. It is mandatory for a Business Associate to comply with a wide range of regulatory obligations, which include certain privacy obligations, security standards, and breach notification requirements.

What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties2

However, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding among Business Associates about their roles and requirements. They must be completely knowledgeable about all the aspects of their roles, functions and requirements before they enter into agreements of contracts with subcontractors and vendors for their services

Learning about ways of avoiding HIPAA fines and penalties

Jay Hodes, who is President and Founder, Colington Security Consulting, LLC, will be providing thorough understanding of the roles and requirements of a Business Associate and Covered Entities in HIPAA enforcement at a webinar that is being organized by MentorHealth, a leading provider of professional trainings for the healthcare industry. Please visit What should Entities do to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties? to get complete clarity of the ways of avoiding HIPAA fines and penalties.

Clarity on how to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties

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The aim of this learning session is to help businesses understand what it means to be a Business Associate and know what required safeguards, policies and procedures must be in place or make sure that their current compliance program is adequate and can withstand government scrutiny.

Jay will highlight the importance of being compliant with the HIPAA requirements for an organization if it has to avoid HIPAA fines and penalties. The ways by which a Business Associate or Covered Entity can provide the appropriate patient rights and controls on its uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information (PHI) and what all it has to have in place for doing so, will all be explained.

He will cover the following areas at this session:

  • Why was HIPAA created?
  • Who Must Comply with HIPAA Requirements?
  • What are the HIPAA Security and Privacy Rules?
  • What are the Consequences of being a Business Associate
  • What is a HIPAA Compliance Program for a Business Associate?
  • What is a HIPAA Risk Management Plan?
  • What is a HIPAA Risk Assessment?
  • What is the Role of the HIPAA Security Official?
  • What are HIPAA training requirements?
  • What is a HIPAA data breach and what happens if it occurs?
  • What are the penalties and fines for non-compliance and how to avoid them
  • Case Examples of HIPAA Data Breaches
  • Creating a Culture of Compliance
  • Q&A.