- Small to mid-cap-sized public companies often struggle to include salaries for full-time chief information security officers (“CISOs”) in their budgets, and to establish protocols for their resiliency in the wake of cybercrime incidents
- Cybersecurity services and technology provider SideChannel Inc. provides virtual chief information security officer (“vCISO”) services as a per-contract consultancy to SMBs, helping them to manage finances and security at the same time
- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is expected to finalize rules this year that would provide investors with a transparent view of public company boards’ C-suite-level cybersecurity profiles
- SideChannel CEO Brian Haugli has made appearances in numerous media forums as a go-to cybersecurity expert and he will participate Feb. 15 in an Investor Day event structured in a virtual webcast format (information and registration at https://ibn.fm/qRYcq)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s pending rules change, designed to promote transparency on public company boards regarding the level of cybersecurity expertise present among their C-suite members, is serving as a wakeup call to corporate leaders who perhaps have been complacent about their vulnerability to cyber attack.
A November Harvard Business Review report noted that recent research in company boardrooms found that most board members consider cybersecurity important, and that cybersecurity is regularly discussed in each board meeting, but it also found that 47 percent of respondents believe their organization is unprepared for a cyber attack and that about a third of board members say they only interact with the chief information security officer during scheduled presentations to the board (https://ibn.fm/W6H1c).
In response to expectations that the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon require companies to disclose their cybersecurity governance capabilities, including whether the entire board, a specific board member, or a board committee is responsible for the oversight of cyber risks, C-suite recruiting firm DHR Global conducted its own research, which found that only 1.4 percent (seven out of America’s top 500 public companies) said they have a current or former CISO on their board.
DHR further reported that only 23 percent of the companies said they have a current or former chief information officer on their boards, and that most companies — 65 percent — simply assigned cybersecurity responsibility to their audit committees (https://ibn.fm/Ctc8C).
While many small and mid-cap public companies may struggle with having to dedicate budgets to cybersecurity resiliency and employing a full-time CISO, cybersecurity services and technology provider SideChannel (OTCQB: SDCH) is providing an alternative solution with its team of experienced virtual CISOs — experts available to consult with clients on contract without the need for a staffing commitment.
The vCISO contracts generally last 12 months with options for annual renewal and a monthly subscription plan. SideChannel’s annual report to the SEC noted that each of its vCISOs is generally embedded into the C-suite executive teams of its clients, providing them with “the C-suite cybersecurity leadership needed to effectively mitigate cybersecurity risks and support ongoing operation of critical business functions” (https://ibn.fm/K2PQu).
CEO Brian Haugli has been increasing SideChannel’s visibility as the public face of the company, enjoying placements with top-tier US and Canada media (CBC, NBC News, FOX Business) as a go-to cybersecurity expert and inclusion in numerous reports online and with other national media outlets, including Fast Company Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Services such as SideChannel’s vCISOs and its proprietary microsegmentation software platform (Enclave) for sustaining encryption against cybercrime can help public companies best prepare for the SEC’s transparency rules.
“Cybersecurity incidents and other risks are considered one of the largest threats to companies. Accordingly, investors may find disclosure of whether any board members have cybersecurity expertise to be important as they consider their investment in the registrant as well as their votes on the election of directors of the registrant,” the SEC stated in announcing its intention for new rules last March (https://ibn.fm/ZYwaE).
The commission is expected to finalize the rules early this year.
“We believe most public companies of all sizes are ill-prepared for upcoming SEC regulations on cybersecurity and risk assessment,” DHR partner in the Board & CEO Practice Heather Smith stated in her company’s report. “It’s obvious that a sea change is underway at the board level. As a result of the SEC identifying the need and issuing new guidance, we’ve already had a number of boards looking to hire CISO board directors who understand the latest vulnerabilities and best strategies on cyber risk.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.SideChannel.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to SDCH are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/SDCH
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