In an era where digital threats loom large over corporations, the integration of cyber governance within the boardroom is not just a strategic advantage but a necessity for safeguarding shareholder value. A recent study highlighted by David Strom on Dark Reading reveals a compelling narrative: corporations that embrace cyber governance are not just better protected; they’re significantly more valuable.

The Value Proposition of Cyber Governance

The study, a collaborative effort between Bitsight and Diligent Institute, delves into the cybersecurity practices of over 4,000 mid-to-large-sized companies worldwide. It uncovers a striking correlation between cybersecurity expertise and shareholder returns over both three and five-year periods. Specifically, companies that have dedicated efforts towards robust cyber governance have created nearly four times the shareholder value compared to those lagging in this area.

Specialized Committees: The Game Changer

One of the study’s key findings is the pivotal role of specialized committees in enhancing a company’s security posture and financial performance. Boards that delegate cyber oversight to these committees, particularly those with at least one cyber expert member, are more likely to see improvements in their overall security and financial outcomes. This approach allows for a deeper dive into specific cybersecurity issues, fostering stronger executive relationships and more informed decision-making at the board level.

A Call to Action for Corporate Boards

Despite the clear benefits, the study reveals a stark reality: a vast majority of companies have yet to integrate cybersecurity specialists into their boards effectively. Only a small fraction of surveyed companies, including 12% of S&P 500 firms, have such experts on their boards. This gap underscores a critical need for corporate boards to reassess their composition and governance structures to integrate cybersecurity expertise effectively.

Beyond Compliance: Cybersecurity as a Strategic Asset

The conversation around cybersecurity in the boardroom needs to shift from viewing it as a mere compliance requirement to recognizing it as a strategic asset. Cybersecurity expertise not only protects the company from digital threats but also opens avenues for revenue creation and operational agility. As the digital landscape evolves, so too should the strategic approach to cybersecurity governance at the highest levels of corporate leadership.

What Can We Expect?

The evidence is clear: integrating cyber talent into corporate boards is not just a matter of security—it’s a strategic imperative that significantly enhances shareholder value. As companies navigate the complexities of the digital age, those that prioritize cyber governance within their boardrooms will not only safeguard their assets but also position themselves for unparalleled growth and resilience.


Paul Bergman runs a business strategy and cybersecurity consulting company in San Diego. He is also CEO of a mentoring non-profit in San Diego, Lamp of Learning. He writes on cybersecurity and board management for both corporate and nonprofit boards.

References:

Dark Reading: Corporations With Cyber Governance Create Almost 4X More Value

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