Cyber-security ; a key topic of the Board agenda?
The phrase ‘cyber everywhere’ has never been more powerful than it is in today’s world of digitization. Cyber is rapidly moving
beyond the four walls of an organisation and is focusing on the IT environment, the products that they build, and the plants from
where they operate. Every product an organisation creates, right from a wearable fitness device to a smart TV, has some element
of cyber involved in the process. COVID-19 has compounded the omnipresence of cyber, as organisations move from data center
security to cloud security and expand their digital footprint through their digital transformation journeys.
In the current era, there is a greater demand for omni-channel platforms creating an optimal customer experience. The
convergence of the physical and digital is crucial to build trust that enables meaningful human experiences. The Board should be
aware that to create such human experiences, personal data is critical. They should ensure that the management has considered
all local, regional, and international data usage regulations for this.
Cyber-security oversight has now become the most important topic for the Board after strategic planning. However, one of the
challenges that the Board faces includes the lack of a logical channel through which it can look at cyber-security and compliance
issues. This may lead them to under or overreact to certain cyber-security breaches. However, there is scope to create awareness
for the Board on the emerging cyber threats.
Why Start-Ups & Scale-ups should get a strong board governance quickly ?
Start thinking about constituting a board of directors before it becomes essential.
Startup boards are different. Indeed, the majority shareholders are founders in most cases. Founders are also CEO's and the management dynamic is much different than in larger companies. The urge for executive's oversight is less pronounced and it's not priority until suddenly investors starting to request board seats, implying a shareholder agreement which board matters and more.Founders may react with some fear or unnecessary stress and some of them can fail in that process. It's a this very moment, the independent board member (IBM) come into play. Appointing an independent board member is crucial. In many cases, the IBM is a talented and experienced person who have been through the same process years before.The IBM is an entrepreneur backing up the founders and turns to be a fantastic moderator between the founders and the investors. The Founding team can count on him to balance smartly any board resolutions and perform on demand duties like pricing analysis, product strategies, or participating to some key hiring processes.Something to keep in mind from the early beginning is to make a clear distinction between l "Board discussions" and "Shareholders discussions". It looks that the line in between is not always clear and as a consequence it could blurry the board dynamics. The management team relationships, and roles of the CEO/founder(s), shareholders, investors, and board of directors rapidly change in a successfully scaling startup. Who makes what decisions is rapidly changing. A lack of clarity and common understanding of who makes what decisions and is accountable for what results can cause confusion, and slow down or prevent scaling.
By the way, Govrn is free for startups below €1M Annual Revenue !