Whilst highly valued in any profession, communication is undoubtedly the most vital skill for cyber professionals even in comparison to the technical hard skills. The stereotypical cliché that cyber professionals are socially awkward introverts no longer holds truth. Simply put – companies cannot afford to hire cyber professionals unable to operate as part of the larger business.
As Diedre Diamond, Cybersecurity staffing expert says, “One must be able to communicate, problem-solve and work in teams. No matter how technical somebody is, if they can’t communicate in a team atmosphere, they won’t be successful long-term.” With cyber professionals no longer operating in a vacuum, they need the ability to communicate to clients, colleagues and seniors at C-suite level in order to offer value.
Growing cyber departments and more open internal channels are two major trends within companies.
For those in Cyber Security Analyst roles or Data Administrator positions, those more junior positions, communicating with superiors is obvious, and the first hurdle for many. Whereas for those cyber professionals within senior positions, such as Chief Information Security Officers (CISO), the ability to communicate with C-suite executives is a nonnegotiable. This involves converting technical knowledge into digestible and meaningful information for the board, an extremely important skill that without cyber professionals will find ‘cyber’ overlooked. Communicating in terms of either reputation, regulation or revenue will aid the information to be seen as meaningful to the board. Two-way board communication affirms alignment between cyber objectives and overall business objectives.
With many calling for CEO pay to be linked with their company’s cyber health, board rooms are starting to take cyber more seriously and are looking to the cyber departments for guidance.
Beyond board level communication, it is the role of cyber professionals to manage and communicate cyber risks internally. With social engineering continue to catch employee’s vulnerably, it falls to the cyber team to educate the wider organisation.
Cyber Crisis Communication
Cyber-attacks are undoubtably becoming increasingly prevalent making it highly probable most cyber teams will face some form of cyber crisis, if they have not already. A cyber crisis demands clarity of communication. Quick and direct communication is necessary in coordinating an effective response plan.
It is the job of cyber professionals involved to lead and coordinate activities in the event of a cyber crisis. This typically involves working with a dedicated crisis response team, which includes employees’ company wide. So again, cyber professionals must by fluent in translating technical and communicating clearly.