Giving the C-Suite the security to be free

Last updated: 19 November 2019

We have blogged quite a bit recently about the power of the CEO and how valuable the C-Suite and senior management are in a company to highlight the reasons why their digital identities need to be protected and secured. We turn our attention this time to the influence that CEOs also exert and how hard it can be to say no to your boss.

The C-Suite often has the latest gadgets and tablets and wants to access work documents and email from these devices. Indeed, given how much time they spend in meetings, their travel time can be vital for getting work and thinking done, and for that they need access to sensitive information on their mobile devices. This alone time can give a measure of freedom to senior executives who find themselves at the mercy of their diaries. It’s vital for most businesses – regardless of their broader IT policies – to find ways to enable this workforce to be productive on the move.

Consider also that many senior management executives provide an interface between the company and its customers. Being able to showcase the latest documents or proposals on a new device can often impress a customer and demonstrate that it has a modern approach to technology, adopting a BYOD policy and being ‘with the times’. Even more reason to give the C-Suite access to work information on their personal devices and gadgets.

This does put pressure on the IT department, however, to ensure there is sufficient security around CxO devices as they will unlikely have the same levels of protection as company-mandated laptops or mobile phones. One key aspect here is education – the C-Suite needs to understand the risks of using unencrypted emails to send confidential information, or of not having a digital signature to sign or approve contracts or documents. They need to understand these risks not in technical terms, but the broader picture – understanding that their access to confidential information makes them a high-value target for corporate espionage and cyber hacking, and they need enhanced security to prevent them exposing the company to unwanted hazards.

It’s a tricky scenario for the IT department. Luckily, however, with the CIO or CTO ideally working directly with the CEO and the Board, they can advise the leadership of the company on the best approach to enabling BYOD, or agree an approach for delivering corporately secured IT to the senior management team. At the very least, they can ensure there are the necessary security measures and protection required, without having to compromise the C-Suite’s digital lifestyle and convenience.