Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Pell Center Releases New White Paper, “Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom”

Newport, R.I. – Cyber risk is an underrated but all too real threat to organizations of every size, industry, and sector. From the boardroom to the server room, employees and board members must be aware of cyber risk and play an active role in the overall security posture of an organization operating in the digital age.

In a newly released White Paper titled, “Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom,” Senior Fellow Francesca Spidalieri provides an overview of existing frameworks, toolkits, and other resources that organizations can consult to stay informed about cyber threats, develop and update comprehensive cyber risk management strategies, and learn about some of the best practices and effective mechanisms deployed in the field to combat cyber threats. Core to this paper is the notion that senior leaders can no longer treat cybersecurity as an isolated ‘IT problem’ best left to their IT department and must instead integrate cybersecurity front and center into their decision making process in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

“Today, cyber risks affect all industries and all markets and can represent an existential threat – especially to smaller companies that have limited resources and have often built their business around one line of products or services,” said Spidalieri. “Modern boards and C-suite executives must view cybersecurity as an enterprise-wide risk issue, and develop sound strategies to protect their organizations’ sensitive information and digital investments. This requires them,” she continued, “to have a deep understanding of the cyber context in which they operate, the ability to make informed decisions based on cyber risk metrics and integrate them in the overall business process, and the willingness to ask tough questions when necessary.”

The White Paper is based on content presented during an Executive Seminar for senior leaders and business managers hosted by the Pell Center and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in May 2016. Multiple subject-matter experts and practitioners participated to the event and shared lessons learned and best practices to prevent, manage, and mitigate some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues companies currently face.

“It has become an unfortunate truism that there are only two types of organizations: those that have been hacked, and those that don’t yet know they have been hacked,” said Pell Center Executive Director Jim Ludes. “This White Paper clearly outlines practical steps senior leaders can take to respond to a dynamic and rapidly-evolving array of cyber threats.”

“Understanding Cyber Threats: Lessons for the Boardroom” is part of the ongoing Cyber Leadership Project at the Pell Center and follows previous reports that investigate critical issues in cybersecurity leadership development across the United States.

The White Paper is available for download here.

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