Promoting cybersecurity awareness in your boardroom - Lacework

Promoting cybersecurity awareness in your boardroom

Lacework Editorial

November 1, 2022

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Why you should promote cybersecurity awareness in your boardroom

For businesses looking to expand, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are a popular strategy. Acquiring an established business can be less risky than building new lines of business, and it often allows for a quicker return on investment.

When entering into a deal, it’s important to mitigate business risk by conducting assessments. However, these assessments often fail to fully account for cyber-related risk. And with the growth of cybersecurity and cloud security, acquired companies tend to bring increasing amounts of cyber risk with them.

Prior to an M&A, your boardroom should consider some essential pointers to avoid major pitfalls.

Cyber risk is business risk

Cybersecurity and cloud security have become especially critical for companies undergoing the M&A process. In fact, the desire to acquire the underlying technology drives many of these deals.

But when multiple businesses become one entity, they tend to carry more cyber risk than they did individually. These risks can have serious implications for the future of all businesses involved. If you’re considering an M&A, you’ll want to account for a few key factors: added complexity, a lack of visibility, and an accelerated time frame. 

Added complexity

Your own IT environment is complex enough as it is. If you’re acquiring another business, you’ll be responsible for their environment, too — and it could take some effort to get comfortable with a new system. You may have to learn unfamiliar compliance frameworks, applications, and security tools and protocols.

Lack of visibility

During the early stages of an M&A, you’ll get insight into your target company’s security posture. But no matter how familiar your own environment is, you could be acquiring a business that uses different cloud service providers. They might have a multicloud or hybrid environment, which means constant changes and extra complexity, and they often lack the tools you need to achieve true visibility.

Time is of the essence

Further complicating the cyber risk assessment is the quick rate at which these transactions usually happen. Since M&As can be competitive and their disclosure can impact valuations, it’s rare to have enough time for a comprehensive security audit before the deal closes.

Reducing cyber risks during mergers and acquisitions

There’s only one way to accurately assess cyber risk during an active M&A situation: make the security assessment process fast and easy. To do this, you need a cloud security platform that can:

  • Provide a unified interface that gives comprehensive visibility into all workloads, clouds, and resources
  • Automatically find vulnerabilities and misconfigurations
  • Create reports that meet standard compliance frameworks
  • Mesh with your pre-existing processes, as well as those of your acquisition target

Your platform of choice should also be simple to implement and maintain across your newly integrated environment. Best of all, it can enable you to assess cyber risk during every stage of the M&A process. Here’s how you can harness a platform before, during, and after acquisition.

Pre-acquisition

A cloud security platform delivers visibility through a unified interface that requires minimal setup and maintenance. By uncovering misconfigurations and vulnerabilities, providing out-of-the-box compliance reports, and evaluating configurations, a comprehensive platform allows you to quickly demonstrate your security posture and respond to audit questions.

Acquisition

The right platform will provide a deep look into your acquisition target’s cloud infrastructure. Not only will it pick up on vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, but it will also give you the data needed to understand how future integrations can work with the environment.

Post-acquisition and integration

After the M&A process wraps up, a cloud security platform will continue to provide critical visibility, accelerating technology integration and consolidation. By managing controls, it can also conform to the buyer’s compliance mandates, which is particularly useful when companies with varying compliance requirements merge. 

Post-integration

Beyond the M&A, a strong cloud security platform offers unparalleled benefits, from improving efficiency to lowering costs. A strategic use of machine learning analytics can minimize the amount of data that a SIEM processes, which helps businesses cut costs by allowing them to consolidate tools. This technology also helps reduce false positives, providing high-context data that can empower teams to investigate much faster. Additionally, the right platform will offer continuous monitoring,  continuous configuration compliance, and push-button reports to streamline compliance reporting.

Promoting cybersecurity awareness

Implementing a cloud security platform is the best way to protect your cloud environment. And, when you’re looking to streamline the M&A process, it can make all the difference by reducing cyber risk at every stage. 

By quickly spotting vulnerabilities early on in an M&A, you can steer clear of unwanted surprises later in the process. During acquisition, a platform helps you gain visibility into the target company’s vulnerabilities and prepare for integrations. Finally, once the M&A is settled, a unified platform makes it much easier to secure, monitor, and maintain your combined environments.

And there’s one more advantage: once you’ve started using a cloud security platform, you’re even better prepared for your next M&A transaction.

For a deeper dive into assessing cyber risk during mergers and acquisitions, take a look at our eBook: Solving M&A challenges with cloud security.