Cybersecurity―the protection of valuable intellectual property and business information in digital form against theft and misuse—is an increasingly critical management issue. The US government has identified cybersecurity as “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.

Companies must now fend off ever-present cyberattacks—the threat of cybercriminals or even disgruntled employees releasing sensitive information, taking intellectual property to competitors, or engaging in online fraud. While sophisticated companies have recently endured highly public breaches to their technology environments, many incidents go unreported. Indeed, businesses are not eager to advertise that they have had to “pay ransom” to cybercriminals or to describe the vulnerabilities that the attack exposed.

Given the increasing pace and complexity of the threats, corporations must adopt approaches to cybersecurity that will require much more engagement from the CEO and other senior executives to protect critical business information without constraining innovation and growth.