8 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Successful Cybersecurity Program

8 mistakes to avoid when building a successful cybersecurity program


Building a successful cybersecurity program is a long-term goal for many organizations. Unfortunately, IT and Cybersecurity are often looked at as an expense and take a back seat. Something needed to tick the box. Buy in for a cybersecurity program from executive management or board of directors is often not thought about and can be tough to obtain. Having support from executive management or board of directors is key to being able to build the program effectively. You need to be able to understand the business’s goals and objectives to help drive that cybersecurity program. It’s important to have a strong cybersecurity program in your organization, without one you leave the door open to being compromised.

Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not getting buy-in from executive management or board of directors

Not getting buy-in is the absolute number one mistake you can make when building out your cybersecurity program. Cybersecurity initiatives must come from the top down. If you don’t have buy in from the top, the rest of your organization is not going to follow your lead.

2. Building the program without understanding business objectives and goals

Your job in cybersecurity is to help align cybersecurity with the business’s goals and objectives so that the organization can have an effective cybersecurity program that isn’t just an expense.

3. IT cannot change organizational culture

IT and Cybersecurity alone cannot change the culture within an organization. If your organization’s culture is opposed to Cybersecurity initiatives, you will need help to understand that and make the change. This goes with mistake number 1.

4. Forgetting policies are living documents and should be reviewed and updated regularly

Policies should be reviewed and updated regularly. You can put together a robust cybersecurity program, but if you don’t review it and update it regularly it will get stale. Technology, Cybersecurity and Business Initiatives and Goals change regularly. Your policies should reflect that.

5. Not incorporating risk management

The very first exercise that you should perform when you build a cybersecurity program for your organization is a risk assessment. You need to be able to look at all the risks to the organization, document them and figure out how you’re going to mitigate, remediate or accept them. If you don’t know the risks to the organization, how do you know how to secure them?

6. Forgetting that all employees play a role in Cybersecurity/Not including security awareness training

Cybersecurity awareness training is one of the most important tools in your tool belt as a cybersecurity professional securing an organization. Attacks have enhanced and are often tricky to spot. Training your users to be able to identify and report risks is key to having a successful program.

7. Not having cybersecurity directive from a CISO/vCISO

A cybersecurity program needs directive. It’s a living and breathing program that needs attention from a dedicated individual or cybersecurity resource such as wolf’s vCISO group to manage it, maintain it, and mature it. Without that dedicated resource, your organization’s cybersecurity program may not get off the ground or be as robust as it needs to be to meet today’s threats.

8. Lack of resources to complete Cybersecurity initiatives

Many organizations are small and do not have the resources to have a dedicated cybersecurity personnel on staff. These organizations typically try to have cybersecurity fall under the hat of the information technology team. Unfortunately, Cybersecurity then ultimately takes a back seat. IT typically takes priority over cybersecurity to keep the business operational. Having a dedicated resource to cybersecurity allows that resource to focus on tasks that are related to cybersecurity in order to keep the organization secure.


Building a Successful Cybersecurity Program is hard work. These are eight mistakes that I’ve seen clients make over my years in IT and Cybersecurity. I hope these will assist you in building out your organization’s Cybersecurity and Information Security Plans. If you liked my video, please consider subscribing to my channel and following along at my blogsite, achubbard.com. Stay secure!

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