CISOs can learn a lot from security incidents

by Oct 23, 2023Insights

So far in 2023, South African companies have reported around 110 cyber security incidents every month. This problem is not unique to South Africa; most developing and developed countries report similar statistics regarding attacks on companies’ IT systems. With such an onslaught of threats, it seems to be a dire state worldwide.

However, there are positives that can be drawn from these incidents. The IT teams and chief information security officer (CISO) of businesses that have undergone attacks can learn a lot from their experiences. The real-world insights gained from cyber attacks make them better at their jobs and more proficient in the future.

CISOs that have experienced cyber attacks are more likely to put in place robust countermeasures and strict protocols – ultimately, improving the company’s cyber security posture and reducing the incidents that are successful. 

In South Africa, cyber attacks cost companies an average of R49.5 million, so having an experienced CISO with insider knowledge is a good thing. They are responsible for the integrity and availability of business data at all times. When an attack takes place, having a CISO that knows exactly what to do can minimise damages and the expense of a data breach.

Are you confident that your cyber security is up-to-date?

What CISOs can learn from cyber attacks

Companies would be hasty to dismiss or retrench their CISOs if they went through a successful cyber attack. Such an experience is a learning curve and actually improves the knowledge and response ability of IT teams and their leaders. Rather than letting them go, enterprises should hold on to their CISOs to ensure that such attacks do not happen again.

They will know precisely how to respond swiftly and effectively if such an attack takes place again in the future. They will also figure out where the vulnerabilities lie and how the hacker gained access to company data. By analysing the attack vector and the reason why certain data was targeted, CISOs can better understand the goals and motivations of cyber criminals.

This means that CISOs will be able to implement better security measures, patch weaknesses and keep security software up-to-date. The chances of repeat cyber attacks are still high, so employing a CISO with real-world knowledge and experience can save the company a lot of time and money. 

Cyber resilience is not only about prevention and security protocols, but it’s also about fast identification and efficient recovery from attacks. Experienced CISOs will be better prepared for the future and more effective at spotting the signs of an attack. They will act more swiftly and decisively than an IT manager with no experience in a real attack or data breach. 

All of these learnings could preserve the reputation of a company and help to ensure that internal communications are on point during an ongoing incident. Humans are usually the weak link in a cyber attack, so having someone with experience onboard can help to improve employee awareness and training.

cartoon image of a phone that is being protected by a security officer

Why security incidents breed better employees

A CISO is in charge of protecting the company’s digital assets and data. After going through a stressful experience, they learn and grow, which makes them better leaders. CISOs can then take these lessons and implement them for the rest of their teams, helping to improve user awareness training and the security response of their IT teams.

They will also ensure that all regulatory requirements and standards are met. This is vital for compliance management and preventing hefty fines for lack of security standards. CISOs with real-world experience will lead their teams from the front and commit to improving the company’s overall defences.

As CISOs grow, they will become better at supporting their teams and the well-being of the company. 4C Group offers several cyber security services to enterprises in South Africa, including risk assessments, vulnerability management, user awareness training and compliance management. Our services improve the security posture of companies and help to educate employees on the latest cyber threats. If you’d like to find out more about these offerings, please contact us today.


At 4C Group of Companies, we strive to effect operational changes and cost savings for customers through our iNSight product and associated services. This product’s main function is to re-purpose and deliver business-critical information to a variety of systems and stakeholders. 

We specialise in information management, business assurance, fintech solutions and a variety of cyber security services. For more insights into our products and services, check out our blog page or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

You may also like…