Why You Need a CFO Who Gets Cybersecurity

Blog written by: Angela Eberhart, CFO

Cybersecurity is an urgent concern for every business, but many SMB owners think they’re too small to be the target of an attack. That’s just not the case. In a 2023 study of small business owners by the Identity Theft Resource Center, 73% of respondents said their business had experienced a cyberattack over the last year.

This “it can’t happen to us” stance shows up in how underprepared many SMBs are for a cyberattack. According to a 2024 report by Huntress:

  • 47% of mid-sized companies don’t have an incident response plan in place.
  • 27% have no cybersecurity insurance.
  • 40% don’t conduct regular formal security awareness training.

To protect your business, you have to enact best practices and strong cybersecurity measures – immediately. The consequences of cyberattacks are huge for an SMB, including lost funds, lost data, the cost of downtime and the impact on your reputation and customers’ trust. 

The role of a CFO in IT and cybersecurity

While you might think a CFO is only responsible for your finances, they should actually play a much larger part in your business than that. A Fractional CFO’s role includes everything from accounting and taxes to HR and IT. 

The tie between your financial and IT teams is especially important because financial teams are often the primary target for cyberattacks like ransomware and phishing. A strong relationship with IT supports the finance team in avoiding those attacks. But a 2022 Deloitte poll showed that just 20% of corporate leaders called their cyber and finance teams “tightly aligned.” 

The right Fractional CFO will make sure these two teams are working together seamlessly. And if an incident does occur, they’ll work closely with the CEO, IT department and your cybersecurity insurance carrier to help you return to normal as quickly as possible.

A strong Fractional CFO will ensure that your company takes every precaution to prevent (or lessen the impact of) an attack. They should:

  • Ensure your financial team has proper checks and balances in place to prevent someone from falling victim to phishing schemes and sending funds to someone they shouldn’t. 
  • Model out the short- and long-term impacts of a cybersecurity event on the business. 
  • Work with your entire organization to develop both a business continuity plan and a disaster response plan. These are two different plans with two different objectives, and both are crucial to getting back on track in the event of an attack.  
  • Guide you in selecting cybersecurity insurance to mitigate risk from an incident and ensure you choose the correct coverages and limits for your business. 
  • Lead the way in assembling a strong IT team or finding an outsourced provider to protect your systems, data, and employees from attack. 

All of the above are essential to your company’s profitability. Even if a cyberattack doesn’t lead to the loss of data or funds, it can still cost you thousands of dollars in lost productivity and sales if you lose access to important systems for just a few hours.  

Safeguard your business with the right guidance

Cybersecurity is no small matter, regardless of the size of your business. Protect your team, your customers and your profits by ensuring you have a financial leader with a deep, diverse background to guide you to safer business practices.

Crown CFO can help you discover your IT weak spots and lead the way in making sure you’re protected. Our Fractional CFOs are experienced financial leaders who have worked across industries and can bring the depth and breadth of their expertise to your company. Contact Mike DeMaio at mike@crowncfo.com to find out how we can help your business.