Balancing Security and User Experience: Best Practices for CIOs and CISOs

by | May 11, 2023 | Cybersecurity

As the CIO or CISO of your organization, you face many challenges when it comes to protecting IT assets, networks, and infrastructure. Just when you think you have implemented cybersecurity measures that prevent criminals from gaining access to proprietary data, a breach occurs that damages the relationships you have taken years to build with vendors and customers. The instinct to ensure another cyberattack never negatively impacts your organization takes over, but you have to be cognizant of one important issue.

Your organization must take steps to find the right balance between cybersecurity and user experience (UX).

Cybersecurity only makes the evening news when a serious breach costs a company, nonprofit organization, or government agency millions, if not billions of dollars. You never see a story that highlights how an organization has optimized the user experience. However, the most important news story of the day for CIOs and CIOSs involves discovering the fragile balance between data security and user experiences.

Why Does Finding the Right Balance Between UX and Security Matter?

With cybercrimes costing organizations around the world a stunning $6 trillion per year, it is not surprising that cybersecurity is the most prominent activity on the radars of CIOs and CISOs. A ransomware attack unfolds one time every 11 seconds, which is a much shorter time than the once every 40 seconds recorded just five years ago. However, the sense of urgency created by cyber threats should not diminish your organization’s focus on delivering optimal user experiences.

Proving superior user experiences represents one of the most important factors that attract and retain customers. More than 50 percent of all Internet users who shop online leave a website if it is not mobile-friendly, does not load fast enough, and/or offers poorly designed navigation tools. If your organization’s website does not put out a digital Welcome mat, the users accessing the website do not stay around long enough to discover what you have to offer.

Let’s discover how your organization can keep your customers satisfied by proving excellent customer service, while at the same time protecting their sensitive data.

Emphasize Collaboration

When developing a computer network, your organization should encourage the cybersecurity and UX design teams to work closely together during the entire process. When it involves designing a computer network, far too many organizations leave the cybersecurity team out in the cold. Instead of having the UX design team develop a computer network and then hand over the final system to the cybersecurity team for analysis, your organization should foster a much more collaborative environment. Provide solutions to problems that address the concerns of both teams.

From securing a seemingly harmless Slack chat room to building an impenetrable firewall protecting customer credit card data, your security and UX design teams can discover solutions that enhance user experiences, while protecting them against harmful cyberattacks.

Leverage the Power of Password Managers

Passwords represent the gateway that many cyber criminals enter to retrieve proprietary data and information from computer networks. The common feature of an organization’s cybersecurity system can be difficult to remember, which leads to users writing down their passwords or storing them in a computer file. This exposes their password information to online prowlers in search of vulnerable password protective measures.

Installing a password manager on your organization’s computer network goes a long way toward preventing cybercriminals from accessing the highly sensitive information. Although two-factor authentication tools and apps offered by Google Authenticator provide a barrier between cyber criminals and user passwords, a growing number of organizations have turned to installing multi-factor authentication tools.

Understand the User Experience

You probably have heard the expression, “You’ll understand when you walk a mile in my shoes.” For optimizing the user experience, the expression means your IT team must navigate your organization’s website to discover the obstacles that diminish online interactions. You cannot expect to balance cybersecurity and user experiences until you recognize the quality or lack of quality of the interactions potential customers have with your organization’s website.

When your IT team implements cybersecurity controls, the team members must develop an appreciation for what users try to do while navigating your organization’s website, as well as determine how vulnerable their information is to cyberattacks.

The Bottom Line: Constantly Test UX and Cybersecurity Protocols

As your organization’s cybersecurity team understands, implementing security measures is a fluid process that requires constant testing to keep cybercriminals from damaging customer relationships. Not only should your security team conduct frequent testing, but the same principle also applies to your UX design team.

Constant testing is the key for CIOs and CISOs to establish the right balance between security and user experiences. Both CIOs and CISOs must possess provide great leadership to accomplish this often-elusive organizational goal.

Additional Cybersecurity Resources

The Role of Identity Management in Strengthening Cybersecurity Defenses

Preparing Your Organization for the Future of Cybersecurity

Top Cybersecurity Certifications to Boost Your Career


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