Directors IT Knowledge - An Unacceptable Gap?

Directors IT Knowledge - An Unacceptable Gap?

I attended an event at PwC last night on Cyber Security. A comment about the obligations of Directors to understand Cyber Security is worth discussing.

I'm a strong believer in the need for Directors to upskill themselves on technology, particularly in relation to the risk/security aspects, but also the opportunities that emerging technologies present.

It is generally accepted that all members of a Board of Directors should have the ability to interpret financial reports. If they don't, how can they make timely and strategic decisions? Accountants and other advisors are brought in to provide specialist advice, but they are rarely asked to explain the basics. "Explain cashflow and send me a proposal on how you recommend we manage cashflow"? Never heard that question asked by a Director of their Accountant.

But when it comes to technology, there is a serious knowledge shortfall. "Explain Cyber Security and send me a proposal on what you recommend we do to protect ourselves" is a suprisingly common question from many small and medium sized organisations. Don't get me wrong, I love talking about technology strategy and I'm always happy to take the time to explain these concepts - whether to customers or even non-customers.

But it does raise an interesting challenge - the need to upskill current and emerging leaders with essential technology skills so they can steer their organisations along a path that utlises technology to enhance the business whilst protecting the business from unnecessary risk.

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