In today’s digital world, safeguarding intellectual property and financial information is an essential business imperative. As businesses transition to cloud-based applications and data storage, this transition is also creating new security vulnerabilities. With the number of threats and attack sophistication levels increasing, shoring up these network vulnerabilities is a formidable challenge. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to cyber security, however, actually comes from companies themselves.

IT professionals are increasingly running up against institutional barriers to their cybersecurity projects. Three of the most common barriers are a lack of executive understanding over cybersecurity needs, insufficient funding for capital expenditures, and a lack of cybersecurity expertise in cloud security, network monitoring, and intrusion detection.

If you are an IT professional who is struggling to affect change within your organization, you’re not alone. As an executive search consultant specializing in IT recruitment, I’ve met with several Houston-based IT professionals recently who have all expressed similar concerns.

While these institutional barriers are frustrating, they can be overcome. Here are three approaches I’ve found can be helpful for achieving executive buy-in and resource allocation necessary to advance critical cybersecurity initiatives:

Explain the problem and solution in the simplest possible terms.

Cybersecurity lingo can be confusing to executive leaders who are not familiar with different IT terms. If the executive team can’t follow your lingo, they may fail to fully grasp the serious implications of unresolved network threats. Outline the problem and present a clear solution detailing the resources necessary for its implementation. Explicitly state the threat implications and the current solution status. What happens if sensitive IP data or client information is compromised? What steps has your team already taken to address this issue? Finally, explain why additional funding is required to respond to evolving threats and continue shoring up network vulnerabilities.

Make the case for expanding your team.

Are you struggling to get buy-in for a new hire, like a network manager? Outline the benefits of this position to your executive team and explain why someone with a specialized skillset is essential to augmenting your team’s existing capabilities.

For example, a network manager with a cybersecurity background is one of the most sought after job candidates right now in Houston. However, since this is a newer position, your organization may not be fully up to speed on the benefits of this hire. Explain why network monitoring is critical to defending an enterprise against malware or spyware attacks. While advanced network monitoring apps can help flag suspicious behavior, these apps alone won’t get the job done. That’s where the Network Manager comes into play– he or she will be experienced optimizing network efficiency and be prepared to mount a quick response to suspicious behavior.

Consider consultants rather than full-time hires.
In today’s candidate-drive market, IT talent is in top demand. This means your HR department may struggle to find a job seeker with the specialized skill your team requires at a salary that works with your department’s budget. Rather than going through an expensive new hire search, you and your company may be better served by hiring a consultant. Hiring someone as a consultant or on a project-basis allows your company to access top talent who is highly specialized in specific IT concerns, like cloud security or intrusion detection. This expertise can be invaluable for hardening company networks against cybersecurity threats.

As an IT professional, it’s critical that you’re able to overcome the institutional barriers that can make addressing cybersecurity threats a challenge.

What are your proven strategies for affecting change within your company? I invite you to share your best practices in the comment section below.