Building Your Cybersecurity Program: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Written by: Alex Hubbard

In many organizations, IT and cybersecurity are often viewed as an expense needed to tick the box. Executive management and the board of directors often overlook a buy-in for a cybersecurity program and these systems can be tough to implement. Having support from executive management or the board of directors is key to ensure you build an effective program. Additionally, organizations need to be able to understand the business’ goals and objectives to help drive its success. All things considered it is vital to have a strong cybersecurity program within your organization to avoid compromise.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Wolf & Company’s virtual Chief Information Security Officers (vCISO) have assisted many organizations in building out and maintaining a successful cybersecurity program. Our experts oversee and evaluate the effectiveness of these programs, while tailoring them to your unique needs. Below is a list of eight mistakes that your organization can avoid when building a successful cybersecurity program:


  1. Not getting buy-in from executive management or the board of directors: This one is the number one mistake you can make when building out your cybersecurity program. Cybersecurity initiatives must come from the top-down. Without a top-down approach, the rest of your organization is not going to follow your lead.
  2. Not understanding the business’s goals and objectives: It is your organization’s responsibility to assist in aligning cybersecurity with the business’s goals and objectives. This is vital to ensure your business has an effective cybersecurity program that isn’t just an expense.
  3. Not understanding company culture: IT and cybersecurity alone cannot change the culture within an organization. If your organization’s culture is opposed to cybersecurity initiatives, it is essential that all members understand the necessity for change. This goes with mistake number one.
  4. Forgetting that policies are living documents: Policies should be reviewed and updated regularly. Technology, cybersecurity, business initiatives, and goals fluctuate, therefore, your policies should reflect these changes. Although you can implement a robust cybersecurity program, it must be reviewed and updated on a timely basis.
  5. Not incorporating risk management: The very first exercise that you should perform when you build a cybersecurity program is a risk assessment. It is essential to evaluate all the risks associated with the organization, document them, and determine how you’re going to mitigate, remediate, or accept the risks. If the risks to your organization are unclear, how will you implement ways to secure them?
  6. Not understanding that all employees in the organization play a role in cybersecurity: Cybersecurity awareness training is one of the most important tools for a cybersecurity professional when securing an organization. Attacks have grown more complex and are often tricky to spot. Training your users to be able to identify and report risks is key to having a successful program.
  7. Not having a CISO or virtual CISO (vCISO) in charge of the cybersecurity program: A cybersecurity program needs directive. It’s a living and breathing program that needs attention from a dedicated individual or cybersecurity resource such as Wolf’s vCISO group to manage, maintain, and mature it. Without this dedicated resource, your organization’s cybersecurity program may not get off the ground or be as robust as it needs to be to meet today’s threats.
  8. Lack of resources to complete cybersecurity initiatives: Many organizations do not have the resources for dedicated cybersecurity personnel on staff. In this case, organizations typically try to have cybersecurity fall under the hat of the information technology team. Unfortunately, cybersecurity then takes the back seat. IT typically takes priority over cybersecurity to keep the business operational. Implementing a dedicated resource for cybersecurity helps put a focus on cyber-related tasks to keep your organization secure.


To avoid these pitfalls, it is vital for your organization to have the proper resources in place. Wolf’s vCISOs offer valuable expertise in information technology and cybersecurity across multiple industries. If you’re struggling to get your cybersecurity program off the ground, Wolf & Company’s vCISO team is here to help.