Cybersecurity Function Integration Post-Merger

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    Max Eager

    In today’s digital business environment M&A activities are more than just combining digital platforms, HR systems, and the like. They also entail the crucial task of integrating disparate cybersecurity functions. How we conduct the integration process informs the combined entity’s ability to maintain its security posture against cyber threats and meet regulatory compliance obligations.

    I’ve outlined some best practices that can help make this integration smoother, bolster cybersecurity, and minimize the risk of breaches during the transition:

    1. Early Engagement: Engage the acquisition’s cybersecurity early in the M&A process. This involvement helps them gain insights into the existing systems, policies, vulnerabilities, and processes. Engaging early also helps to ensure that critical vulnerabilities are addressed promptly (not always surfaced during ‘traditionl’ due diligence), reducing potential threats.

    2. Cyber Maturity/Risk Assessment: Perform an exhaustive cyber maturity and risk assessment exercise for both entities separately first, focusing on identifying vulnerable elements and their potential impact on the unified network. Standard frameworks such as NIST and ISO are good places to start for controls to look for in your risk assessment.

    3. Unified Governance: Establish a common governance model outlining roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes for security items. The model should address areas like incident response, risk management, compliance reporting, and metrics.

    4. Centralized Cybersecurity Platform: Aim to centralize the cybersecurity management platform so you will have a cohesive view of the organization’s security posture. This approach simplifies management, enhances visibility, and improves overall security to boot.

    5. Gap Analysis / Redundancy Elimination: Once both IT ecosystems are understood, perform a gap analysis to identify overlapping systems or tools. This process can help consolidate resources, eliminate excessive costs in maintaining too many platforms, and streamline the cybersecurity infrastructure.

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