One of the greatest challenges facing crown agencies in 2017 is balancing cybersecurity with transparency at the board level. Crown agency boards have a responsibility to provide strategic leadership and ensure the agency complies with legal requirements and regulations.
On the one hand, there is no room for the possibility of a cyber-security breach at a crown agency’s board. Not only would such an event erode the public’s confidence in the agency, it could put sensitive, confidential data in the hands of cybercriminals. In 2017, the world got a taste of just how widespread cyber attacks could become in the future. The infamous WannaCry virus that crippled the UK’s NHS was made possible because too many systems had not installed the latest security patch. Meanwhile, security company Kaspersky Labs reports blocking 51 million phishing attacks in the first quarter of 2017. One of the more troubling elements of 2017’s many cyber attacks is just how easily many of them could have been prevented, and how big a problem human error is in letting them happen.
Crown agencies need technology that takes human error out of the equation, such as board portal software. Phishing attacks, for example, target management and directors by getting the people behind the computer to voluntarily give up login information.
However, crown agencies have to balance their security needs with transparency on the board and to the public. Making decisions such as compensation and vendor contracts with public funds, they are ultimately accountable to the public, and their decisions must be transparent. They also have a responsibility to form a diverse board, with members hailing from a range of personal and professional backgrounds, and use communication systems that are fair and accessible to all board members.
As many crown agencies are now realizing, board portal software can deliver this balance between fair communication in the boardroom and cybersecurity, and they can do it at a fair price. Board portal software provides better security without compromising the instant communication board administrators need to relay information. For example, take the board portal software by Aprio, a vendor used by crown agencies like the B.C. Land and Title Survey, WSIB Ontario, and the B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority. It provides directors with instant email notifications any time a document is uploaded or updated, when key votes progress, and when meetings are scheduled.
One of the obstacles to communication without bias is individual requests for more information. Administrators may send additional information to one director, but not all. With a portal platform like Aprio Board Room, group permissions allow administrators to send documents to everyone with permission to see them. It’s the kind of simple functionality you don’t get with email or free file-sharing, but that prevents confidential or In Camera documents from landing in front of the wrong eyes, such as directors with conflicts of interest.
Crown agencies can meet their responsibility to the public with secure technology without compromising transparent and open communications. If your organization needs better technology to handle board room communications, check out the Aprio website to find out more about the platform. Crown agencies owe it to the public to find a better technology solution. Book a demo and start comparing board portal software solutions today.