5 Ways an External Cybersecurity Provider Can Improve ESG Compliance by Minimizing Risk

8 minute read

Why Your ESG Compliance Strategy Should Include External Cybersecurity

Organizations have become increasingly concerned about ESG compliance in recent years, and for good reason. A strong ESG compliance strategy can help organizations identify and manage opportunities and risks related to environmental, social, and governmental factors, build trust and transparency with investors and other stakeholders, and avoid legal and regulatory penalties. 

This post will discuss how an external security provider can contribute to your organization’s ESG compliance strategy by minimizing risks across the board. 

What is ESG Compliance? 

ESG compliance is the process of understanding and implementing international and national ESG guidelines through the development of policies and practices within an organization. Depending on the industry your organization operates in, there can be overlapping rules and regulations that apply to various aspects of your business. 

ESG-compliant organizations enjoy several benefits, including avoiding penalties for failure to accurately disclose sustainability data, improved stakeholder management, enhanced company reputation, and talent and investor attractiveness. 

Your Business’s ESG Score and Digital Threats 

An ESG score (which can range from 0-100) is a metric that gauges your organization’s ability to conduct its operations sustainably. It numerically represents an organization’s performance on various environmental, social, and governance issues. ESG performance is based on various sources, including voluntary business disclosures, security filings, media reports, governmental reports, and more. A score lower than 50 is considered poor, while a score above 70 is considered excellent. 

The importance of good ESG scores can not be downplayed, especially since investors use these scores to identify and understand an organization’s financially relevant risks. 

That said, there are a number of ESG risks and digital threats that could affect your ESG compliance and, consequently, your ESG scores. Managing these risks and threats not only makes your company less volatile but also strengthens investor confidence. Your company will be rewarded with positive brand equity, greater access to credit and debt markets, reinvestments, and sustainable, long-term growth. 

While most organizations manage ESG risks in-house, an external cybersecurity provider can better protect your business by minimizing ESG risks and dealing with digital threats before they affect your business. This is because most external providers have current information on ESG risk and digital threats and can develop sound strategies for mitigating risks. They also have the latest technology for dealing with digital threats. 

How Do External Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Impact ESG Risk?

External cybersecurity risks are the most immediate and arguably financially impactful risks organizations face today. As organizations become increasingly digitized, they expose themselves to external cybersecurity threats, such as phishing attacks. Here’s a look at how cybersecurity vulnerabilities affect ESG risks: 

Data Leaks

Data leaks occur when confidential or sensitive information is exposed to unauthorized persons due to internal errors. They could lead to data breaches, identity theft, and ransomware installation. Besides reputational and financial harm, a data leak could impact your ESG score, lead to you incurring hefty penalties, and drive away investors and customers. 

Compliance Risks 

Compliance risks can potentially expose your business to a range of consequences, including undervaluation by investors, legal penalties, financial forfeiture, and even underappreciation by consumers and employees. One excellent way your business can reduce compliance risks, especially if it gives third party(s) access to sensitive systems and data, is by meeting SOC 2 certification requirements

Setting up clear policies, practices, and monitoring into your organization’s Trust Services Criteria is part of the process of attaining SOC 2 compliance (TSC). These criteria examine how a service organization handles information in terms of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. The external cybersecurity platform from ZeroFox reflects the standards of SOC 2 by assisting enterprises in early threat detection, real-time threat intelligence analysis, defense optimization, and adversary disruption.

Account Takeovers

Large organizations can easily find themselves managing numerous login credentials for apps, email, social media, banking, and other services. Cybercriminals seeking to obtain unauthorized access to these accounts and any sensitive data they might hold can target the extensive attack surface created by all of these accounts. Account Takeover Attacks are happening increasingly often, and the results might be disastrous for your company. 

With ZeroFox’s Account Takeover Protection services, you can safeguard all of your owned social media accounts, instantly remove fraudulent content, and safeguard your information and brand integrity.

Third-Party Risks

Modern businesses are increasingly outsourcing certain tasks and functions to third parties. Unfortunately, those third parties may take actions that can affect your ESG rating. As such, you need to ensure compliance of both yourself and the third parties you work with, especially since the government and other regulatory bodies expect you to cover all your ESG responsibilities. Using Third-Party Intelligence, an external cybersecurity provider can help your business detect emerging cyber threats targeting your supply chain or vendor ecosystem. If you act quickly, those threats can be prevented or mitigated before causing any harm to your organization.

Five Ways to Improve Your ESG Compliance Strategy Using External Cybersecurity 

Here are some ways an external cybersecurity provider can improve your ESG compliance strategy: 

1. Dark Web Monitoring

Dark Web monitoring is a threat intelligence technique that entails scanning your organization’s information on the Dark Web to determine whether it has been leaked on a malicious site. Although it is not a clean-up operation that can delete your data on the Dark Web or prevent it from getting sold, it warns you that sensitive information has been leaked so you can take appropriate measures to manage potential damage. 

When your organization’s sensitive information leaks on the dark web, it can affect the social (S) part of your ESG strategy. For example, customers may sue you for not protecting data, and investors may withdraw from supporting your business because of its bad reputation. 

A mature external cybersecurity provider should offer comprehensive dark web monitoring services, which leverage both human and artificial intelligence to collect and analyze raw data on the dark web in real time. This way, if your organization’s data has been compromised, they can advise you on the appropriate measures to take to limit the damage of the breach. 

2. Threat Intelligence

Thanks to digitization, today’s world is more connected than ever. However, the increased connectedness has also increased the threat of cyber risks. An excellent cybersecurity strategy that you can use to minimize cyber risk is threat intelligence. Basically, threat intelligence refers to the process of identifying and analyzing cyber threats to better understand how to prevent them. 

Threat intelligence can help an organization stay ahead of the curve when it comes to data security and ESG compliance regulations. By constantly monitoring potential threats, threat intelligence can help organizations proactively identify and respond to evolving digital and data security & privacy threats that could render them ESG non-compliant. 

3. Attack Surface Management (ASM)

An attack surface refers to an organization’s applications, network infrastructure, IoT devices, endpoints, and cloud services that could be targeted by threat actors. Attack surface management (ASM) refers to the continuous identification, analysis, remediation, and monitoring of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and any potential attack surfaces that threat actors could use to breach an organization. Unlike other cybersecurity strategies, attack surface management is conducted entirely from a threat actor’s perspective instead of the defender’s perspective.  

With sound attack surface management, organizations can not only stop potential breaches in the bud but also ensure safe data storage and retrieval so hackers and malicious actors can’t access your data. 

Of course, one way of complying with ESG regulations is managing data leakage risks, and ASM helps do just that.

4. Brand Protection 

ESG-forward companies shouldn’t make any compromises when it comes to protecting the reputation of their brand. This is because your brand is one of your most valuable assets. Brand protection is the process of protecting a brand’s intellectual property from infringements like copyright piracy, counterfeiting, patent violations, and more. 

Today’s customers are becoming more sensitized about industrial production, how it contributes to climate change, the impact of data breaches on their privacy, and more through various media. Brand protection helps organizations be customer-centric by ensuring they comply with ESG regulations and other things customers care about. 

5. Breach Response 

Let’s face it: organizations face many risks, and sometimes those risks do occur, regardless of the measures put in place to prevent them. When that happens, what matters is how you respond to the breach

Breach response is how an organization responds following a breach. As a rule of thumb, when an organization becomes a cyber breach victim, it should exercise transparency by informing all the relevant people affected by the breach. Effective breach response solutions can help reduce your business’s carbon footprint by reducing the amount of energy and resources needed to recover from cyber incidents. 

How Can External Cybersecurity Improve My ESG Score? 

An external cybersecurity provider can improve your ESG score by taking the following measures: 

  • Formulating cybersecurity governance: They can develop privacy and data governance metrics for monitoring the progress of your cybersecurity ESG-related goals over time and making the necessary changes to optimize performance. 
  • Aligning your internal ESG goals with external cybersecurity frameworks: They can ensure that your organization’s operations heed ESG-specific regulations as well as implement sound security measures for protecting against digital threats. 
  • Aligning ESG and cybersecurity efforts: They can strengthen your privacy and cyber programs to better protect data and increase stakeholder trust. 

ZeroFox Can Help Your ESG Compliance as an External Cybersecurity Provider 

The importance of being ESG-compliant is becoming more apparent for more organizations as they need to become attractive to potential investors and avoid the hefty penalties of non-compliance. It also ensures that you have satisfied employees and customers. One way of achieving that feat is partnering with an external cybersecurity provider to help you minimize ESG risks and digital threats. 

ZeroFox can help with your ESG compliance. We deliver end-to-end solutions for exposing, disrupting, and responding to threats for businesses across various industries. Our cybersecurity services include dark web monitoring, physical security, compromised credential monitoring, ESG compliance monitoring, and more. With our solutions, you will have a more seamless coverage of critical assets and gain full visibility of emerging threats. You will also be able to respond and recover from various incidents rapidly. Get a demo to experience how our solutions can help your ESG compliance. 

CTA for Brand Proteciton Buyer's Guide

See ZeroFox in action