Igor Borovikov

Igor Borovikov on Mitigating Cybersecurity Risk in Acquisition-Driven Expansion

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In the fast-paced business world, acquisitions offer a tantalizing path to rapid expansion. However, ambitious executives must recognize that with this strategy comes the risk of cyberattacks capable of disrupting operations, eroding brand reputation, and leading to significant losses. A fragmented security landscape, born from the merger of disparate systems, provides fertile ground for attackers.

The Cybersecurity Imperative

Acquisitions can leave companies grappling with a range of cybersecurity complexities:

  • Disparate Security Standards: Acquired companies often arrive with varying levels of cybersecurity sophistication. This hodgepodge of protocols and outdated systems opens doors for attackers to infiltrate the larger organization.
  • Technology Integration Woes: Integrating diverse systems, networks, and software can be a cybersecurity nightmare. Misconfigurations and unexpected vulnerabilities are common during the integration phase, increasing the potential for attackers to exploit.
  • Data Security Risks: Suddenly responsible for expanded data assets, including potentially sensitive information from the acquired company, organizations face the challenge of enforcing consistent classification and access controls. Mishandling this integration can lead to disastrous data breaches.
  • Culture Clash: A lack of unified cybersecurity awareness and inconsistent attitudes toward risk can create friction and make the combined company less secure. Employees from the acquired firm may need specific training to understand the parent company’s policies and expectations.

Strategies for Success

To reap the benefits of acquisitions while safeguarding the enterprise, cybersecurity leaders must be proactive. Here are their key recommendations:

  1. Early Cybersecurity Due Diligence: Don’t wait until the deal is done to start thinking about security. Involve cybersecurity teams from the outset—they’ll assess the acquired company’s infrastructure, identify potential red flags, and help you understand the financial implications of necessary security upgrades.
  2. Consolidated Security Roadmap: Develop a long-term cybersecurity strategy outlining how you’ll harmonize security practices, technologies, and incident response protocols. Consider a phased approach, prioritizing the protection of the most critical assets and systems.
  3. Robust Data Governance: Prioritize developing a framework for data classification, access controls, and secure information transfer. Focus special attention on sensitive data—like client information, PII, or intellectual property—ensuring it is protected at every stage.
  4. Cross-Company Cybersecurity Education: Invest in comprehensive security awareness programs targeting existing and newly acquired employees. Ensure a consistent understanding of best practices, incident reporting procedures, and the combined company’s elevated risk profile.
  5. Proactive Monitoring and Adaptation: Establish real-time network monitoring and regular vulnerability assessments across the expanded entity. Don’t assume defenses are adequate—continuously adapt your security posture based on ongoing risk analysis.

The Bottom Line

“Acquisitions magnify risk,” warns Igor Borovikov, founder of Noventiq. “Without proactive cybersecurity measures, a well-intentioned acquisition can quickly undermine a company’s security posture.”

While acquisitions hold undeniable promise, maximizing their potential requires a clear-eyed focus on cybersecurity. By diligently addressing risks, aligning security strategies, and building a resilient cyber-conscious culture, businesses can harness acquisitions as powerful accelerators for long-term, sustainable growth.

Also Read: How to Navigate Cybersecurity in the Digital Age.



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