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Houston expert: Top three ways to make cybersecurity a business decision

A Houston founder explains why you should shift the way you think about cybersecurity from a cost to an investment in your business. Photo via Getty Images

For companies big or small, scaling your revenue securely is about building people, processes, and technology to help you deliver your value to market in the most efficient way possible. But shifting cybersecurity as a cost to an investment takes a shift in thinking.

Here are three tips to make cyber a business decision for your company.

Don’t fail at digital transformation. Whether you’re considering a digital “initiative” to stay ahead of competitors, reduce operational expenditure when possible, or simply drive efficiency to customer value delivery, transforming how you’re doing business should rest upon a foundation of security across your existing people, process, or technology. An effective cybersecurity program should drive confidence to your team to expand your tooling, processes, or delivery mechanisms with confidence. The alternate reality is you shift a working process to incorporate new technology, and something fails or breaks, causing frustration of your team and fewer dollars in the door. Here are a few tips that will help you make sound business investments in technology:

  1. New technology or system can introduce new cyber risks to your company. As a result, it is good practice to balance the value gained with the risks absorbed. Establishing a “new product” risk vs reward process will reduce ad hoc purchases and introduce more sound thinking to your team’s decisions.
  2. New technology purchases will come with vendor onboarding but beware of the challenges you face when those implementation or training hours run out. Ask for additional support hours as part of your purchase so that you’re always able to call a help desk for real support.

Secure design reduces long-term costs. Regardless of your business type, if some type of cyber-attack could affect your business outcome(s) — be it your product, the loss of sensitive customer data, theft of intellectual property, or disruption to service delivery — consider investments in your cyber program an investment towards the cost of future business operations.

For instance, manufacturers across virtually every sector continually balance “secure design” with efficiency/cost as they compete in the market. Their challenge: estimating future recalls and product “updates” to be paid for by future operational expenditure. The same can be applied to unforeseen downtime of a critical inventory, payment capture, or website system. In both cases, here are two tips to shift cyber from a “security cost” to a “business” mindset:

  1. Work with your security vendors to develop a long-term strategy rather than quoting an “install and leave” project. Security vendors are businesses too. They will respond positively if you tell them you will offer longevity in return for payment over time. 
  2. Amortize your costs this year into next year's costs of goods. If you can negotiate monthly or quarterly payments with your security vendors, adding 30-60 days of net pay dates, you’re already starting to shift security improvements realized tomorrow to costs you pay next quarter.

Your customers want you to have a great cyber program. Especially in regulated spaces like healthcare, defense, and other critical infrastructure sectors, there is a high chance your company’s cyber program must meet minimal cyber guidelines. Investing in the training, processes, and technology required to achieve some element of “compliance” is a must-have investment for doing business with big companies.

A mistake small companies make is allocating the minimal resources “reach the bar” without thinking about the risks. Employee turnover, scaling your business in new regions, and increasing purchase order sizes all carry a potential “new bar” you must reach on your cyber maturity. Building a cyber program initiative may help you increase sales. Imagine you say this in your next prospect meeting as you aim to win that big contract, “Additionally, we reviewed your cybersecurity supplier requirements online and are pleased to say we have certified documentation showcasing an evolving, continually improving cyber program that exceeds your requirements. We feel that adds to our differentiation.”

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Ted Gutierrez is the CEO and co-founder of SecurityGate, a SaaS platform for OT cyber improvement.

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Building Houston

 
 

Baylor College of Medicine's Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower is set to open in 2026. Rendering courtesy of BCM

Baylor College of Medicine has collected $100 million toward its $150 million fundraising goal for the college’s planned Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.

The $100 million in gifts include:

  • A total of $30 million from The Cullen Foundation, The Cullen Trust for Health Care, and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education.
  • $12 million from the DeBakey Medical Foundation
  • $10 million from the Huffington Foundation
  • More than $45 million from members of Baylor’s Board of Trustees and other community donors, including the M.D. Anderson Foundation, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, and The Elkins Foundation.

“The Cullen Trust for Health Care is very honored to support this building along with The Cullen Foundation and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education,” Cullen Geiselman Muse, chair of The Cullen Trust for Health Care, says in a news release. “We cannot wait to see what new beginnings will come from inside the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.”

The Baylor campus is next to Texas Medical Center’s Helix Park, a 37-acre project. Rendering courtesy of BCM

The Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower is set to open in 2026. The 503,000-square-foot tower is the first phase of Baylor’s planned Health Sciences Park, an 800,000-square-foot project that will feature medical education and research adjacent to patient care at Baylor Medicine and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on the McNair Campus.

The Baylor campus is next to Texas Medical Center’s Helix Park, a 37-acre project that will support healthcare, life sciences, and business ventures. Baylor is the anchor tenant in the first building being constructed at Helix Park.

“To really change the future of health, we need a space that facilitates the future,” says Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO, and executive dean of Baylor. “We need to have a great building to recruit great talent. Having a place where our clinical programs are located, where our data scientists are, next to a biotech development center, and having our medical students all integrated into that environment will allow them to be ready in the future for where healthcare is going.”

In the 1940s, Lillie and Roy Cullen and the M.D. Anderson Foundation were instrumental in establishing the Texas Medical Center, which is now the world’s largest medical complex.

“Baylor is the place it is today because of philanthropy,” Klotman says. “The Cullen family, the M.D. Anderson Foundation, and the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation have been some of Baylor’s most devoted champions, which has enabled Baylor to mold generations of exceptional health sciences professionals. It is fitting that history is repeating itself with support for this state-of-the-art education building.”

The Cullen Foundation donated $30 million to the project. Rendering courtesy of BCM

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