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CISOs Have the Toughest Job in the World
For CISOs, stress comes with the territory
Today’s CISOs face daunting challenges. They are constantly fending off increasingly sophisticated attacks, balancing scarce resources, and working with a board that too often doesn’t understand the inevitability of a breach and the criticality of the CISO’s role. So it’s not surprising that CISOs are experiencing damaging levels of stress, according to the Life Inside the Perimeter: Understanding the Modern CISO 1 report, published earlier this year.
- 100% of CISOs surveyed find their role stressful, with 91% saying they suffer moderate or high stress.
- 88% of CISOs are doing more than the average 40-hour work week, with 60% saying they rarely disconnect.
- 25% think the job has had an impact on their mental or physical health (or both), as well as their personal and family relationships.
- Nearly 17% of CISOs are either medicating or using alcohol to deal with job stress.
The stakes are high
In the information security game, stakes are high and challenges can be overwhelming:
- At risk are a company’s sensitive data, revenue, profits, reputation, and customer loyalty.
- Anywhere a line of code is present provides an opportunity for attack, regardless of sector.
- The enterprise attack surface is massive and continues to grow exponentially.
- Analyzing and improving cybersecurity posture is not a human scale problem anymore.
- Any employee can make a single mistake by clicking on a bad link or forget to patch a system in a timely manner. Every employee is an attack vector.
- Data signals that need to be analyzed and monitored run in the billions.
- Badly needed talent is always in short supply.
At the start and end of every attack, there are people; whether this is a criminal launching attacks or a security team trying to stop them. The majority of CISOs say they don’t have enough resources to defend the organization they are trying to protect.
Factors contributing to CISO stress
CISOs are working hard, with nearly 60% of those questioned saying they rarely or never disconnect from their security duties, and 22% saying that they are available virtually 24/7:
- This situation is contributing to a significant feeling of anxiety for the CISO.
- When asked which technical facet of the job drives the most stress, CISOs pointed the finger at “staying ahead of threats” (33%), securing the network (28%), and securing endpoints (26%).
- Added to that, only 60% of CISOs think their CEO believes a breach is inevitable.
- Roughly one-third of CISOs think they would receive a warning or be fired in the event of a breach.
For the CISO, the personal cost seems to be accumulating:
- Over a quarter of those questioned (26.5%) said the stress of the job is impacting their physical or mental health.
- Just as worryingly, nearly a quarter (23%) admitted that the job had also eroded personal relationships.
- Nearly 17% of CISOs say that they are medicating or using alcohol to deal with job stress, even though this is not a healthy or sustainable strategy.
- As more of a professional concern, 27.5% of CISOs also admit that stress levels are affecting their ability to do their job.
Strategies for relieving stress
On a professional level, CISOs say that these three things would reduce their job stress:
- Automation using AI and machine learning
- Getting complete visibility into the enterprise cybersecurity posture
- Building the right team
- Having the right reporting tools to effectively communicate “the CISO story”
On a personal level, CISOs can use these coping mechanisms to regain perspective and reduce stress:
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Switching off from the job
- Taking time away to avoid burnout
The buck stops here
When a company suffers a breach, everyone looks to the CISO for answers. Sad to say – it is part of the job description that everyone sees the CISOs failures (i.e., breaches) and almost no one sees their successes (prevented attacks).
Balbix can be a strong technology partner to CISOs as they deploy a proactive protection strategy within the enterprise, one that uses AI-powered cybersecurity to gain 100x better visibility, greatly improved team efficiency, a 95% reduction in breach risk, and high-impact, risk-based reporting to the board.
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Hard assets are physical or tangible assets that hold value and are normally held for the long term. In addition to tangibility, they are also visible and are considered an investable asset because of their intrinsic value. Companies and individuals can purchase and own hard assets for revenue growth and increase production.
Hard assets are non-perishable and possess intrinsic value. They also act as a hedge against inflation, as their value changes inversely to changes in the value of soft assets and non-physical assets. However, such an inverse relationship does not always hold true. As an investment alternative, hard assets provide security in times of uncertainty, market instability, and volatility. They retain value regardless of how far their market prices may drop.
- Hard asset investments are a good investment alternative to conventional soft assets, such as stocks and bonds. Their principal characteristic is tangibility.
- They are an excellent hedge against inflation and their real use and scarcity are where their value is derived.
- Hard assets offer excellent diversification benefits due to their low correlation with soft assets.
Examples of Hard Assets
- Real estate
- Gold, Silver, Platinum & other precious metals
- Oil, Natural gas & other resources
- Equipment and machinery
- Vehicles / Classic cars
Commodity hard assets include energy and alternative energy products, precious metals, agricultural products, forestry products, and base and industrial metals. Hard assets usually track inflation trends to retain value, and their demand does not falter. It is largely true for hard assets such as oil and real estate.
The opposite of hard assets is intangible assets, which are non-physical in nature but hold value. Intangibles include assets such as goodwill, trademarks, patents, etc. There are also soft assets such as stocks and bonds.
Investing in Hard Assets
- There is a high demand for hard assets from individuals and companies as alternative investment options. Some investors particularly like such assets because of their tangibility and physicality. Hard assets can be good investments, as they offer benefits that other investments lack.
- Hard asset investments add diversity to traditional portfolios of stocks and fixed-income instruments.
- The investments offer competitive returns that can outperform most conventional investment assets.
- Hard assets also show a high correlation with inflation, making them perfect hedges.
- There is a possibility of improving the risk/reward profile of a portfolio by including hard assets in the asset mix.
- Hard assets usually demonstrate a low correlation with conventional investments, such as stocks and bonds; hence, their inclusion adds value to a portfolio through diversification.
- Investment in hard assets does not need regular or daily check-ups like with stock investing, where every piece of news on the stock can affect the price. With hard asset investing it is a sit back and watch investment.
- Hard assets do not lose their value by more than 10% or 50% in a day typical of stocks. Their value, if eroded, happens gradually.
Opportunities for Hard Asset Investing
Performance drivers for mainstream stocks are largely different from those that drive hard assets. The two asset classes react differently to changing market conditions. Hard assets tend to outperform equities during periods of global growth, moderate inflation, and high interest rates. Inversely, equities tend to outperform hard assets during periods of slow growth and low inflation.
The above factors present an opportunity for hard asset investing if predictions by global financial institutions, such as IMF and World Bank, indicate strong global growth and positive consumption patterns for commodities and base metals.
Other opportunities come from optimistic growth estimates for global industry and manufacturing powerhouse countries that consume hard assets such as commodities and natural resources notably the USA, China, Japan, Germany, etc.
Forecasts of a global economy heating up will indicate rising inflation, which is usually greeted with a sense of panic by most investors. However, it is an opportunity where investing in hard assets can prove to be advantageous. Hard asset investment as an addition to the portfolio will offer a hedge against inflation, as well as provide diversification benefits.
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