Leading businesses across industries are pushing their security leaders to focus on aspects of the business that they hadn’t considered before. Product development, sales, and general board interactions are forcing CSOs, CISOs, and other security leaders to take on roles that go beyond their typical IT responsibilities.
This transformation in organizational needs necessitates a different set of abilities in security leaders than ever before—qualities that go beyond typical technical abilities. The finest security leaders are those who have the expertise and capability to hold the technical component of the business accountable.
When hiring or developing a security leader, businesses should examine the following critical characteristics.
Strategic planning and thinking
A strong leader is required to provide guidance and direction to organizations. That leader should prioritize the most important risks and threats to the company, then design a strategy to address those risks and challenges. This plan should result in a variety of measures aimed at improving the company’s security posture. The security team should prepare to carry out those initiatives while adhering to the strategy and plan.
The mind-set of a fire-fighter
The so-called “firefighter’s attitude” is required of a successful security leader. Security leaders should have the same mind-set – they should prioritize proactive action to prevent problems, but should not hesitate to intervene if something goes wrong. Furthermore, they pursue the most vulnerable enterprises and industries, when others are focused on self-preservation. A competent security leader will be enthralled by roles that will put their abilities to both fight and prevent fires to the test, which in today’s world encompasses almost every industry.
A balanced communication approach is crucial in high-risk circumstances. The security leader should be able to synthesize potentially alarming data in a way that inspires urgency but not panic. The security leader should be able to communicate business risks or gap evaluations, as well as potential solutions, to the board or the entire organization in a way that inspires confidence rather than fear.
A good leader should be able to explain the intricacies of their security awareness program in simple words. They must understand what information should be included in broader communications to the entire organization, as well as the messages that are most effective within different functions of the organization. Gamification or awards, for example, might work well with sales teams, whilst a more technical approach might work well with product or service teams.
People make or break a security organization. When people believe in the mission, and are challenged with exciting work, their skills continue to develop, and they have faith in their leadership, and they stay with the company. This type of atmosphere is created by a strong security leader in order to promote and nurture talent. This enables them to form great teams.
Everything has been meticulously documented
Everything should be well-documented, whether it’s a strategy, processes, playbooks, or plans to implement strategic initiatives. A strong security leader will promote a culture of openness and transparency in the team, encouraging them to keep meticulous records. This is beneficial not only to employee morale and the company’s security posture, but it also allows rules and processes to be evaluated and constructively challenged in order to be improved.