Four Ways CISOs can Strengthen Stakeholder Trust

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Four Ways CISOs can Strengthen Stakeholder Trust
With cybersecurity taking center stage in today’ business operations, it is time for organizations to push the role of CISOs as much as the role of CEOs to capitalize on their public perception.

Cybersecurity has been on top of the mind of every major business executive, given the rapid surge in cyber threats in the past couple of years. With public demand for more transparency about their data at its height, organizations are forced to find better ways to deal with data at their disposal. Today, cybersecurity which was merely considered an afterthought by many enterprises has become the primary agenda when developing growth strategies for organizations. This also means CISOs that mostly prefer to live in the shadow of the organization helping to defend it against cyber-threats will need to become more visible in the public’s eyes. 

CISOs roles have evolved from back-office controls and risk mitigation functions to influential individuals among the board of directors. They are responsible for protecting the organizations against rising cyber-attacks that not only cost in terms of revenue but also brand reputation. As CISOs take on the role of enabler in the rapid digital transformation journey of organizations, the significance of their role will continue to increase amongst business leaders and the public. 

Today, CISOs are increasingly being called upon to contribute as thought leaders and experts in the eyes of external stakeholders. Also, with many organizations benefiting from the robust personalities of their CEOs, given the cybersecurity challenges of the marketplace, an argument can be made that putting CISOs at the forefront can also be beneficial.

Also Read: Achieving More Effective Threat Detection and Response with Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture

While elevating and celebrating the role of CISO could give malicious actors an extra incentive to target the organizations, the benefits obtained from it far outweigh the cons.

Here are a few practices that CISOs should adopt to earn the trust of all stakeholders:

  • Using their personal brand

Before building their personal brand as a CISO, individuals should understand their purpose. They should ask themselves why they are making their brand. What are they hoping to achieve? This will help them get the right answers that will lay a strong foundation for building trust. 

  • Operate through the lens of trust

Earning the trust of stakeholders may take years, but losing it may take a few minutes. The hard pill CISOs need to swallow is that there is no such thing as ‘off the record’ as a public figure. Meaning they should be meticulous before making a statement

Before speaking, posting, or acting on any decisions, CISOs should ask themselves the question of whether their action will inspire trust or erode it. They should maintain an open and honest approach with their audience if their goal is to build trust with them.

  • Choose a platform

Even though it is known as a personal brand, most of the content associated with it will center on the professional expertise of CISOs. As they embark on the journey to stand apart from the competitors and aspiring CISOs, they should focus on educating a diverse audience on a topic that they feel is essential and yet not understood by many. 

Also Read: CISOs Need to Deal with Burnout Drivers

  • Seek the advice of experts

Since CISOs’ expertise lies in information security, their majority of focus should revolve around it. When building and maintaining their personal brand, they should seek out experts. If their organization is pushing them to be ‘more public-facing,’ they should request what resources are available to create content, maintain social media presence, and prepare for traditional media opportunities. 

CISOs should be on the endeavor to get ahead of the competition via their personal brand. However, they should never forget that their aim is not to become famous but rather to advance business objectives and results by building, maintaining, and strengthening stakeholder trust. 

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