Keys to a Successful CISO-Vendor Collaboration

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Keys to a Successful CISO-Vendor Collaboration

Fostering a positive relationship with security vendors is critical for CISOs to empower them to keep up with industry changes, offering competitive analysis on alternative solutions, and building confidence in order to take on major partner-enabled initiatives. 

Security success depends on effective cooperation and collaboration between CISOs and their cybersecurity vendors. A well-oiled relationship based on trust, communication, and shared understanding can significantly help a company’s cybersecurity posture. 

Given the growing number and nature of cyber threats and its explosive impact on any business, it is critical for CISOs to establish and maintain the best possible relationships with their vendors. However, it takes time and work to do so. 

What CISOs look for in a security provider 

The most crucial first step in building a solid working relationship for any CISO is to have a clear grasp of what should be the expectation from a security vendor. While particular qualifications may vary from one company to the next, there are a few universally acceptable pre-requisites. 

For compliance and assurance that money is being wisely spent, a specified context of the engagement with concrete KPIs and quantifiable deliverables and/or reporting is essential.  The extent of the engagement for security services or a security product/solution is crucial for the CISO to understand the duties and accountability that vendor should have in SLA. A silo or gap can be formed if there is a lack of clarity.

Also Read: Why CISOs Need a New Approach to Enhance Attack Surface Visibility

CISOs should look at integration points and determine the effort and the cost of the security requisites. Furthermore, who will serve as the technical champion on the team, and what continuous operational and technological engagement will they bring to the table, as well as how their technology will evolve. The conversation with the vendor also needs to encompass the future plans, developments and innovations that they may be able to provide for the client company. The CISO can take the lead on that, with their organizational insights and technology expertise, while the vendor can take leads form the needs of the organization to develop better support. The CISO is aware of the business objectives, the market risks and also the capability to evolve that his teams have. This should actually be a big point of working together for better security solutions that meet the business requirements of the organization.

What do security vendors expect from a CISO? 

Any business engagement is a two-way street; therefore, CISOs must understand the expectations of a security vendor from the organization, as well. Customers must be upfront and honest in order to create a good relationship and provide the most incredible experience possible. Since firms are increasingly dependent on flexible, cloud-native, open solutions, this honesty should extend to being upfront about which other vendors are in the mix. 

While no single vendor can ensure protection against every threat, providers are best positioned to adapt to a company’s demands when there is complete transparency on those needs. For some CISOs, sharing information on threat groups, attack methodologies, and sector-specific threat patterns, for example, might be daunting. 

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