The Evolving Role of the CISO: From Critic to Enabler

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The Evolving Role of the CISO: From Critic to Enabler

The role of the CISO is evolving at a greater pace than ever before. Security leaders can no longer accept the position of enforcer, and should instead transition to a new role: the enabler. Today’s CISOs have the chance to help their companies expand by providing a digital experience that delights customers while minimizing digital risk.

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) aren’t usually thought of as business enablers. Their primary role is to protect the company’s sensitive data and operational services, which naturally makes businesses risk-averse. Experimentation, failure, and recalibration are all part of the process of business innovation. A single incidence of failure for the CISO, on the other hand, can be disastrous.

However, as digital transformation disrupts traditional business models and the pace of technological change accelerates, the role of the CISO should be reconsidered. Information security is more critical than ever, but so is the need to use technology to drive business innovation. Balancing that equation necessitates a change in strategy. CISOs should aspire to offer the proper environment for secure business innovation, rather than focusing only on how to safeguard existing environments. Even better, the CISO should be a catalyst for innovation.

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The good news is that many of the same technologies that are used to secure environments can be repurposed to enable new use cases with considerable business transformation potential. In addition, new capabilities are constantly being developed. Below are a few possibilities:

Machine learning is being used to drastically reduce the time taken for an application to reach the market

Cloud designs have not only changed the way infrastructure is handled, but they have also changed the way software is developed. Modern development methodologies, such as agile and DevOps, encourage significantly more frequent code releases. While this allows businesses to quickly implement new business functionality and capabilities, it also presents issues for the CISO’s office.

CISOs should upgrade their application security program to meet with the growing cadence of code releases. Wherever they exist today, AppSec programs rely on limited human capital to intervene and make judgments during the development process. Humans have always been a bottleneck, but it’s no longer feasible in today’s world of rapid development. The system can eliminate existing human contacts to a large extent with the help of technology based judgments – using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to grasp everything that is happening within the development process. This is a major gain for the CIO since it reduces friction in the development process and consequently reduces time to market. It’s also a victory for the CISO because their security professionals can devote their attention to the issues that require it.

The value of data is being leveraged

The CISO’s greatest opportunity, however, is in the area of data. The big data revolution is gaining traction, with businesses of all sizes collecting ever-increasing volumes and types of data at ever-faster speeds. That data has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of business operations by offering insights on markets, finances, processes, customers, goods, and services. However, there are a growing number of use cases where businesses can monetize data and share it with partners, clients, or industry counterparts to generate even more genuine bottom-line financial value. When was the last time the CISO assisted in the creation of a whole new revenue stream for the company?

The problem stems from the fact that data privacy regulations and laws exist all over the world that ban the exchange of information that contains personally identifiable information. To meet that need, businesses need to share access to and process data in a way that protects the privacy of individuals, while also leveraging data to enable new use cases and make profits

Also Read: Three Things CISOs Want Everyone to Know

Homomorphic encryption makes it possible to accomplish just that. Data is encrypted, making sure that no personally identifiable information is leaked, yet it can still be queried. The complete spectrum of use cases made possible by such secure, anonymous data sharing is still being developed. However, tremendous progress has already been accomplished in areas that manage extremely sensitive personal data, such as financial services and healthcare. Nevertheless, the capacity to securely share data can benefit a wide range of industries, giving companies access to larger data sets from which to derive deeper and broader insights and new business opportunities from which to generate new revenue streams.

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