By ensuring that the CISOs viewpoint is heard by the board, security will become a key priority for the company, its workforce, and its customers.
In the security industry, CISOs occupy a unique position – as security leaders, they have the power and authority to purchase products and make decisions that can have a significant impact on an organization’s security posture. In the event that a security incident becomes public, they are also expected to fall on their sword.
However, the position of the CISO is as varied as it is dynamic, shifting significantly depending on the company, and it is a role that is always evolving. The following are three things CISOs wish everyone knew.
The Role of the CISO is Constantly Evolving
CISOs were seen as an isolated figure, when the need for a security leader initially arose as internet and computing became prevalent. Other members of the company saw the function as that of a subject matter expert, someone who could put out fires and handle security issues on their own. The less the CISO was heard from by other departments of the company, the better.
This relationship has transformed rapidly over the last decade, in tandem with the evolution of security threats and solutions. Data breaches are increasingly creating headlines, influencing share prices, and resulting in high-profile board member resignations.
Today, the industry is seeing a trend where CISOs directly report to the CEO in order to keep the updated about the security issues. This role elevates security leaders from trusted subject-matter experts to a risk adviser, a far more complex function inside the business ecosystem. The CISO’s job becomes significantly more politically sensitive as a result of this responsibility.
For instance, a CISO may be required to report vulnerabilities or weaknesses that fall under the CIO’s purview and may have the potential for causing executive conflict. This is why it’s critical for the CISO to have an unfiltered and direct line of communication with the CEO, so that politics isn’t factored into decisions that must be made solely with risk mitigation in mind.
Furthermore, by increasing the visibility and significance of a company’s cybersecurity program, security experts not only need to take responsibility for technology decisions but also for problem solving to minimize risk and boost long-term performance and development. User policies, business controls, and supplier assessments are all part of a best-practices cybersecurity program that benefits the entire enterprise ecosystem.
CISOs Can Assist Other Business Units
Because security is becoming more important to broader business processes, CISOs have more opportunities to assist in other areas of the business. The CISO, for instance, can provide guidance on best practices to help customers configure their own security systems. This is especially crucial if the customer has not yet matured to the point where they have their own CISO. This advisory function can be critical in cultivating, sustaining, and building good working relationships with customers, as well as assisting the company in generating new revenue sources.
This is especially important for CISOs who work for security firms: being able to relay product technical knowledge as both a salesperson and a practitioner can be quite helpful. As company spokespeople and influencers, CISOs may be immensely valuable to their organizations in terms of “soft power”
Emerging Technology Conversations: Ethics at the Forefront
It’s critical that ethical considerations remain at the forefront of discussions about new and emerging technology. There are a variety of new solutions to secure the corporate settings as the speed of technological progress accelerates tremendously.
Threat actors have access to every new tool, defensive approach, or technique produced by defensive security teams to protect against threats. This is especially alarming when considering the well-funded criminal and state-sponsored organizations for whom cybercrime has become a primary objective.
The prospect of reverse engineering must be considered during the creation of these technologies, including input from industry and experts, as well as regulatory frameworks. Technology has no morals or allegiances, and it can be used by anyone for any objective. For security leaders, this indicates that any decision to implement innovative new technology, although it looks to be the ideal tool for their requirements, must also assess how resilient, or secure, this new solution is from reverse engineering.
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