Quite often enterprises appoint new CISOs to take over the charge when they suffer a security incident. There are a few skills and traits that these ‘crisis CISOs’ need to effectively navigate the chaotic environment of an enterprise.
The status of CISOs has been immensely elevated in the past few years. They witnessed immense popularity and a greater influence over the board when the enterprise landscape went through a digital transformation at an unprecedented pace and needed security leadership oversight to protect the infrastructure.
However, the CISOs that enjoyed the most power and influence were the ‘crisis CISOs’. These C-suite executives are appointed by enterprises in the aftermath of cyberattacks. Enterprises rush to bring these leaders when organizations are unsure what they require and need someone who can assess their cybersecurity capabilities, pinpoint their problems and close their gaps.
However, enterprises shouldn’t neglect the incumbent CISOs; experts say that they too can deliver immense value in times of crisis. These CISOs should strive to develop the required skills and temperament for leading the organization through crisis. This will not only help them successfully navigate the challenges but will also help them in advancing their careers.
Being part of a niche class of CISOs, the crisis CISOs like to take on challenges that come with crisis-driven environments. Some of the traits that make them the perfect fit for the assigned job include:
Leading the crisis
Most enterprises appoint CISOs who have previous experience in handling high-pressure situations. Enterprise executives believe that their organization will benefit from the skillset and a fresh perspective that the crisis CISOs can bring to the table.
Crisis CISOs have a knack for quickly identifying gaps in the current cybersecurity infrastructure and can persuade the C-suite executives to make the investments required to close these gaps.
Thrive in chaotic environments
Not all CISOs demonstrate capabilities such as business, leadership and security skills required to work in a stressful post-incident situation. This is mostly the case with incumbent CISOs who may not have enough experience under their belt or been through such drastic circumstances.
Crisis CISOs can not only take charge in mission-critical post-security incidents but also demonstrate empathy for those who had to suffer through the attack. The crisis CISOs can also skillfully handle unexpected challenges they encounter every day. Furthermore, they can create advanced security strategies and are willing to challenge their counterparts for their execution.
Identify growth opportunities
To be an effective crisis CISO, one must be able to take on tasks that allow them display their capabilities for an immense amount of growth. Given the recent spike in cyberattacks, CISOs across the enterprise landscape will have immense growth opportunities. But, if they don’t educate themselves for the crisis mode, they won’t be able to handle the situations effectively as a crisis CISO.
Today’s cybersecurity landscape provides a fertile ground for attackers to fulfill their malicious intent. Hence, CISOs must adapt and integrate the traits of the crisis ones to not only reduce the probability of another breach but also to increase their chances of quick recovery for their respective enterprises.
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