Successful CISOs Do These Five Things

CISOs bring their niche expertise to bear on organizational data security — all on limited budgets and under mounting pressure. What are the best ways to get the job done?

Today, organizations face a diverse range of threats to their information security. From malicious insider attacks to organized cybercrime, securing proprietary data and protecting corporate reputations has never been more challenging.

For CISOs across industries and enterprises, managing these issues is the name of the game — albeit a game that’s getting more difficult by the year. Indeed, 84% of CISOs in North America now believe that security breaches are inevitable, according to a recent report from Kaspersky Lab. While it’s impossible to guarantee that breaches won’t occur with 100% certainty, it is possible for CISOs to pursue intelligent strategies — from the technical to the managerial — in order to protect their organizations as best they can.

Security directors wondering how they can keep pace with industry best practices should consider what other successful CISOs do to keep their organizations safe. With the following five strategies, you can help your security team do its part to ward off mounting threats.


1. Tap into the Culture

Understanding your organization’s approach to data security is key. In some companies, the data security operation works in a primarily consultative way, in which leaders from other departments approach CISOs and their teams to get insight into proposed initiatives. In other companies, cybersecurity is a more active part of the organization’s planning, moving in step with other teams as projects get off the ground.

For CISOs, it’s essential to adapt data security strategies to the prevailing IT culture of your company. While a certain amount of wiggle room is possible, making sure that security protocols are synchronized with your company’s workflow is essential to long-term adoption.


2. Explain in the Vernacular

As your company’s CISO, you serve as a messenger — from the C-suite to your organization’s other departments. Accordingly, make sure you’re speaking to them in terms they understand regarding issues related to data, security, and risk. If you’re providing insights into information on your proposals, for example, break it down so they can comprehend the value and confidence you’re bringing to the table.

Research underscores how important it is to be an effective messenger for security needs. According to the Kaspersky Lab report, only 58% of CISOs say they’re adequately involved in business decision-making, with 34% of CISOs explaining that they’re only brought to the board to weigh in on issues relating specifically to data-security. To make the most of the limited opportunities that you may be given, it’s important to be as clear as possible when explaining your departmental goals and corresponding needs.


3. Understand Your Assets

No matter your industry, CISOs need to have a firm, up-to-date command of what company assets and information they’re protecting. Given recent trends in the IT space, this has only become more critical. A recent report from Bitglass on BYOD security shows that 85% of companies “are embracing bring your own device (BYOD).” Paired with the rise of edge computing and the IoT, CISOs face a growing array of new challenges that they’ll need to factor into their overall cybersecurity strategy.

By taking inventory of your company’s assets and the new ways in which employees are using personal devices in the workplace, security directors can gain insight into their company’s IT ecosystem — and design appropriate data security protocols accordingly.


4. Connect Across Departments

Security directors work at the intersection of sales, IT, and risk. This means that they have a unique opportunity to forge relationships with leaders and team members across other core departments.

Because so many cybersecurity strategies rely on feeding company information into secure, consolidated databases, gaining the buy-in of other team leaders is a must. By building connections, you’ll be better positioned to demonstrate how your goals align with the needs of other departments.


5. Find the Right Partners

CISOs today face a similar conundrum: how do you protect your organization against increasingly sophisticated threats on limited budgets? More and more often, security directors are forging external partnerships with managed IT services companies in order to solve this dilemma.

By doing so, CISOs can incorporate insights from leading cybersecurity experts into their overall data protection initiatives. And, without having to make costly internal hires or expensive capital investments in new software and hardware, they can make their departmental budget stretch even further.

Working with managed services providers for your cybersecurity needs isn’t a replacement for existing IT departments. Instead, it allows you to augment your data security strategy with professional support that reduces your overhead and brings immediate results.

When it comes to managed IT services, Turn-key Technologies (TTI) is the right security partner for the job. With over two decades of experience helping CISOs secure critical data against cyberattacks, TTI brings the requisite expertise to the table. As CISOs seek out new ways to combat growing security threats, managed services providers like TTI will become an increasingly essential partner for enterprises in need of reliably secure networks.

By Craig Badrick


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