How can CISO’s increase their strategic value to a company?
The primary role of a Chief Information and Security Officer (CISO) is to understand the organisation’s cyber threat landscape by identifying and preventing threats. However, their role does not end there. There are numerous things a CISO can do in order to improve the strategic value they provide to the company.
The Importance Of A CISO In An Organisation
With the increase of sophisticated cyber-attacks, the importance of the Board of Directors and the CEO in a company also increases rapidly. The CISO has an important role to play when it comes to weighing in on board-level decisions that affect the strategic objectives of an organisation. The Board of Directors often finds themselves relying on their CISO to design security programs to promote growth and revenue.
In today’s digital world, cybersecurity greatly reduces risk and prevents threats associated with ransomware and phishing attacks. An organised CISO contributes to the momentum of their company. Measuring the contribution of the CISO in financial terms and how much security they deliver to the organisation is vital to understanding their value. CISOs are also vital now as they are the ones implementing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that better illustrate the business value of cybersecurity in organisations.
Demonstrating the business value of cybersecurity can help simplify the revenue functions of an organisation. Historically, cybersecurity is a difficult sell to any organisation, and CISOs have traditionally focused purely on IT administration like OS, software patching and firmware updates. The comprehensive list of vulnerabilities discovered, patches applied in an organisation, and phishing attack vectors provide value that only the CISO can use.
Understanding The Organisation’s Business Objectives
It is vital that the CISO understands the objectives and strategies of their business. They should also be fully aware of how the risk to information assets for the organisation can affect the security objectives. Once the CISO understands what is essential to a business, they can then build a security program that is aligned and complementary to the business objectives.
Do Not Solely Focus On I.T
CISOs often focus too much on technology to support security programs. Understanding and implementing overall risk management and business strategy is equally important. The Board of Directors will not be just looking for technical skills; they also want their CISOs to be able to provide cost-effective security and manage overall risk.
Be Aware Of Changing Regulatory Requirements
As new threats emerge, CISOs must also be conscious of constant changes to regulations and industry standards. For example, GDPR and POPIA are relatively new regulations without a defined framework to support the implementation of these regulations. CISOs must be aware of industry standards so that they can ensure the alignment of their organisation to these changing requirements and make sure it is in support of the regulations.
Become A Leader
CISOs must always respond to employee needs and constantly lead them and encourage their development. A CISO is only as strong as the team that they lead, and continuity is essential to the effectiveness of security programs and business strategies.
Manage Third-Parties Effectively
Third-parties are often the source of a cyberattack that infiltrates the core business of an organisation. This is why there must be an effective third-party management program in place that includes due diligence processes and periodic checks. It is therefore important that a CISO is capable of handling such scenarios effectively.
The Next Steps
CISOs have a lot of responsibility in keeping the attackers out and proactively improving the organisation’s security posture. It is essential to understand that the role of the modern CISO is expanding and evolving as fast as the organisation’s attack surface.