Operations

8/17/2015
09:15 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

CISOs Spend Too Much Time On Tech, Not Enough On Strategy

Deloitte's CISO Transition Lab finds CISOs spend 77 percent of their time on technical aspects of the job, and is helping them become more strategic.

A chief information security officer (CISO) has four faces, according to the Deloitte CISO Transition Lab: the technologist, the guardian of computing assets, the advisor, and the strategist. Although CISOs would rather devote only 35 percent of their time to the technical aspects of their jobs -- as technologists and guardians --  they're devoting 77 percent of their time to those duties, according to Deloitte. 

Some new chief information security officers hit the ground running. More often, though, they stay mired in old habits,  like focusing too much on technology and tactics or getting tangled in new corporate politics. To address this problem, Deloitte Cyber Risk Services created the CISO Transition Lab last year to get new CISOs on the right track quickly.

The Transition Lab creates one-day training sessions, and each one is customized for just one individual. As Mike Wood, CISO of Integris described it, he went to the event not knowing what to expect. He saw a whole classroom, full of whiteboards, with different stations set up to address different subjects -- all for one student. "All of that was just for me," said Wood.

Mike Wyatt, director of Cyber Risk Services for Deloitte Advisory, explains that before the one-day CISO training, the Deloitte Transition Lab facilitator will spend about six weeks gathering up information. They'll learn about the organization and any particular projects that affect security. They'll talk to all the major stakeholders and discuss their own "hopes and fears for the new CISO," says Wyatt.

"So there's a lot of context building ... The level of candor and specificity we discover is surprising," says Wyatt, but generally, he says, it's because the stakeholders all want the new CISO to succeed.

All this information is used to develop the training program during which the facilitator imparts some information, but also extracts information by asking the CISO some big questions -- about their own role, their strategy, their chemistry with teammates, and more.

"A lot of times they haven't had the time to slow down and think about those types of questions," says Wyatt.

The facilitators help identify what the CISO's challenges are, determine how to proceed differently, and develop a roadmap for the next three to six months.

In its first year, the CISO Transition Lab noticed certain common threads.

"Almost inevitably there is a lot of time being spent on technology," but they need to spend more time enabling the business mission, says Wyatt.

"If you're very technology-focused," says Tim Callahan, CISO of AFLAC, "you're generally going to look at technology as the answer. And it's really not."

Callahan, who says he went into the transition lab with an "'it couldn't hurt' attitude," came out "very impressed," noting that the solutions are in the people and the process, not the technology. He was looking for help in establishing better cross-function governance and designing a strategy that could "absorb the threat of the day."

The goal, says Callahan is to "morph into the visionary leader, not the tactician."

Wood agrees. "[The lab] changed how I approached things. I was still focused on the same tactical things." Now he says, he has broadened his perspective. After the lab he met with other stakeholders in his organization and has made the security strategy better aligned with what the rest of the business is doing.

Both CISOs say that their infosec staff members want to know how their work aligns with the business, and that the companies' increasing awareness of security is helping. Wood says his company, Integris, decided it wants to be "'the most trusted name in healthcare,' and we see that as something we can really align with."

"AFLAC is just a wonderful, wonderful company that cares about its clients," says Callahan. "Keeping information secure and keeping the bad guys out is an extension of our corporate culture."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
j1mmyd
50%
50%
j1mmyd,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/7/2015 | 9:56:01 AM
Re: Tech Only one Piece of the framework
Nice advert for Deloitte.
bilharmer
50%
50%
bilharmer,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/20/2015 | 12:57:16 PM
Re: Tech Only one Piece of the framework
Agreed.  We have teched ourselves to death and have left a lot of companies "checkbox vulnerable".  We need to be looking at the direction of the company, the business plans and the processes that are being used to support that direction.  
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2015 | 9:58:52 AM
Tech Only one Piece of the framework
Yes very true, technology is only one piece of your security framework. Without stategy tech will not be utilized to its maximum efficiency and further money will be spent trying to close the gaps. If the stategic management life cycle is applied to a security framework, then strategy will be reviewed on a regular basis as well as other pieces of your framework.
Crowdsourced vs. Traditional Pen Testing
Alex Haynes, Chief Information Security Officer, CDL,  3/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Reading Schneier's Friday Squid Blog again?
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
Organizations are responding to new threats with new processes for detecting and mitigating them. Here's a look at how the discipline of incident response is evolving.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-6149
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-18
An unquoted search path vulnerability was identified in Lenovo Dynamic Power Reduction Utility prior to version 2.2.2.0 that could allow a malicious user with local access to execute code with administrative privileges.
CVE-2018-15509
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-18
Five9 Agent Desktop Plus 10.0.70 has Incorrect Access Control (issue 2 of 2).
CVE-2018-20806
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-17
Phamm (aka PHP LDAP Virtual Hosting Manager) 0.6.8 allows XSS via the login page (the /public/main.php action parameter).
CVE-2019-5616
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-15
CircuitWerkes Sicon-8, a hardware device used for managing electrical devices, ships with a web-based front-end controller and implements an authentication mechanism in JavaScript that is run in the context of a user's web browser.
CVE-2018-17882
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-15
An Integer overflow vulnerability exists in the batchTransfer function of a smart contract implementation for CryptoBotsBattle (CBTB), an Ethereum token. This vulnerability could be used by an attacker to create an arbitrary amount of tokens for any user.