Operations // Careers & People

Top Advice for CISOs

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It's not all about vulnerabilities and security technology. Some of the soft skills are the hardest ones for CISOs to deploy.

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tmccreight
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tmccreight,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 2:34:32 PM
Changing our approach
I really enjoyed the comments from Richard and Andy in the video.  I can relate to their comments and truly believe if all a CISO can do is talk about jargon and risks at a technical level, they will never be truly appreciated by their business peers.

We need to hone our communication skills and speak to business in their terms.  It's a tough skill to master, but when you begin focusing your message at a business level, you'll see a far different response from business leaders.  I've watched it - it's interesting to see how your position in an organization can change if you focus on supporting the business and become an enabler, instead of someone who can only say "no".
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2014 | 7:57:33 PM
Re: Changing our approach
tmccreight, I agree very much with your statement that points need to be delineated in a manner that is clearly understable to all. There is an element that is lost in translation when you are overly technical and I think the gravity of most situations can be better grasped with simplicity. 

Also, there needs to be a balance between yes-Security, no-Security and cosi-cosi security. I think the business plan and policies here is what will guide security decisions here. What is the overall goal? How to be secure while maintaining workflow, things of this nature.

My biggest interest in the video was with the technical engineer from Rapid7, in regards to his statement about the holistic view. What are peoples thoughts on; Do we want the best security tools from different vendors (possibly not purchased all at once) or is the benefit in one vendor many tools? Some times the different tools from multiple vendors may not mesh as well but singularly they can be quite an asset; whereas, tools all under one brand may mesh fantastically together but may not perform as well as the industry leaders. Thoughts to this?
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
4/1/2014 | 10:38:32 AM
Re: Changing our approach
@tmccreight  As you say, "it's interesting to see how your position in an organization can change if you focus on supporting the business and become an enabler, instead of someone who can only say 'no.'"

One thing I wasn't able to include in the video was something else that Andy Ellis from Akamai said. I asked him about budget. And he said that if you feel like you don't have enough budget, then you're probably not spending what you have well. You're not showing the value of security and of your department, and you're not supporting the business. And if you started doing a better job of those things, your budget would increase. Do you think that's the case?
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
4/1/2014 | 3:30:50 PM
Re: Changing our approach
I think this might be the case to some extent. However, even if you express the importance of security and it is well received within your organization that doesn't mean that you will necessarily be provided the funds needed. Remember, that where security professionals express the needs for security there are other business endeavors that may also take precendence from other types of professionals. For example from a healthcare perspective, if a new heart monitor needs to be incorporated and funds are being divided to support that endeavor it may be difficult to acquire the funds needed for security.

The main point that I am trying to make is that even if the security aspect is acknowledged we need to remember that organizations are multi-faceted and that its not just a matter of yes budget approved, no budget denied. Or y amount of dollars to go to x security. Its a balance of y total dollars, then x to security and z to marketing and w to clincial and not necessarily that funds are being improperly used. It may be slightly more complicated. Thoughts?
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
4/2/2014 | 11:15:49 AM
Re: Changing our approach
@RyanSepe  Budgets are NEVER simple, and you're right: no matter what department you're in you won't necessarily get the money you need/deserve, even if you use the budget you have perfectly. However, it is a useful exercise to ask yourself what you could be doing differently with the budget you have before you ask for more money.
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