Latest Wisegate Research Reveals CSOs Must Adopt New Risk Management Trends

Report shows senior management and C-level executives need to think about risk strategically

March 13, 2013

4 Min Read


AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Austin-based start-up Wisegate, the IT expert knowledge service, released new research from senior IT security members that shows how CSOs are adopting new risk management trends calling for a risk-based security approach. Wisegate's latest report reveals that security managers are working with senior executives in all divisions across their organizations to move away from compliance-focused thinking towards a risk-based approach to information security. The shift requires senior management and C-level executives to think about risk strategically versus simply crossing off regulatory check boxes.

"The new breed of CSO is taking a systemic approach to security that goes way beyond compliance, and takes the whole risk posture into view."

Report data was gathered from recent Wisegate CSO peer discussions, where CSOs across industries confirmed the need to embrace the risk management role and offered a number of major takeaways for senior IT security professionals who must now move beyond a compliance "check box" mentality and adopt the most strategic security practices. The Wisegate study discusses how IT organizations can "up" their security game by doing a better job at measuring and using risk information to develop security practices. CSOs share their candid viewpoints on why it is important to let risk data set security priorities.

"Leaders of forward-thinking organizations understand the need for more pervasive risk awareness – and are far more focused on enterprise-wide education, collaboration, and communications," said Candy Alexander, CSO at Long Term Care Partners." "The new breed of CSO is taking a systemic approach to security that goes way beyond compliance, and takes the whole risk posture into view."

This risk management switch has been brewing for quite some time. In a previous Wisegate report, CSOs from top companies shared how they are no longer just focusing on information security, but are also taking on risk management and privacy programs within their organizations. These leaders are increasingly being asked to act more strategically and to take a proactive role in identifying the risks the organization currently faces. CSOs are now tasked with prioritizing the risks and identifying which ones need to be addressed immediately and which ones are acceptable as part of the cost of doing business:

"In the latest Wisegate findings, information security executives across industries continued earlier conversation by focusing on the challenges they face as they shift their organizations towards information security programs focused on risk management," said Sara Gates, Founder and CEO of Wisegate. "While no two risk programs are identical, Wisegate members identified and share key takeaways for other IT security professionals considering risk management strategies."

These include:

Compliance becomes just one factor in the risk profile. Even in a risk-based program, compliance doesn't go away entirely.

Tolerance for risk changes over time. The organization's risk tolerance is dynamic and fluid. The assessment plan and risk profile indicates the organization's risk acceptance level at that current point in time, but it is expected to change.

Making risk management work takes different approaches for different areas. Risk management can be broken down into three distinct areas, each with a unique approach: strategic, tactical, and operational.

According to a recent poll on Wisegate, moving to a risk-based approach means a more broadened role for security leaders as well as a more integrated programs focused on risk. More than half of respondents to the poll said that their consolidated Risk Management role now includes Information Security, IT Risk, Compliance, and Vendor Management/Procurement responsibilities.

"Risk tolerance is hard to define," said Wisegate member Randall Gamby, Information Security Officer at the Medicaid Information Service Center of New York, "which is why it's important the security team works alongside line of business partners to work through assessments and keep the conversation going on a regular basis. Definitions, thresholds, and tolerance levels eventually get clarified, and executive leadership will know when something carries too much risk."

"Wisegate brings together IT security leaders from leading companies who candidly share the greatest challenges today's CSO is facing and the impacts to their organizations," added Gates. "Members agree that future CSOs will need to understand business risk to all levels of an organization and develop strategies to maximize risk-based decisions."

To request a copy of Wisegate's report titled "Moving From Compliance To Risk-Based Security: CISOs Reveal Practical Tips," please visit:

If you are interested in joining Wisegate, please visit and request an invitation to join.

About Wisegate

Wisegate ( is an IT expert network and information service for senior IT professionals, providing high quality research and intelligence from the best source available – the collective knowledge of IT leaders from across the industry. With online Q&A, detailed product reviews, live roundtables, and published peer-based research, Wisegate offers a practical and unbiased information source built on the real-world experience of veteran IT professionals.

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