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CIO Vs. CSO: Allies Or Enemies?
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Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
4/22/2014 | 3:41:46 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
Communication is a critical skill for both CIOs and CSOs in dealing with top executives . But no less important, as Eric rightly points out in his blog, is for the CIO and CSO to talk to each other.
GonzSTL
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/22/2014 | 2:25:31 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
100% agree. I think that a major obstacle in Information Security is the inability of the security professional to communicate effectively. Managing upwards can be a daunting task in itself, and it isn't easy to draft messages that are fit for executive consumption when it comes to IS topics. Let's face it - security managers are usually techs that have made the transition into management, and have had little training or experience in effective business communications.
eric7095
eric7095,
User Rank: Author
4/22/2014 | 2:11:15 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
Bottom line is there needs to be someone in the organization that understands security, can translate between technical and business language, and clearly articulate metric based risks to the executives.  The job function is more important than the title.
GonzSTL
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/22/2014 | 2:02:21 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
IT and IS are related but also separate areas of focus. I believe we are past the critical juncture where IT and IS diverge. It is just a matter of time before the remaining organizations adapt to this reality. Unfortunately, the bad guys are well funded and have time on their side, while the good guys are seriously underfunded and find themselves in reactionary instead of proactive mode.
eric7095
eric7095,
User Rank: Author
4/21/2014 | 5:21:03 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
The real question is whether IT and IS are related or separate areas of focus?  Many years ago when organizations first started using computers, IT was burried under business operations.  Over the years it has become so important that IT become a separate area with an executive focused solely on that area.  Are we not at the point with security, where it is so important that it deserves it own focus area with an executive in charge of it?  Many of the previous breaches will show us that putting security under IT does not work. 
GonzSTL
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2014 | 3:53:30 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
Yes, believe me, I get all that, but if you were to stand up a security organization from scratch, would you place it under IT or somewhere else? Eventually, IT needs and security will butt heads, and when that happens, who or what breaks the tie? I would like to think that the tie breaker is whatever serves the company best, but if the tie breaker comes from someone who represents IT needs, how can you guarantee that it was a decision based on proper analysis and not one driven by an IT need? Furthermore, it may be true that the decision maker is unbiased, but what about that person's successor after the person leaves?
archangelnikk
archangelnikk,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2014 | 3:32:19 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality

Reporting relationships are important, however it's far more complex than just that. Looking at the maturity of the security program, the type of organization, and the relationships outside of IT that can be leveraged (The Board, legal, enterprise risk, compliance, and internal audit). Understanding corporate culture and how to manage through influence. You also have to look at the scope of what information security represents within the company. Is it just operational security, is it risk, perhaps its physical or maybe all... There is by no means a one size fits all mentality, however the complexity is more than just who reports to whom.

GonzSTL
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2014 | 2:52:51 PM
Re: A Partnership Mentality
That a partnership mentality has to exist is a given; the issue is what happens when security reports to IT. There potentially isn't much of a partnership when one is subordinate to another, either in perception or reality.
archangelnikk
archangelnikk,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/14/2014 | 2:29:51 PM
A Partnership Mentality
Having been both a CISO and CIO numerous times, a partnership mentality on both sides of the fence is the only way to successfully support the customers and enable the business to mitigate enterprise risk.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
4/14/2014 | 10:03:50 AM
Re: CIO/ CSO = equal partners: -how prevalent?
Good suggestion, GonzSTL. Stay tuned....
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