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Overcoming the Most Pressing Challenges CISOs Face Today

2 min read

It’s no secret that CISOs have some of the toughest roles in any organisation, especially with the recent changes towards hybrid working. It’s becoming more difficult than ever to govern information and ensure security — but there are ways to overcome the biggest obstacles information officers face.


Increase IT Knowledge

Not all of CISOs' challenges revolve around technology. Simply not knowing enough can put companies at risk, leaving more margin for error.

CISOs should be proactive about stamping out legacy cultures and reeducating teams from junior to board level about the importance of information security. This includes the need to transition to cloud environments and update practices periodically. 

It isn’t enough for CISOs to inspire their own teams; they must engage others in the organisation, too. With 43% of C-Suite leaders citing human error as a major reason for a data breach, it’s dangerous to underestimate the power of education and the effectiveness of good old-fashioned conversation. 

From training to taking up a segment of time in the board meeting, CISOs will need to be aggressive in communicating the importance of information security, even if it isn’t the most glamorous topic to address.


Managing Cloud Transition 

The most obvious, and in some ways most pressing, challenge CISOs face is migrating data to the mysterious cloud, getting teams on board with the change and ensuring compliance. 

Cloud transformation is the elephant in the room, with rapid growth in cloud technology to keep up with and pressure to adopt cloud in its entirety to get better onboard with remote working. 

CISOs need to cautiously approach the cloud, understanding their organisation’s risk tolerance. However, they’ll need to balance this approach and show enthusiasm for the ‘$1 trillion dollar business value’ that cloud services propose. 

To get the ball rolling, CISOs will certainly want to consider a cloud compliance assessment and do some employee training on BYOD and other topics that might come as a result of cloud transformation. Again, the cloud needs to be understood, at least in its most basic form, by everyone who interacts with it — not just those in your department.


Instilling Board Confidence

In such a fast-paced environment, CISOs will need to build stable relationships with the board, enabling them to access budgets when they need to and communicate concepts on the fly.

CISOs need to move fast to manage risk and keep ahead of the curve. Yet, often they’ll need to rely on other decision-makers to give them the green light for the most impactful projects. 

So, the number one skill CISOs should work on isn’t incident management, analysis or even policy management. In fact, CISOs need to fine-tune their communication — an attribute that isn’t job-specific but that will help them accelerate their success. 

In board meetings, CISOs will need to confidently convey a message, align it with business objectives and achieve the intended outcome, be it emotional backing or financial support.


Measuring ROI 

A challenge within a challenge, ROI helps to get board approval, but at CISO level, it can be hard to calculate.

CISOs need to dig deeper than the basic ROSI (Return on Security Investment) calculation and look for ways they can use both quantitative and qualitative evidence that something is worth an investment. 

Yes, CISOs need to provide hard evidence and positive projections and pin them against an activity. But it’s now also essential for CISOs to learn and stress the intangible benefits of cyber security and how they relate to business growth. 

This is key when talking to the board and when analysing the success of a security measure — incident or no incident. Today, cyber security is becoming ever more interwoven with the security landscape, as a whole and with the entire organisation on a much more macro level. 

If anything, CISOs should start with ROI and work from here. Knowing the value of information security helps CISOs make better decisions regarding new cloud services, speak assuredly to other employees and win over the most important individuals in the business. 

Want to learn more about information security ROI? Read our latest resource, which considers every aspect of ROI, from financial returns to securing buy-in from the board. 

Click the link below to get your copy.

Information Security Investment

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