The role of chief security officer (CSO) has necessarily evolved along with the advances made in technology. When new risks become evident, new regulations are instituted and emerging complexities are discovered, requiring the position of CSO to adapt to meet the changing security landscape. Today’s CSO faces a number of risks that span multidisciplinary areas, which before did not traverse into the realm of security. Understanding these new challenges and how to effectively mitigate through appropriate risk management plans can help organizations recognize the new role CSOs need to play, which will result in enhanced business protection and productivity.
Recognizing the Current Landscape
Rather than simply dealing with physical security risks, CSOs today must be able to address a number of threat vulnerabilities and responsibilities in the following areas:
- Cyber Threats and Attacks on Information—including data protection, breaches, and recovery activities, along with intrusion tests, privacy, and threat level assessments.
- Regulatory Demands and Legal Requirements—these include fraud and corruption detection, litigation provisions, and investigation support.
- Compliance, Diligence, and Risk Management—such as auditing expertise, transactional integrity, employment screens, and risk assessments (including geopolitical).
- Employee Health—understanding counseling, intervention, and workplace violence, as well as how to increase productivity.
Developing Workable Strategies
Managing these risks and responsibilities involves using a framework that is able to arrange objectives and actions in the most effective way.
Personnel: Workers are the highest threat to any company’s security. Training must be provided through direct methods that emphasize role responsibilities within the organization. Employees must be given the knowledge to identify threats and the ability to communicate those findings quickly to facilitate the swift deployment of appropriate mitigation strategies.
Processes: This involves developing risk management plans that include vulnerability assessments that isolate the impact of a breach, wherever it may occur, along with detailed procedures that address awareness, preparation, and obedience to specific policies. Rather than defining actions in a singular fashion, CSOs must be able to create initiatives that influence security through a comprehensive outlook.
Technology: Systems and other security solutions that meet the specific needs of the organization must be deployed, especially those that offer advanced usage for the assets available.
For these risk management strategies to be effective, organizations must support the CSO in performing his or her job. Too often, the CSO has to operate with fewer resources than required. Empowering CSOs means giving them the opportunity to do their job with:
- The ability to introduce new security measures, tools, and hiring capabilities without a major budgetary battle.
- The power to gain new knowledge and analysis about current threats using in-house or outside collaboration.
- Support for their efforts to discern, anticipate, and mitigate long-term threats. For example, employee monitoring that allows the detection of suspect behaviors before a breach occurs, or prevention techniques that limit the likelihood of an attack and its impact on operations.
To meet today’s changing threat landscape, CSOs must play a critical role in developing the risk management plan. By allowing their experience and knowledge to guide the overall structure of the business’s security, companies can achieve the level of protection required for today’s operations.