CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) or others who are in charge of a company's cybersecurity face a huge responsibility: they have to keep their firms' IT assets safe not just from malicious insiders and accidental leaks, but also from every hacker around the globe—at a time when more hacking scandals happen all the time.
EiQ has previously discussed the technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills required for CISOs to meet this challenge, and today we add three tips they can follow in order to perform at their best and manage the responsibility of their role.
It is important for CISOs to stay on top of new developments and industry trends to keep their knowledge current. What they learned in school or at their previous job may not be relevant any longer. There are many great resources available online that can help keep knowledge up to date:
Other great resources include the magazine SecurityWeek, cybersecurity professional Bruce Schneier's blog and newsletter, and for those interested in government and cybersecurity, Homeland Security News Wire's cybersecurity topic.
But CISOs need more than just technical knowledge—they also have to understand business, law, crime, and other topics to succeed. The best way for CISOs to learn about how these matters impact their firms is to talk with other employees.
Just as IT teams can be proactive to patch security flaws before hackers find them, CISOs can meet with procurement managers or legal staff or others to find out what their concerns about digital compromises are. It's best to do this before cyber threats prompt emergency meetings where everyone is panicked and bad decisions happen.
Involve the Whole Company
The preceding point—that CISOs can educate themselves by talking with other employees—goes further. To truly succeed, CISOs need to make cybersecurity a company-wide concern. Internal collaboration is part of the path to success, and it is not just C-suite decision-makers and IT personnel who need to be thinking about digital defences.
For instance, rank-and-file employees need cybersecurity training for multiple reasons:
- They need to know to be aware of “social engineers” who are looking to trick them into revealing security information.
- They need to know policies for leaving computer stations unattended.
- They need to know not to fall for phishing attacks, one of the most common ways companies get hacked.
Indeed, even CISOs can be targets for whaling attacks—phishing aimed at highly placed employees—so it is helpful to remember that cyber attacks confront the whole spectrum of a firm, from the sales clerks to the CEO.
Leverage Managed Security Services
An in-house IT team capable of meeting all the requirements necessary to protect against contemporary cyber threats is unfortunately out of the budget for many firms. One solution is for companies to turn to managed security services.
Arguably, the basic concept behind this approach started in the 1990s with ISPs providing security tools such as firewalls for customers. But today, managed security services are advanced technologies that offer network security monitoring and more for an affordable subscription rate. CISOs should consider partnering with managed security service providers to gain the enhanced digital defences needed to keep their companies safe and help them manage such a critical responsibility within the company.
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