CISOs | Best Practices to Understand, Communicate and Make Informed Decisions

CISOs | Guide to Informed Decision Making and Moving it Forward

As the lead protector of information security within an organization, a chief information security officer (CISO) must understand the risks that exist, as well as be able to clearly communicate those risks and possible solutions to the organization’s leadership. In addition to this, they have to be able to make informed decisions about what risks demand attention and the best strategies to mitigate those risks.

A security program is a key to helping a CISO, and the organization itself make informed decisions.

What is a Security Program?

A security program involves a set of policies and procedures that are put in place to protect data, measurement processes to understand risk and the impact to organization’s assets from various threats, communications, systems, and remediation activities. Members of an organization’s security group are in charge of implementing these procedures and the effectiveness of this overall system.

If the CISO is the general of this information security army, the rest of the team are like soldiers who each have various roles. First, the security architect works as a kind of lieutenant, managing preventative and detective informational safeguards and ensuring that they all work together like a well-oiled machine.

Meanwhile, the security engineer is responsible for managing specific preventative and detective technologies within the organization. Finally, the security analyst does research into the performance of current security and measurement processes in order to determine results, as well as any changes that need to be made.

Watch Exclusive Video: Tips & Techniques to Enable Informed Decision Making from your Information Security Program

How Does a Security Program Help a CISO Understand Risks?

Protecting an organization’s data is about more than simply stopping threats against attackers. It’s about protecting the organization’s clients, as well as their employees. A strategically-designed security program will do more than simply stop threats; it will also help an information security officer better understand and anticipate new ones in order to prevent those from occurring.

A security program will provide a look into an organization’s processes and show areas where non-compliance to certain requirements can result in data breaches or other risks. This could be anything from employees failing to properly secure information on their laptops while traveling on business or staff not understanding how to safely handle credit card numbers while using the organization’s point-of-sale system.

Download: Best Practices and the Top Steps that Every CISO Should Follow

Excellent Communication Across the Organization

Once a CISO is able to make an informed decision about what threats deem attention, as well as the best way to combat them, the work isn’t over. CISOs have to then act as a business advisor to the organization’s executives, educating them so that they can make informed decisions about where to best deploy organizational resources and funding. This advice may be showing the value of purchasing the appropriate security products or implementing measures to ensure that potential security threats do not become a reality.

This communication flow is only made possible with an effective security program in place. It is the system that will ensure that both the CISO and organizational stakeholders are always working with the best possible information in any given situation.

From Education to Implementation

A strategically-designed security program is much more than IT putting software in place to keep information in and hackers out. It’s an intricate system that identifies potential threats, measures them, and then support the analysis, decision-making, and implementation of remediation to reduce them when it makes sense. By using this system, a CISO will be able to properly understand risks and communicate to the rest of the company so that everyone can work together to respond to those threats in an appropriate manner. Organizational leaders benefit by getting effective and appropriate information along the way to make informed decisions, as well as the most cost-effective implementation of those decisions once made.

If your organization isn’t sure where to start with building a security program, contact CISOSHARE to find out how to get started. We have been helping organizations build security programs to protect data and organization’s assets for over 20 years.

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Information security experts with 20+ years of combined experience in developing, implementing, and securing highly regulated organizations.