Three foolproof ways CEOs and CISOs can work together more effectively

How involved is your Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in business decisions?

If your Chief Information Security Officer isn't very involved in business decisions, you could be missing out on lucrative business opportunities.

Without collaboration at board level, these opportunities may never arise a fact many companies are attempting to rectify by encouraging CEOs and CISOs to work more effectively together.

For example, cyber security is a now an enterprise-wide risk factor that can't be overlooked, and the attitudes among directors is slowly shifting.

Almost half of boards now actively participate in the overall information security strategy according to a 2016 report by PWC, and companies are becoming more and more security-conscious as the business world continues to evolve. But while not many doubt the importance of security expertise in board meetings, actioning that benefit in any significant way can be a little trickier.

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But what can executives do to take advantage of this shift, and create a more innovative, secure model? Here are three foolproof ways:

CISOs should become more involved with the whole business

The days of heavily siloed companies with employees working and communicating only within designated departments are dead and buried, and a new business model must be adopted if a company wishes to survive. That new way of working involves leaders across the business collaborating more effectively, and in order to do this, they must diversify their knowledge base.

Small things such as CISOs understanding the jargon of CEOs and vice versa can make everyday tasks at board level much easier to digest and subsequently take action upon. If everyone is speaking the same language, then data and metrics can be understood beyond those who are collecting and presenting the information.

This also goes the other way; a basic knowledge of security matters is essential for all C-level executives (and employees at all levels) to function best in their roles.

Embrace specified knowledge points

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At the same time as deliberately widening their knowledge base, it's essential for CISOs to use their specialised skillsets. Anyone working in IT is almost always ahead of the rest of the company when it comes to awareness of technology trends and changes, and they can use that foresight to benefit the business as a whole.

CISOs and CEOs can work together to gain a significant competitive edge over rivals through effective communication, combining knowledge to move the company forwards. At the same time, CEOs can look to their security teams for guidance on which risks to take and which might be too dangerous.

Realise security is everyone's problem

Cyber security is no longer something that can be ignored or pushed on to workers down in the basement, and CEOs should not treat it as such. Security is now such a pressing issue for companies across almost every industry that prevention and defence techniques need to be woven into the very fabric of the business.

One easy way to do this is to collaborate with the CISO and his or her team on matters such as business growth and advantage from the very start, ensuring that security is not in the back of anyone's minds when making important company decisions. The CISO should be front and centre in board meetings, and everyone needs to be aware of the security risk of any new endeavors.

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