Hiring a Head of Information Security (InfoSec) is crucial to the success and overall longevity of any business. In the past several years, companies from Yahoo to Target to Equifax have seen breaches beyond immediate repair, however, with a strong InfoSec leader in place, much of this could have been avoided. A Head of InfoSec does not only have a strong technical background but is a strategic problem solver, strong communicator and always thinking five steps ahead with a risk-based approach. The role grows in value and importance with every security breach and vulnerability detected.
As breaches are more commonplace, C-suite executives are now being held accountable. While product design, deployment and sales take up a fair amount of resource allocation, think about putting more into securing access to our connected world with a Head of Information Security (InfoSec). The impact a data breach can have on an organization is much more profound when a strong Head of InfoSec is not present. Often overlooked, having the right InfoSec lead with a seat at the table could be the one person keeping your organization from getting the kind of publicity you don’t want.
The Head of InfoSec advises your leadership team on the needs of the organization to meet the compliance and security requirements necessary to continue to successfully operate the business. In this role, he or she would oversee a team that has a 360-degree view of the risks the organization faces and puts the necessary security technologies and processes in place.
Today’s enterprises are connected in more ways than ever imagined. Email, productivity software, mobile payment platforms, and many more are widely deployed throughout all organizations no matter the size. Every tool used presents security vulnerabilities and every device is susceptible to potential phishing scams and malware attacks.
Your Head of InfoSec will do more than simply fill in any gaps in security infrastructure. The presence of a talented Head of InfoSec will protect and support enterprises and their consumers from potential hackers and breaches. A leader who is empowered in the role can set granular requirements and implement policies to limit risky behavior you might not have ever thought about, such as having two-factor authentication on all software platforms in use as a condition to whitelisting them.
Your Head of InfoSec sets the vision and continually reinforces the foundation of your organization with strong security hygiene, no matter what stage you’re in, and her or his activity is a significantly more cost-effective strategy than outsourcing it or recovering from a security incident — yes, it is possible to do so. Your Head of InfoSec is always one step ahead with the ability to draw lessons from real-world experiences and applied practices from previous roles. He or she helps deploy policies that become part of a strong “security-first” culture, shaping the entire organization’s attitude toward security. A skilled communicator, this person needs to inspire everyone inside and outside your organization, and encourage collaboration with team members to find alternative perspectives and quickly overcome challenges together. They will know how to effectively build out this team of security professionals. Your InfoSec lead must also understand your company and align their practices with your business goals and objectives.
While the same is certainly true for established enterprises, a smaller organization has a lot to lose if security personnel, systems, and processes are not in place in preparation for a large customer base. Long story short, prepare for success. If you’re in growth mode, don’t sacrifice security in the name of client service. Startups use their fair share of work-sharing and productivity tools, meaning sensitive information about customers, staff, strategy, and intellectual property must be protected. Your Head of InfoSec will implement policies for working with such tools without shorting security and will then train employees, covering everything from device security and password management to public Wi-Fi usage.
As it goes in security, the weakest link in any security protocol is the individual. The real value for your organization lies in concrete strategic training and finding someone who is openly enthusiastic about being a personal resource for everyone in the organization – from the top down.
Data breaches were an almost daily occurrence in 2017, and with the sheer volume of data being shared across a growing ecosystem, InfoSec professionals are trusted with a monumental task of protecting the core of any organization, its employees, partners, and clients. Cybercriminals and data breaches can be mitigated, and employee error can be resolved, through well thought-out cybersecurity policies. Having a skilled Head of InfoSec to bolster your defenses greatly reduces any risk. Taking the time to find the person to whom everyone can look to build trust across your enterprise will ensure you sleep well at night.