Are C-Level Execs Disparaging CISOs?

By Tony Kontzer
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    No Seat at the Table

    No Seat at the Table

    74% of the C-level executives surveyed believe that CISOs should not be part of organizational leadership teams.

It wasn't that long ago that the CIO's place in the C-suite was questioned, and the role was marginalized by other executives who felt CIOs should just focus on software and hardware. Well, that attitude is nothing compared to the beating chief information security officers (CISOs) take in a recent survey conducted by ThreatTrack Security. The security vendor surveyed more than 200 C-level executives this summer, and the findings indicate that information security leaders have some work to do if they want to earn the respect of their C-level peers. Responding executives made it clear that they do not view CISOs as equals, and they sometimes even blame CISOs for undermining the bottom line. "CISOs are often viewed simply as convenient scapegoats in the event of a headline-grabbing data breach, and they are significantly undervalued for the work they do every day to keep corporate data secure," says Julian Waits, Sr., CEO of ThreatTrack. "This perception needs to change, as CISOs—and the teams that work with them—should be viewed as drivers for business protection and growth." ThreatTrack offers some suggestions for CISOs who want to enhance their image in their company. Among these: Formalize your role; develop and communicate a strong security strategy; forge strong relationships with other C-level execs; and focus on the economic impact of risk and develop metrics that illustrate the financial impact of security efforts.

This article was originally published on 2014-08-29
Tony has been writing about the intersection of technology and business for more than 20 years and currently freelances from the Grass Valley, Calif., home where he and his wife are raising their two boys. A 1988 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and regular contributor to Baseline since 2007, Tony's somewhat infrequent Twitter posts can be found at http://twitter.com/tkontzer.
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