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The Importance of a Capable CISO

Updated: 6 days ago

The importance of a capable CISO, including the value and services one should provide

With the technological advances that most organizations throughout the U.S. face today, the risks increase for those companies that handle sensitive information. Any company that digitally stores or utilizes information such as credit card numbers, medical records, or Personal Identifiable Information (PII) needs the ability to ensure and prove to its customers that their data is safe and secure with that organization. As a client you may be wondering, “How do we approach this?”

It’s even more critical that the organization ensures they have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to lead the organization in their cybersecurity practices. This is to protect the customer’s data from various cybersecurity threats.

Here are some points to consider if the organization doesn’t have a CISO, and why they should look deeply and earnestly at employing one to correct this deficiency:

If an organization outsources their IT security or uses third party vendors to meet their IT security needs, those vendors may or may not prioritize security. This is regardless of the claims they may make about the services they offer. A dedicated CISO will check the security practices of the vendors and ensure they comply with the security standards required within that organization.

If partnered with other companies that have access to your organization’s data or network, having a CISO will enable the organization to conduct the same security evaluation of your business partners as they do with third-party vendors.

If an organization operates in a highly regulated industry such as healthcare or finance, the organization must meet stringent regulations placed on their data handling practices. This is due to the sensitivity of the information being collected in those fields.

Any potential security breach (such as with Equifax) can be catastrophic to the business organization and stakeholders within that business.

By having a CISO, they can look at the overall IT security posture of the entire organization and conduct Gap assessments to determine deficiencies in their current practices. Based on the information received from this, the CISO can provide a formalized plan to stakeholders that would identify key improvements the organization should place as a high priority. This is to prevent possible future cyber-related attacks against the organization.

No CISO can eliminate threats. However, it’s imperative that the organization compose or create a plan to recover from a breach should one occur. A CISO would ensure the organization creates an incidence response plan, also commonly known as a Business Continuity Plan. This would educate and bring proper awareness to the roles and procedures necessary to bring the network back up and running.

Having a small or overworked IT department can be devastating to your company given all their responsibilities to maintain the organization’s IT functionality. These key IT personnel may lack the proper skill set and vision to position the organization to meet today’s cybersecurity challenges. Having a CISO in this circumstance will greatly benefit the organization. It would also ease the burden on various personnel who may not have the educational skillset to make high-level decisions about the company.

Every organization needs to know exactly where they stand on being prepared for cybersecurity threats. The days of being too small and not having to worry about these instances is foolishly naïve thinking. Having a dedicated CISO enables the company to evaluate the risk properly, prioritize recommended suggestions for security enhancements, and build an action plan to strengthen the overall protection of the entire network.

For any organization that has experienced these types of situations, having a CISO is crucial to ensuring the company’s success and that its mission is progressing. The CISO will:

· Bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of the current happening within the cybersecurity world.

· Ensure the IT Security department enhances all security-related policies to comply with federal and standard business practices.

· Assist the organization to be proactive (rather than reactive) against today’s cybersecurity threats.

Typically, the CISO would function as a pivotal point to relay a company’s true IT security posture to various company’s stakeholders who make budgeting decisions. Since these stakeholders may not have an IT security background, the CISO can educate them.

Time is money. Risks can be devastating. And the choice is yours to make. If your organization falls into any one of these categories (regarding cybersecurity deficiencies) and you do not have a dedicated CISO, it’s time to consider onboarding one to position the company for success.

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