Organizations Need to Understand the Role of the Security Officer to Maximize Impact

No matter organization vertical or size, security has been and will continue to be an incredibly important part of the danger management portfolio. It’s exactly how security is dealt with that will determine the general effectiveness of primary security workplace position, though.


The security spectrum

Security is generally viewed as a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is the wild west kind of environment. In the wild west, anything goes and security is an afterthought. In such environments, there is typically no gatekeeper and every staff member simply does what they really want when they want it. If there is any security, it’s left up to the individual. In these environments, workers can always get their job done thanks to the absence of red tape, however there is a high danger of downtime and data compromise.

At the other end of the spectrum is a place like Fort Knox, where there are numerous levels of firewall programs, user don’t have any rights, and the security officer constantly says “No” to any demand. In these environments, security is right, however users are continuously frustrated by their failure to carry out basic task functions.

Both type of organizations exist and both are doing it wrong. I have, regrettably, seen both personally.

The gatekeeper will comprehend the subtleties of this spectrum and have the ability to make the right call to the best benefit of the business.


Security means evaluating threat

Security is not about lessening threat. Security is not about getting rid of danger. Security is not about always saying no to any request that crosses the desk. Security is about evaluating a situation or request and afterwards making a determination as to whether any prospective connected danger is acceptable to the business. Simply puts, it’s a cost/benefit analysis. If the benefits exceed the expenses to an enough degree, then the task becomes determining ways to lessen that potential risk, however just as soon as the demand has been vetted.

I’ve seen CSOs that take a shoot first approach and decline out of hand propositions that cross their desks just to have their decisions overridden by even more senior executives that assessed the entire situation as opposed to simply put in control. In most cases, the preliminary request was completely valid, however the CSO felt that his task was to deny anything uncommon. Sometimes, I’ve seen the CSO become the main traffic jam in significant organization-wide tasks that brought crucial externally-imposed deadlines. One needs to question the efficiency of a CSO that is consistently overridden (correctly) by superiors or that fails to understand an organization’s concerns.


The CSO will:

  • NOT eliminate danger. Removing risk is not an achievable objective and will do long term damage to the organization.
  • Evaluate danger and make business-focused decisions concerning request.
  • Team up with others in the business in an effort to totally understand needs.


Business and regulatory judgments is as important as technical.

CSO’s needs to have highly technical skills that they can utilize to determine the security posture of the organization. At the same time, security officials need to have some business acumen. These business chops end up being essential when the CSO needs to make decisions. With such knowledge, the CSO dangers deciding that are contrary to an organization’s requirements. There are times in an organization’s life, as an example, when instant need outweighs other considerations, but comprehending these facts needs a CSO that is looped into the discussion which can make the right call.

A CSO’s business knowledge will likewise be mirrored in his understanding of the regulatory environment under which business operates. Occasionally, a CSO choice need to be driven by policies. However, as is the case with anything, regulation should not be made use of as a hassle-free excuse. I have actually been involved in situation where the CSO priced quote regulations as a reason for refuting a series of requests just to see his choices overridden because his reason was completely incorrect. When these things take place, it wears down self-confidence in real compliance efforts and results in reduced performance.


The CSO will:

  • Have the capability to comprehend a demand and do a cost benefit analysis to help figure out whether potential threat is worth the outcome.
  • Have broad knowledge of the regulatory environment in which the organization runs.
  • Deciding based upon a range of factors.


More than just information security

Increasingly, companies are counting on CSOs as one-stop buy all security needs, both physical and technical. As physical security has actually concerned deeply leverage technology, this closing of the space in between the physical and technical is to be comprehended. CSOs likewise need to play a role in total business connection preparing efforts, particularly in companies that see the CSO as a “protector” of the organization.



When done right, the CSO role is an important part of an organization’s total danger management architecture. When done wrong, the CSO duty is an expensive paper pusher that could hold back crucial efforts. Organizations need to carefully and continuously examine their CSO duty to see to it that overall information security efforts are matching business requirements and outcomes.


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