The complexities of technology continue to increase and add to the challenges that CIOs are facing every day. As the attacks and techniques that hackers and thieves utilize become more complicated, it’s becoming even more necessary for CIOs and CSOs to see eye to eye on the threats to their companies.
Indeed, the modern era demands that security and IT collaborate and stay in step with one another to ensure that their critical functions are able to continue supporting their businesses.
The Rising Role of the CSO
Though it’s new, the role of the CSO is quickly emerging as one of the most prominent within the company. Today, CSOs are working closely with CEOs and COOs to provide the input necessary for protecting the flow of information and keeping a business at its optimal operation.
Without question, the CSO is gaining more recognition and authority in the corporate structure. With increasing frequency, they are being brought into discussions where business strategy and information security are moving forward in tandem. This means that CIOs are having to adopt a more collaborative approach and share the spotlight with their CSO counterparts.
Sharing the Stage
Technology and security go hand in hand and need to move forward in tandem. When they move forward together, it results in a stable, reliable, and secure network of information that a business can rely upon. While the roles of CIO and CSO are very different, their goal is the same: to ensure that information flows safely and securely at every level of a business.
Naturally, each has his or her own agenda and methodology to follow. The CIO seeks to innovate and take calculated risks, while the CSO is actively determining the best methods to handle and mitigate those risks.
According to Jo Stewart-Rattray, the director of IS and IT assurance at BRM Holdich, the role of CSO needs to hold equal status with the CIO as it becomes more widespread.
Keeping in Step & Reporting
CSOs and CIOs need to develop a relationship that encourages the sharing of information. The more they communicate and share, the better the health of the company will be. Further, this communication will help both quickly tackle and resolve issues that arise. This will reduce each role’s exposure to problems and make sure that the integration of software, hardware, and security are virtually seamless.
Should the CSO report to the CEO? Not necessarily. In fact, this could hinder security progress, because the CIO is likely to be more in tune with a company’s security needs than other members of the executive management team. Therefore, to avoid confusion, many companies are choosing to have the CSO report to the CIO, who can then share that information with the CEO. This is reducing the risk of confusion and removing some of the communication barriers that can impede improved security.
Changing the Tune
Balancing security with the demands of a business depends on everyone getting past their fears and uncertainties. CSOs need to learn to accept risks and compromises, and CIOs need to acknowledge that times are changing. By changing their perspectives, both can work together to propel a company forward.
In fact, by working closely together and accepting the other’s ideas and objectives, it’s possible to create a solid partnership wherein the CSO and CIO provide mutual support for each other. By embracing the commonalities of their roles, both can enhance the security, reliability, and growth potential of the company.