After You've Moved Into a New Role in Security
As the new Security Leader, or an existing one with new responsibilities, how do you engage the business? To be successful seek the responsibility and authority to align security with the vision and mission of the business. Security leaders at any level should look for opportunities to be both creative and productive for the business. The following are some thoughts on how to approach this.
Get to Know the Organization's LeadersMeet with business leaders at all levels. Focus on their business challenges (not security challenges) and aim to do this at least every 18-24 months.
Tip: Ask them to breakfast, lunch or dinner and learn about families, sports and their other interests - it'll pay benefits down the road.
Creating Your RoadmapYou are in the company primarily to do three things: Make it safer, more secure and more profitable.
Tip: Also engage Audit/Finance, Business Development (e.g., mergers and acquisitions), Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities Management, Ethics/Compliance, Health/Safety, and all business segments. Why? Because they all lead to the C-Suite!
Understand the Business and its InfrastructureUnderstand how the business is run and how it measures success. Learning the scope of its operations and product lines and speed of operation can be daunting. Often security is not included in these activities. Find ways to break this barrier.
Tip: Aim for understanding potential security issues and you will never be surprised. Then be committed to continually tweaking those improvements as you and your team move forward.
Learn the Business' Culture Before Making Early RecommendationsLearning a business' culture is essential before making substantive recommendations.
Tip: Know who is doing any type of investigation in your company. Often those doing investigations do not have the appropriate credentials that could result in mistakes that can cost the business resources and in some cases reputation.
Initial AssessmentYour initial assessment needs to be unbiased. Seek recognized mentors outside your function or company. Seek those that have "been there and done that" in both business and security. Recruit security team members who are lifelong learners focused on being business partners, and can relate to executives' issues as well as contract workers.
Tip: Engage with your business leaders and ask to join them at executive business meetings to learn both day to day and longer-term business issues and plans.
Next StepsNo matter how much experience you have it will pay enormous dividends to bring in someone who has "been there and done that" to offer perspective when starting on a new leadership position. Just having someone to discuss or review plans with can help make sure you get off on the right foot.
The Security Executive Council is made up of former leaders of some of the worlds most esteemed security programs. We help guide some of the biggest names in the business. Contact Us to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.
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Additional Resource: The SEC's book, From One Winning Career to the Next, written by SEC Emeritus Faculty J. David Quilter, gives practical advice on challenges, forming an effective team, and making a business case to gain executive support for a security agenda.