Building on my previous blogs on CISO responsibilities, initial priorities and developing information security strategy, I wanted to share an example of what a security dashboard might look like. It is important to communicate regularly with your stakeholders and sharing a status update like this might be one way of doing it. The dashboard incorporates a high-level view of a threat landscape, top risks and security capabilities to address these risks (with maturity and projected progression for each). Feel free to use this as a starting point and adjust to your needs.
The dashboard above aligns to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework functions as structuring your security programme activities in this way, in my experience, allows for better communication with business stakeholders. However, capabilities can be adjusted to align with any other framework or your control set of choice. Some of the elements can be deliberately simplified further depending on your target audience.
Security professionals have access to the amounts of data never seen before. Antivirus software, firewalls, data loss prevention solutions – they all generate a staggering amount of alerts.
Security operation centres and the underlying SIEM technology allow us to aggregate, correlate and make sense of these vast troves of data. We can create dashboards and metrics that might look slick and even be useful to security teams but do such data add value to business stakeholders? Do they tell a story to the Board?
I wrote this book to help security professionals and people who are interested in a career in cyber security to do their job better. Not only do we need to help manage cyber security risks, but also communicate effectively in order to be successful. To achieve this, I suggest starting by understanding the wider organisational context of what we are protecting and why.
Communicating often and across functions is essential when developing and implementing a security programme to mitigate identified risks. In the book, I discuss how to engage with colleagues to factor in their experiences and insights to shape security mechanisms around their daily roles and responsibilities. I also recommend orienting security education activities towards the goals and values of individual team members, as well as the values of the organisation.
I also warn against imposing too much security on the business. At the end of the day, the company needs to achieve its business objectives and innovate, albeit securely. The aim should be to educate people about security risks and help colleagues make the right decisions, showing that security is not only important to keep the company afloat or meet a compliance requirement but that it can also be a business enabler. This helps demonstrate to the Board that security contributes to the overall success of the organisation by elevating trust and amplifying the brand message, which in turn leads to happier customers.
While in the lockdown in the UK, I was reflecting on the many countries I had a chance to work and travel to in my career so far.
Following-up from my previous blog on lessons I learned from working in cyber security across multiple sectors, geography is another lens I can apply when thinking about the diversity of cyber security projects I had a chance to contribute to and people to work with.
It was a pleasure to serve clients and collaborate with colleagues from all over the world and this really gave me a global perspective on cyber security challenges across continents.
I was fortunate to visit more places than mentioned on this map, however, the ones I selected here were the most memorable and challenging from a project perspective.
There are still plenty of countries I have yet to explore, so I’m eagerly awaiting the time when it’s safe to travel again.
I have been fortunate to help and collaborate with a wide variety of organisations during my cyber security career to date. These companies range from large multinationals that are household names to small tech startups that you probably haven’t even heard of.
Although the regulatory landscape, security maturity and key risks often vary dramatically between industries, there are common themes that both an upstart FinTech and an energy giant can benefit from.
Being able to see what works, for example, in the world of Operational Technology and apply some of the learnings to an insurance company and vice versa can bring a fresh perspective and result in unique solutions that can be easily overlooked in traditional sector-specific paradigms. Identifying these synergies and collaboration opportunities between organisations of different sizes, industries, cultures and technological stacks has allowed me to better understand specific issues, challenge the conventional thinking and tailor my advice to fit the overall strategy of a given organisation for best results.
Who needs to buy e-learning modules for employee security awareness programmes when NCSC kindly made available their training for free?
NCSC’s Top Tips For Staff includes online videos (that can be also included in your own learning management system), knowledge check and an infographic.
It’s a quick and easy way to get you started on the journey of building security culture in your company and meet some of the compliance requirements. This can be especially helpful for startups and non-profits with limited budgets.