Our real priority is to help our $750 million company become a billion dollar company. We can’t stop running with scissors - we have to run faster and we need to make them sharper.
Too many failed security initiatives cost the company money and have had little or no effect on the ability to protect company property or client privacy. In some cases they actually hindered the company mission.
Consider the TSA in the United States. Their mission statement is “Protect the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.” So, have you flown lately? How is your “freedom of movement” at the airport? There is a 3-year-old girl with spina bifida in a wheelchair that will never threaten the transportation system again, because she is terrified to enter an airport after her experience of “freedom of movement”.
Most IT security initiatives have taken their eyes off the ball. They focus on “prevent” when they should focus on “enable”.
We need to add real value to our company, showing that a properly run security and privacy group can reduce costs, increase customer and user satisfaction and drive revenue. We need to take some courses in finance and learn about CapEx and derivatives. We should live with the following six financial terms stapled to our foreheads (or at least on our screen savers): Bottom Line, Gross Margin, Fixed versus Variable Costs, Equity versus Debt, Leverage, and Capital Expenditures.
Once you understand the priorities of the CEO and CFO, you can prioritize security budgets. Now you have the advantage, because you understand both the security implications and the financial implications. If your security initiative breaks the bank, or makes people want to drive (to a competitor) rather than fly with you, you have failed.
Keep things in perspective; keep your eye on the ball. You can become the most important member of your firm’s executive management team if you can achieve this.
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