Report: How to become a Superstar Security Leader

Forrester Research Report

As companies seek to innovate and engage customers through digital channels, they need superstar security leaders — business executives who know how to protect, support, and drive performance.

This report, by Forrester Research, looks at the biggest changes in firms’ expectations of their chief information security officers (CISOs) and provides specific examples of how top information security professionals rise to those occasions.

Key Takeaways

Requirements For The CISO Have Changed
To stay ahead of changing customer expectations and digital disruption, businesses need security leaders to focus on external demands, exert more distributed influence, become a resource rather than an authority, and anticipate business change instead of aligning to current strategy.

Top CISOs Are Most Adept At Orchestrating Security In Complex Environments
To meet growing demands, superstar CISOs have developed new ways to explain why security matters, extended their knowledge about their firm’s technical ecosystem, and fostered legions of security participants to scale their efforts.

CISO Superstardom Is More About Thoughtful Tactics Than Dashing Personality
While most CISOs keep hearing about the traits that great leaders must have, superstar CISOs are more likely to distinguish themselves with the savvy tactics they employ.

Superstar Security Leaders Are Master Tacticians, Not Stage Stars

Every CISO has heard that his or her job success depends on supreme presentation skills, business acumen, technical prowess, charisma, and other grand character traits. However, it’s clear that savvy, thoughtful tactics distinguish the best CISOs more than any star quality. So don’t model yourself on the singer onstage but instead on the master conductor in the pit — out of sight, but integral in every scene. For example, you can acquire business acumen quickly by studying the financial performance of your firm’s lines of business, reading up on competitors, and talking to colleagues about their three-year business plans. Likewise, instead of trying to develop stronger charisma to carry you through tough conversations, reach out to relevant teams with the offer to streamline difficult policies, strengthen the security of an upcoming product, or review the controls of an ecosystem partner. Being a valued partner will ultimately make those tough conversations easier.

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