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In the technology landscape, fundamental shifts bring new IT security concerns. Continuing developments open new portals of vulnerability and weakening security threshold levels for businesses – significantly increasing the complexity of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role.

CISOs face new challenges in the IT rat race

A recent example of a real and consummated threat is the hacking of Code Spaces, a code-hosting company. As described in initial reports and on their website, a distributed denial-of service (DDoS) attack took place in June within a matter of 12 hours. An unauthorized person succeeded in partially or completely deleting data, machine configurations, and backups. The hack rendered the company unable to continue operating.

Code Spaces asserts that they have been able to overcome many DDoS attempts in the past. This time, the hacker may have worked around the weakest links to achieve such a debilitating goal. It is thus critical that CISOs and IT security officers take a proactive approach with regard to emerging threats, detecting vulnerabilities in systems, and knowing the danger levels and prevalence of such threats, so that they are better prepared for worst-case scenarios.

Essential expertise for the cyber age CISO

With constantly emerging technologies, the old CISO concept has changed. Beyond being tech-savvy, the new role of CISOs requires a transformed level of management competencies and leadership to succeed in a shifting environment.

New CISO skills include:

Business-mindedness with a new mindset – In the past, CISOs were confined to their own silos attending to technical matters, like maintaining machines and devices. Their new role now requires them to be a part of the big picture. They are needed in the boardroom to present a new vision, muster the resources to turn that vision into reality, and engage employees in new practices.

Leading and influencing by example – True leaders lead by example. They maintain a high standard of ideas, discipline, and ethics that are consistent with their actions. CISOs must earn the respect and loyalty of their team members, including superiors, to ensure the security of their business in cyber space.

Effective leadership communication skills – Good communicators, as opposed to good talkers, are able to reach their audiences, are active listeners, keep an open mind, and can read between the lines. Cyber security is an organizational priority that must engage all stakeholders in the organization to ensure fail-proof protection.

CISOs await a host of new challenges as IT changes happen, with new threats appearing and existing threats evolving. Enterprises now recognize that the role of CISOs is at a turning point, one that should strengthen their ability to repel and withstand such threats.