Decade of the CSO
Looking back at 10 years of change and progress - and forward to what lies ahead
By Derek Slater
October 01, 2012 — CSO —
Security as a profession has come a long way in the last decade. This is not just noteworthy, it's also worth celebrating.
So on the 10th anniversary of CSO's launch, let's raise our glasses and toast the Decade of the CSO. Security leadership existed before us, and it will continue after, but this has been a magnificent decade to have front-row seats to watch security mature and fight for its place.
Risk management is more important to more corporate leaders today than it was ten years ago. Security leaders deserve a lot of credit for this as they have become better and better at articulating the business case for security, as we'll discuss in our annual State of the CSO survey results in the following article.
But the other reason for the rise of risk management is that the security environment has been changing. Bill Boni describes the evolution of security this way: "I think that [elevated] status has been achieved in part by the hard work of practitioners, but in equal measure by the bad works of the threat actors."
[Read our exclusive research in the companion article State of the CSO 2012: Ready for anything]
Boni was on the cover of the first issue of CSO, in his role as CISO at Motorola. Today he is vice president of information security at T-Mobile. Fraud and theft and corruption were around then—just as they are around today, just as they were in ancient times—but cybercrime in particular has been turned into a business over the past decade. Smarter, more organized threats require smarter, more organized defenses.
So what about the decade to come?
The professionalization of security threats will surely continue, so security must follow suit. Or, ideally, get ahead. This will require still more hard work and evolution on the part of security leaders like yourself. But it also requires more changes in the environment. That's going to be the hard part—but more on that in a moment.
For your personal evolution, consider a few observations from David Kent, vice president of security at Genzyme (now owned by Sanofi North America).
First, Kent notes, it's all about the data. "If you look at what Google is doing, what government agencies are doing, it's the data that is driving the business," he says.
"Security is part of the [data collection] sensor net. You have to collect data from every angle to give the business or entity competitive advantage. Grabbing data and using it as a way to forecast some activity that would be beneficial to the business—it's going to be common, there is tremendous value, and security needs to be part of the story." [Editor's note: If only we'd had the foresight to call it "big data".]