10 essential negotiation tactics CISOs should know

Lose that winner takes all mentality and build your negotiation muscle with advice from security leaders and negotiation experts.

A hand moves a pawn through a conceptual maze of circuits. [navigating/negotiating/strategy/tactics]
Olivier Le Moal / Getty Images

CISOs are constantly in negotiations, whether it’s to draw up vendor contracts, developing strategy with C-suite colleagues or drafting workplace requirements with newly hired direct reports.

“Pretty much everything I do involves some negotiations. It’s much wider than just doing contracts,” says Gerald Beuchelt, CISO of tech company LogMeIn.

Yet Beuchelt and other security leaders and negotiation experts say that many executives still fall short on skills in this area, often using arguments instead of diplomacy to try to force through unnecessary requirements while caving on their critical needs.

They advise CISOs to reframe their approach to negotiating, saying that CISOs who want to be better negotiators should see it as an exercise in trade-offs instead of a battle of tug-of-war in which there’s only one winner.

“It’s about finding deals that are valuable to all sides involved. It’s trading things that are of lesser importance to you to get something that’s of more importance to you,” says negotiation expert Brian Buck, CEO of Scotwork North America, a negotiation consulting firm.

To do that, Buck and others share the following 10 tactics:

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