Sean McDermott is the founder and CEO of Red monocle, a SaaS-based risk intelligence software designed to help cybersecurity leaders find, fund, and fix their blind spots.
Every CISO must Face a cold and hard fact: You may not have a seat at the boardroom table or at the executive leadership team meeting.
In some organizations, this relatively new role is yet to receive C-level attention, and in others, the organizational structure may prevent you from getting a permanent seat at the table. Other complexities arise if you report to a CIO or CTO and feel silenced by the hierarchy. Or perhaps your message is diluted the moment you move up the chain of command.
While the lack of access to the highest levels of your organization can be daunting, remember that it can still have a significant influence on your organization and its security. You may have to hurry.
Be a Translator – When engaging in board or executive communication, speak like a business person and keep your messages short and engaging.
As an executive, I would happily meet with a team member (at any level) who wants to share ideas with me. If these ideas are interesting, I will likely let them steep for a few weeks before reaching out to the employee with comments. Now we have started an open dialogue and are beginning to build a relationship. Over the course of our conversations, this person may continue to come up with thought-provoking ideas. You could bring their suggestions to the board or invite them to present them.
Of course, having a permanent seat at the table is ideal. But, if that’s not realistic, make an effort to bring yourself, or at least your ideas, into the boardroom. Just because you don’t have a standing invite doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact.
Create relevant and identifiable messages
To get your message across to executives with little time (or just about anyone), you need to meet with them wherever they are. You already know why investing in cybersecurity is essential to your role. Now, put yourself in the shoes of your leadership to explain why it is crucial to them.