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5 Things That Keep a CISO up at Night

Posted January 20, 2012    Sarah Lieber

Recently I had the unique experience to attend a presentation given by the CISO of a major entertainment network which took place at eEye’s annual sales and marketing kickoff.  It was an excellent presentation, where he shared things like his past experiences, how he and his team select security products and which metrics matter most to him.

One of the most interesting parts of his presentation was titled “5 Things That Keep Me Up at Night”. Amazingly, that Top 5 didn’t include the almost 300,000 patches his company deploys each month – yes, each month.  In today’s dynamic enterprise, this Top 5 list is probably nothing like a CISO’s Top 5 from even just a few years ago.

Want to know what CISOs are thinking about late at night? Here’s a list that may surprise you. Once you’re finished reading, use the comments section to provide your insights, we’d love to hear them.

  1. The CloudIt isn’t “The Cloud” that scares CISOs but it’s the notion that people and company assets are moving to the cloud without them even knowing it. As people, machines, and assets become more geographically dispersed in the enterprise, how do you keep track of company assets on the network and in the cloud? As a CISO you need to stay on top of where your company assets are living (on and off the network) and making sure you’re 100% secure in the cloud.
  2. Moving Data + Regulatory ComplianceSafeguarding the security and integrity of data is extremely important to any CISO. As technology evolves regulatory compliance standards, users and threats are becoming even more sophisticated. It is a huge responsibility for any person in IT to make sure that regulatory compliance is in line and all data remains secure.  Interesting factoid: This particular entertainment company must also comply with HIPAA regulations, as some of their facilities have medical stations onsite.
  3. HacktivismWith all of the recent media attention from ‘hacktivist’ groups, this isn’t a big surprise as being something that would keep a CISO up at night.
  4. Mobility and the Consumerization of ITThe proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices in the enterprise could easily overwhelm any CISO and his/her team. Mobile devices have helped to broaden our system access, increase productivity and quicken our jobs, but you have to also consider that these same devices are fertile ground for account information, passwords and other sensitive data. As more and more employees bring in their own smartphones, laptops and tablets (each installed with even more apps, social tools, data, etc.) onto the enterprise network you have to be prepared with a mobile security strategy. The consumerization of IT is not going to go away. And you will need to learn to embrace it. What’s your mobile security strategy in 2012?
  5. Social MediaEven the savviest of social media gurus can fall victim and allow unauthorized access to corporate social media accounts. If your profile is big enough, these accounts can be a big megaphone to create panic, move markets or even ruin your own brand. In addition, web applications are increasing end-user exposure to everything on the web – from viruses, malware and other vulnerabilities – and with a single click a user can expose themselves to some pretty big risks.

So there it is, the top 5 things that keep this particular CISO up at night. What do you think? Do you agree with the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Perhaps a Top 10 list is in order if we get enough feedback.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep.

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