IT GovernanceIT Health Check

Security Skills Grow More Closely Aligned with Business Acumen

Security is constantly expanding and evolving — and not just because the threats within IT are changing. According to this article by Susan Hall, security professionals are now being called on more and more to align more closely with business. This requires more than just participation in weekly meetings: it means having a level of business acumen previously unneeded in IT. Citing multiple sources to support this premise, Hall presents the opinions of Tom Scholtz, who explains:

competencies [are] starting to cluster around the ability to interact with the business more effectively, so it’s competencies like understanding business terminology, competencies like communicating effectively with the business, the ability to link security technology projects to actual business initiatives and maintaining line of sight between security projects and actual business requirements and business strategies.

While these are not new aims, it’s unique that security is finding the need to understand the business side of organizations more. The reason is plain: IT security has become a concern for more than just IT. Almost every department utilizes information technology at some critical point in their work, and that makes the touch points between IT security and the rest of the organization more frequent and more time consuming. Security needs to help bridge the gap in both understanding what other departments need and making themselves understandable to those other departments as well. The effort goes beyond the benefits of being understood: IT security needs to prove that its efforts are aligned to overall business goals. It is not enough, Hall explains, to simply “stop bad things from happening”, but also explain how they help good things from occurring as well. Hall goes on to suggest even going so far as to send IT to courses in business, and sharpening their presentation and marketing skills. By giving your IT staff the tools to communicate in the same language as the business, it’ll be easier for both to understand what direction they need to be heading together.

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