Security Staff Acquisition & Development, Data Security, Leadership, Network Security

Advancing Your Security Leadership Journey

By Michael Santarcangelo

Are you valued as much a leader as you are a security resource (with a team)?

It's the gut check question I ask of security leaders. In most cases, the answer is no. Most security leaders say they receive recognition for technical prowess, not for leadership.

Does this lack of recognition mean you aren't a leader?

Nope. There is another reality. Security leaders face pressures and demands unlike any other leader in the organization. They are tasked with resolving complex situations other leaders don't understand.

A majority of security leaders first earned recognition as individual contributors. They rose through the ranks based on what they could do technically. Then one day they found themselves in a position to be judged based on the success of their team. Next they were responsible for translating and communicating the successes of their teams to executive committees and members of the board. Yet, along the way, most security leaders received little training or support on how to operate in this new world order. Because little training or support currently exists to develop security leaders.
That's our opportunity.

Exploring the landscape of leadership

Understanding where you are is a key step in determining where you want to go. Or where you can go. We're starting to see security leaders making their way to the executive suite. Still we have few models to study.

Except we can embrace the fundamental tenets of leadership, then work together to apply them to security, each of us adapting the principles to our unique situations. Common, but different.

That's the advantage of the CISO Leadership Summit.

It allows us to explore the leadership landscape. We include segments on trust and communication, too. It's a chance to consider your own security journey, learn from others, then plan what comes next.

Real-world analogs to advance our efforts

We are a unique bunch (in more ways than one). But proven leadership concepts transcend the industry. It helps to hear the success of others who faced similar situations.
This year we'll learn from Colonel Jill Morganthaler (RET). During her military career she forged new ground to rise above the ranks and prove herself an impactful leader. Her real-world experience and success holds insights for us, and she is going to share actionable steps based on her experience.

Focus on results over theory

Ask someone to define leadership and receive a flurry of answers. There is no shortage of quotes, platitudes, and books on the concept. Some are helpful. At least in theory, the broader study of leadership holds value.

We're at an inflection point in security. The stakes are high. We face increasing pressure to lead change in our organizations. We need practical, actionable steps to advance our individual leadership journey, explore our foundational concepts, and discuss what matters for us.

This is a one-day opportunity to explore how to advance your journey. Come together with your peers. Forge new connections. Leave with insights and an understanding of what exists to support your efforts.

Make the investment to earn recognition as a leader

Changing the perception from resource to leader takes work. It requires an investment in your leadership. It means demonstrating actions and results that capture attention.

Embrace the journey you're on and renew your passion for the field. Learn the skills you need to lead with confidence, to develop the leadership necessary for your own success.

About the author: Michael Santarcangelo develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success. As the founder of Security Catalyst, he draws on two decades of experience bringing together and working academia, government, and industry to advance security. Focused on elevating and advancing other leaders, Michael shares insights as a published author and contributing editor for CSO Magazine. His work is focused on guiding leaders and teams on the best next step of their journey. Michael will be leading the CISO Leadership Summit that precedes InfoSec World 2016.

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