CIOs Need Learn How To Defend Against The Bad Guys

CIOs have to learn how to defend against the bad guys
CIOs have to learn how to defend against the bad guys
Image Credit: Alyse & Remi

The person with the CIO job needs to understand that his or her company is under constant attack. Yes, some of the attacks come from hostile hackers who are always probing your company’s IT defenses trying to find a way in; however, we must not forget the impact that severe weather can have on the operations of both our IT departments and our company. Clearly, CIOs need to learn how to defend their departments and their companies against all the bad guys…

Why Bother?

I’m going to be the first one to admit this: sometimes when we’re faced with the never-ending challenge of trying to secure the company’s IT resources against a threat that is not always visible, it can be very easy to just throw our hands up and say “I give up”. I mean, if we just put this problem on the back burner for a while would anything bad really happen? There are other bigger companies out there – won’t the bad guys go after them first? Perhaps, but then there’s that weather issue – it doesn’t play favorites!

What this means for us is that it’s really a critical part of our job to get our company ready for what might be coming down the road. If we step back for just a moment, it will become very clear to us why spending the time creating a defensive shield for our IT systems is so very important. Our companies now run on our IT systems. If they were to become unavailable because of either a hacker or weather, then most if not all of the company would grind to a halt. It doesn’t take an accountant to figure out just how expensive that would be!

Not all risks are the same – some you need to be worrying about right now; however, some are a bit further off in the future. In order to make sure that you are creating the right types of defenses that you are going to need in order to deal with your immediate problems, you are going to need to create an enterprise risk management team. Their goal will be able to help you to prioritize what defenses you should be working on now.

What Steps A CIO Can Take In Order To Be Defensive

Knowing that you need to be taking steps to create effective defenses is a great first step. However, now you need to actually take action in order to protect your company’s IT systems. The one thing that we don’t have any control over is when a hacker or severe weather is going to strike so it is our responsibility to always be ready.

Since we can’t be sure exactly what kind of problems our IT department is going to be facing, remaining agile is one of the most important things that we can do. There are many different ways to go about doing this. The first is to take the time to prioritize your security efforts. What needs to be done now and what can be put off for a while? Additionally, you need to make your IT systems even more resilient. This means that you are going to have to prevent even minor interruptions from shutting you down.

The good news when you are faced with a task that is as large and varied as this one is that you are not alone. Other CIOs are facing the same challenges. In order to make sure that you are successful, you can both receive and share information with other organizations. Especially important are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security, and other groups related to your industry.

What All Of This Means For You

Now that you have the CIO position, you are responsible for keeping the company’s IT systems up and running. This means that you need to find ways to guard against hackers and weather related disasters.

In order to make sure that you are always prepared, you are going to have to adopt a strategy of being flexible. Your adversaries will always be changing so you need to be changing also. CIOs also have to remember that one of their greatest defenses is good communication. Take the time to talk with others in the industry and you’ll always know what is going on.

Given the importance of information technology, keeping your company safe and secure is almost a full time task for CIOs. However, if we remember to remain agile and take the time to communicate with others, then we’ll be able to stay one step ahead.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How much of a CIOs time do you think should be spent on creating IT defenses?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Who’s responsibility is it to make sure that a company’s employees have proper communication tools? In the past, the answer to this question was simple – these tools were complicated and expensive and because of the importance of information technology it was the company’s job to properly equip their employees so that they could stay in touch. Well, things have changed. Now it’s the company’s employees who are showing up with the latest cell phones and tablets and they want to hook into the company’s network. What’s a CIO to do?