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Unpacking CISO Priorities: Innovation, Growth, and Security

A roadmap for technology leaders, executives, and boards
TNCR Staff

In an era characterized by constant change and cybersecurity threats, the role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has never been more critical. CISOs today are not just the guardians of information security; they are strategic leaders driving innovation, growth, and transformation within their organizations.

The latest report from Altrata, titled “2023 Spotlight: CISOs in the US,” provides valuable insights into the priorities, challenges, and strategic imperatives for CISOs at Fortune 500 companies. Drawing on perspectives from industry leaders, expert analysis, and real-world case studies, the report paints a comprehensive picture of the current cybersecurity landscape and in doing so offers a roadmap for technology leaders, executives, and boards seeking to understand and navigate the complex, fast-paced world of modern cybersecurity.

Innovation as a Core Imperative

The report emphasizes innovation as the strongest priority for CISOs, with 55% of respondents focusing on this aspect. CISOs like Amanda Cody of Booz Allen Hamilton have discussed the importance of staying on top of emerging trends and leveraging innovation to create resilient business models. The fast-moving, technologically evolving environment has become a significant professional learning opportunity, though it’s not without its pressures.

Growth and Digital Transformation

Growth is the second-highest priority for CISOs, at 36%. The transformation of businesses through secure technology-driven growth and digitalization is a key focus area. Office Depot’s CEO, Gerry Smith, highlighted how a low-cost, tech-driven business model has led to significant growth. CISOs play a critical role in developing and managing these strategies, making them vital to the overall growth of a company.

Emphasis on Customer Experience

With data breaches posing risks to brand reputation, the CISO’s role in enhancing customer experience is also vital. The report highlights the need for CISOs and chief marketing officers to collaborate to provide secure and attractive brand packages. For example, Abbott Laboratories’ upgraded NeuroSphere myPath digital health app, with enhanced security features, exemplifies this trend.

Scaling Technology and Automation

Scaling technology infrastructure is a priority for 28% of CISOs. Creating new platforms to connect with customers and underpin the digital growth strategy is essential. Leaders like Michael Kasbar of World Kinect have discussed the significance of digital architecture in business resilience.

Automation is another area moving up the agenda. Microsoft’s Bret Arsenault acknowledged the role of automation in maximizing human capital and achieving double the scale with half the resource.

Cloud Computing and Security

A quarter of CISOs are focusing on transferring company data to the cloud for secure storage. Jamie Neumaier of Erie Insurance Group underlined the importance of the cloud for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the same technology resources as large corporations.

Challenges Ahead

While innovation and growth are exciting prospects, the CISO role is fraught with challenges. The relentless pressure to stay at the forefront of cybersecurity awareness and the complexities of security measures and regulations are part of the intricate balancing act.

The Wrap

The Altrata 2023 Spotlight on CISOs in the US report illuminates the roles, responsibilities, and priorities of CISOs. From driving innovation and growth to ensuring brand security and scaling technology, this report offers not only an overview of the current landscape but also a roadmap for future strategies and directions. It serves as a valuable resource for those looking to understand the rapidly changing world of cybersecurity and the leaders shaping it.

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