Security Geek vs Executive Board (Or Why Your Executive Board Ignore Your Security Proposals)

Ray Stanton, Vice President and Global Head of BT’s Business Continuity, Security and Governance, Customer Service Practices had a strong message to deliver to attendees of his key note speech.

One of his first questions was how many attendees felt that they had 100% support from their board in defending their corporate assets. Roughly 50% of people attending put up their hands. This was followed up by how many had to deal with shrinking budgets for IT defence and again probably another 50% put up their hands here.

The point of Stanton’s message was something we’ve already alluded to regarding this exact problem – you’re not speaking the same language!

One of Stanton’s disappointments was that he felt more members should have turned up as his spot survey (and certainly my random findings) indicated that a lot more security professionals have this exact problem than were present.

My belief is that many people in security have this problem exactly because they will not attend management style briefings such as Stanton’s. Instead preferring to spend more time at tutorials on understanding botnets rather than finding out and understanding how they can get the budget to defend their company against a botnet attack.

One thing that Stanton, iterated several times is that if you did not attend his talk, then attend a similar seminar or at least get a copy of his talk, plagiarize and re-use his material to help you get the most from your board executives. Remember your executive board speaks in dollars, yens, pounds and euros not bits and bytes. They speak in terms of benefits, assets, goodwill not features, cool tools and security jargon.

So, and I hasten to add that this is my personal opinion, the next time you think that your board doesn’t understand either you or your proposal….perhaps think that it could be you.

Go disguise yourself, so your geek brothers don’t know that you’ve actually turned up to a seminar on management, marketing or sales and when you begin getting your proposals through for those new security widgets that have defeated the latest malware, botnet or vulnerability then pass the details on to your geek brothers!


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