The Emergence of the CSO and the future of Data Security

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future of data security

Data is the essence of all businesses across the world. Protecting it from theft, exploitation, and misuse is now top priority for the organization. Client data that has been hacked can wipe out crores  in revenues, and stolen intellectual property can impact competitive advantage. This can lead to needless privacy abuses that bring scrutiny and penalties from regulators, causing damage to the organization’s reputation.

Managing data is no longer confined to the multifaceted ecosystem of privacy-conscious consumers, digital staff and suppliers; data today is fuelled by mobility and the cloud. Perimeter-based security is no longer applicable. Data-centric security, where security is positioned closer to the data itself, is now the new reality.

The future of data security

Technologists are now thinking beyond fingerprints, faces or devices to help the cause of data security and confidentiality. A sustainable solution for data privacy might be a mixture of passwords and electronic devices to protect accounts. Some security-sensitive corporations have armed themselves with solutions that produce frequently changing passwords to control access to networks. Security budgets have doubled in sectors beyond banking and defence. This has resulted in the amount of scrutiny becoming enormous with much higher expectations, not just from business and technology heads, but from customers as well.

There has been a rising interest in mobile payments, together with a significant increase in mobile commerce. As device manufacturers and application developers increase usability and functionality and respond to users’ security apprehensions, devices are increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for customers.

One major challenge that companies face today is the dearth of security professionals. A few years ago, it was only the banks and big retailers who hired security specialists. Today, companies across industry verticals need them. There are also practical challenges in choosing the precise data protection software.

The rise of the Chief Security Officer

The corporate boardroom has awakened to the importance of confidence and security. Companies are willing to do what it takes to protect their customer data from being hacked and pilfered. Data security is soon becoming one of the functions within a company that has no budget constraints. CEOs are setting a premium on engaging capable Chief Security Officers (CSOs) to take charge and protect business and customer data.

Businesses look for leaders to take charge as CSOs who are technically proficient, with an instinctive understanding of an organization’s systems, how hackers operate and how to shield themselves against such occurrences. No matter how invested a company may be in cyber security, it can never be totally immune to cyber threats. This is where the CSO steps in – to understand, identify, contain, and remediate the attacks that befall.

Along with technical skill, CSOs also help organizations carve out the security budget, influencing other departments within the company, earning the trust of employees and top management alike. CSOs help strike a careful balance in building security as the core feature alongside the company’s primary business, recognizing security risks and strategising on how they can be managed.

In the current threat environment, business leaders are seeking out CSOs of the future to lead the way.The CSO will be a crisis manager, adept at handling data breaches that makes news, resolving the issue while projecting a sense of calm. Going forward, CSOs will soon be the highest-paid executives in the C-suite.