SABMiller CISO: 'Keeping your company secure is not a strategy'
SABMiller CISO: 'Keeping your company secure is not a strategy'

Chief information security officers have to become business enablers and talk at board level if they want to retain their status.

Speaking at the Gartner security conference in London, Mark Brown, chief information security officer at SABMiller, said if CISOs do not engage their board then they could lose 'chief officer' from their job title within five years.

Brown, who was named SC magazine's information security person of the year in 2011, said "keeping your company secure is not a strategy" and that CISOs have to be an "enabler to the business and understand what the organisation is".

He said: “You need to raise your own profile to prove to the board who you are and be able to answer what questions come to you. You need to understand the extended environment and the organisation. To get to a strategic planning process, do not do it within IT – get out and speak to the business and come up with a technology plan.

“But remember one thing: no one likes techno-babble except IT, so keep it simple.”

He went on to say that IT people are often "not communicators" and find it difficult to ask for funding or explain the risks facing their business.

“This is not about relaying risk, it is about documenting a level of corporate governance – but you want to remove ‘un' from unmanaged risk,” he said.

“The key questions are: how will it impact the business; and, what is important to the business? You have to look at the short term, but also mid- to long-term too.”

Brown claimed that by using these methods he has been able to secure a 1,200 per cent increase in funding.