There are a number of major issues which will have unavoidably consumed much of your time and effort over the course of the pandemic and the recent months, as we emerge from the other end. The security implications of your organisation’s shift to home/hybrid working have been mostly resolved, you’re paying sufficient attention to the precarious geo-political situation in Europe, and you’re aware of the major technology trends that could reshape how your organisation will engage your market over the next five years.

And yet, even if your organisation is fortunate enough to be able to state the above, you may still have fundamental concerns about the effectiveness of your security function.

In our experience with clients across a variety of industries, it’s imperative to consider how best to embed an effective security strategy and operating model before you have a real chance of setting your team up for success in the long run.

So ask yourself some of the following questions, consider whether the root of your biggest security issues is actually down to an ineffective security strategy and operating model, and give some thought to some of our proposed solutions.

And to find out more, please contact our experts George Hare and Greg Wilson.

Symptom / observations Impact Possible solutions

Inability to properly engage senior stakeholders and the board

  • Stunted influence over the broader organisation in applying and assuring security requirements and controls
  • Difficulty obtaining funding for change and BAU work
  • Ensuring the CISO is at the correct position in the organisation, working as a peer of senior business stakeholders
  • Ensure the CISO and security management have the right profile for their respective roles, or are being given the coaching and development needed to effectively lead and exert influence on the wider business

Issues with partner performance:

  • Level of service
  • Attitude and willingness to adapt to the client
  • Difficulty demonstrating value for money
  • Breakdown in trust
  • Inability to meet KPIs
  • Review the metrics used to monitor supplier performance, ensure these relate to the key success factors of your organisation, such as the mitigation of key enterprise risks
  • Couple these metrics with the right incentives and penalties to drive the performance levels targeted
  • Ensure the right bodies are in place to effectively govern their work, providing the right platform to escalate performance concerns in front of the right audience

Stunted cross-team collaboration

  • Slowed response to incidents
  • Duplication of effort
  • Inefficient budget spend
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Review and uplift team structures, roles and responsibilities with senior security management to ensure clarity, as well as buy-in
  • Review and refresh core processes to assess that they are still fit for purpose
  • Run regularly planned simulation exercises for different security incident scenarios to test the changes made and identify further improvements

Imbalance of change versus run effort

  • New services cannot be properly leveraged or embedded into the business
  • Low team morale as there is limited capacity to properly support or monitor new solutions
  • Ensure the right processes are in place to agree the operating model for each new solution, so effort required to adequately support the release is clear and costed
  • Ensure these requirements are continuously fed into a process to review against your resourcing plan for the year, including recruitment plans, and spend on MSSPs

Inability to keep pace with threat landscape and keep the estate current

  • Growing numbers of vulnerabilities across the estate, with difficulty prioritising work
  • Risk of inability to meet regulatory compliance
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities for ensuring your applications and infrastructure are kept up to date. Group your assets into your key business services, and ensure named individuals are mapped to each grouping, with end to end responsibility for the health and resilience of that service
  • Work with the relevant stakeholders to agree the KPIs and SLAs that will drive the level of performance required by the business
  • Ensure performance metrics are regularly reviewed at forums attended by stakeholders empowered to prioritise remediation activity and escalate where required


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