The Evolution of Top Corporate Security Leadership Roles
The evolution of the nature and responsibilities of the senior-most security roles in organizations is always a hot topic with employers and candidates for those top jobs. Differing philosophies about the concept of convergence of all security related risk areas in one single executive’s portfolio have fueled long-running debates on the topic.
Differing sides of the argument about the purpose, nature and objectives of these roles often indicate a misunderstanding of the core goal. There can also be territorial challenges around ownership and execution.
These ongoing debates are, unfortunately, an impediment to the evolution of the role. Security challenges often change more rapidly than the programs put into place to mitigate them. It is important that security leadership roles likewise expand to meet the task.
The original concept of a senior-most security leader was built around an organizational standard. It created a single point of accountability. This individual was the executive charged with providing leadership and governance by ensuring a comprehensive, integrated security risk strategy. It was accountable to the senior leadership team of the organization.
It signaled a high level of commitment to the organization by reporting and functioning at the top level. It had access to other leadership bodies, the Board and its operating committees. Functional reporting was not recommended.
The title of the position was not viewed as critical to being successful in the role. Depending on the organizational culture and structure, the person in the role might well be a business executive with other executives and/or senior managers leading separate key security related functional areas.
In some organizations this can be accomplished through cross functional teams and/or risk committees. Further, program execution and operational management might well be matrixed and shared along with separate organizational businesses or operating units. This thinking did not rule out a centralized approach.
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