CIO tips for non-CIOS

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The role of the CIO is ever-changing. Sometimes new technology and information security is at the foot of a long to-do list behind duties that are rapidly shifting. Balancing the business, marketing, operations, finance on top of staying tech-savvy can be a burden. All executives are expected to have some knowledge across the C-Suite.

Today’s CIO is balancing business needs with technology needs. They need to be able to understand the intricacies of how critical business technology works, but also understand more broadly how the technology aligns to broader business goals.

Ultimately, a successful CIO will be able to protect client’s information, help reduce costs for the company, and provide the nimbleness to scale technology services up or down based on the needs of the business.

So how do you think like a CIO?

Trust no one.

Protecting data is at the top of the list, according to ASMGi CTO Steve Faykus.
“First and foremost, focus on your key areas of concern and for most, security tends to be at the top of that list,” Faykus said. Particularly because of continuous audits, compliance standards and most importantly, the protection of your customers.

While functional managers will focus on the business benefits and ROI first, a CIO will focus on the risk and how to mitigate risk.

ASMGi’s CISO, Gary Sheehan suggests to think about technology or process changes with three lenses:

  • Support business goals
  • Meet compliance requirements
  • Assess risks and implement security controls to mitigate unacceptable risks.

Resources used to meet the three requirements stated above need to be balanced against the business harm likely resulting from security issues in the absence of those controls. An ongoing Risk Management Program will help guide and determine the appropriate implementation of your internal controls.

Think about the future. Plan to scale.

A successful program meets today’s needs efficiently and allows tomorrow’s needs to be addressed without starting over. Build platform solutions not spot solutions.

Always ask that next question about future needs.

Get more brains.

Technology moves fast, and organizations typically need to solve big problems one time. So bringing in outside help is the only way to get folks with experience to tackle non-recurring problems.

Whether you’re choosing a new tool, looking to build a security program from the ground up, are expanding in a regulated vertical or changing the way your department operates, bringing in a hired gun can be great solution.

And if your organization is not technology forward and does not have its own CIO, it may be more advisable to hire a trusted partner to step in with CIO-like recommendations instead of asking your head of Finance or Operations to try to juggle that role along with everything else.

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