I recently went to a presentation at Norwich University in Vermont. Tom Peters was the speaker. For those of you that don’t know or recall Tom Peters, he is the guy that wrote a book back in 1982 called “In Search of Excellence”. He is also a frequent speaker at all types of events and has been called the “uber-guru” of management by the likes of Fortune and Economist. His focus, among many things, is for people and companies to focus on providing excellent service by building relationships. This includes providing outstanding service to both external customers and internal employees. It is about building relationships with people. It got me to think about Information Security and the challenges we all face in this field on day to day basis.

So, what does this have to do with information security?

Information Security is no different than many other professions. It is about people and building relationships. In order to build an Information Security Program, you would of course need the expertise and technical people to lay the foundation and keep it up and running….and of course secure. But all of this requires time, resources and money. It requires that security professionals understand the business. It requires executive buy in. It requires Information Security managers, CISO’s and security administrators to provide expertise advice in a ‘business-like” manner and not just saying we need something…”just because it will stop the bad guy from getting into our networks”. Building a rapport with the business leaders and business units will help foster a working relationship built on trust and a partnership. It may even help with communication and being able to demonstrate value to the business unit and to the executive team.

Maybe if we start to focus on building relationships versus building up large boundaries such as Firewalls (pun intended), we all may be a little more effective in really managing our respective company’s risk and security programs. Building excellent service, both internally and externally, along with building a rapport with business leaders should make the job of “selling” security a little easier, right?

Tim Trow is a Senior Consultant at Zensar.

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