3 Signs Your Company Needs a Chief Security Officer

Posted: 19th September 2013

Nowadays, a chief security officer (CSO) needs to be someone who can take command of not just the physical aspect of a business’s security needs, but the digital aspect as well. When you consider many of the mechanisms put in place for physical security are run digitally, like automated doors, locks, and card readers, it’s imperative a CSO be familiar with both sides.

In a world where cyber threats are on the rise and digital security is becoming incredibly important for businesses, the position of CSO is becoming more critical and demanding.

Overseeing a company’s entire security protocol and system is a lot of work and requires a candidate to possess abilities and familiarities in all of the following fields:

  • Information Technology (Digital Security)
  • Managerial Experience and Abilities
  • Experience with Physical Security Design or Administration
  • Ability to Interface with Executives

For someone to be an effective CSO, they’ve got to have the ability to perform in all of these functions to varying degrees.

Deciding if your company needs to hire a CSO should depend on whether or not the security related workload is high enough to warrant hiring one full time. If you have lots of employees working in a security role who are all reporting to an executive, that can be incredibly time consuming.

The Right Time to Hire a Chief Security Officer

Once your business grows to the point where security is taking up time from people who should be worrying about other things, it might be time to bring a full-time chief security officer on board.

Below are a few specific ways to know for sure.

1. Increasing complexity as it relates to digital security.

As your company grows and collects more digital data, you’ll need to go to greater lengths to protect it and make sure it’s secure.

If you have someone who’s directing digital security for your company, as well as people who are also directing the physical security side, it might be time to hire someone to act as a manager for those people and anyone who might be working under them.

2. Security related tasks falling to people with other non-related responsibilities.

As the complexity and volume of security related tasks increases (which are inevitable as your company grows) those tasks are going to start falling to people whose job description doesn’t include security.

This takes away time and productivity from employees and executives who should be focusing on other things.

When it gets to this point in your company, it’s time to start considering hiring a full-time CSO, particularly if executives in your company are having to deal with these tasks. If you think about the time you’re losing, it might be well worth the extra salary.

3. Growth in the overall size and scope of your company.

Generally speaking, as your company grows, needs will arise in every area. Security is no exception, and as you hire more analysts, security officers and security directors, the need for someone who can manage them will become more and more apparent.

Chances are the need for a CSO will be fairly obvious from a certain point, which means you’ll know pretty quickly. Even still, look for the workload to start piling up and make sure your company isn’t delegating security tasks just to keep pace.

Once that starts happening, it might be a good time to draft a new job listing for a chief security officer.