The era of the Next-gen security marshalls

24 elite winners emerged from this year's NEXTCSO 2017 Awards

The era of the Next-gen security marshalls - CIO&Leader

Recently, at the NEXTCSO 2017 Awards, 24 elite winners were identified to become the next chief information security officers. Modeled along the line of our older and more well-known NEXT100 awards that identify future CIOs, the award process uses the same methodology, the highlights of which are psychometric test to determine the personality profile and management styles and in-depth interviews by senior CISOs in the industry.

As we present the highlights of the event, I would like to bring out a couple of observations during the event and while analyzing the data pertaining to demographic and professional profiles of the winners and other applicants.

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First, security is becoming more interesting. That actually is the big, bad news. If they sound contradictory, here is what it means. In the conference, speaker after speaker spoke about security threats, future challenges and risks to business in a language and with examples that all of us can relate to. There was very little of those highly technical schematic diagrams that were the mainstay of any security presentation earlier. The bad news is, if we can so closely identify with the threats, they are so much more real than they used to be—and for most of us.

The second—not entirely isolated from the first—is the emergence of ‘leaders’ rather than techies or even managers who are now required to lead this war against the big, bad world of cyber criminals. It was quite evident from the data that I analyzed. There is little difference between the hard skills of the winners and the non-winners. The differences are all primarily about soft skills like innovation, entrepreneurial skills and people skills. That is a definite change.

This time, I got a chance to get into deeper conversations with a lot more CISOs. That gave me a good idea of what is going on in their minds. While the space is too short to get into that—and we will carry some of those videos in our website—one thing is clear. Security is getting aligned more and more with the organizational risk management even though in some cases older structures have not changed.

More about that later—especially as we have done a survey around this very phenomenon. 

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