360 Degrees Group Inc.

CREATING A SECURITY STRATEGY

The concept of a strategy is often used to describe the way the business will grow or develop over a long period of time with a number of specific targets it wants to achieve: grow by 30%, establish a 55% market dominance, expand into Europe or Australia, and so forth. Strategic targets are often pitched as financial, marketing or technology related plans, so it should come as no surprise that security strategy refers to the laying down of high-level plans that show a considerable improvement in security posture over a defined timeframe.

Your security strategy must be realistic enough to influence the business to invest money consecutively over a defined number of financial periods (years, quarters, half-years). You can then use the money to achieve targets (or milestones) on a strategic plan, underpinned by tactical, short term plans.

Any good strategy will align itself with your implementation program but will project beyond its initial stages to a three-to-five year timeframe. Consider the implementation program as tactics that help progress you, step-by-step toward long-term strategic objectives.

For example, an organization could run three iterations of an information security implementation program over three years, successively building on the output of the previous stage to achieve the strategic objective. Each interim stage builds on the success of the previous one, but can also deliver strategic risk reduction in itself.

Acceptance of your strategy from the organization’s board or C-Suite is only possible if you include details related to the following:

• High-level objectives
• How the risk profile of the business improves with time
• Clearly communicating benefits as “value propositions”
• Trends in global and regional threats and vulnerabilities
• Aligning the security strategy with the business strategy
• Supporting the business’s technical strategy
• Demonstrating a focus on cost savings

Lastly, your strategy should be visionary , demonstrating your organization’s maturity and depth of understanding of information security practices and needs. It should be written in plain, non-technical language and must state the goals of the business as simply as possible; this document exists alongside marketing strategies, business plans and technical roadmaps, so it needs to be consumed by the same set of audiences that read the rest of the business’s strategic literature.

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