Why security leaders love their jobs

CISO_joblove_avatar1Rather than focusing on the traditional objects of affection on Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate people who are passionate about their jobs? We’ve been talking to a lot of security leaders recently. One common refrain that has caught me off-guard in our conversations is how much they really love what they do. 

One might not expect security leaders to be so enthusiastic in a time of such high risk, with cyber-attacks as swift and plentiful as Cupid’s arrows. However, in their roles, security leaders find excitement, accomplishment, creativity and more. They enjoy thwarting evil at the digital doorstep, protecting their companies’ valued information and wearing the white hat of an upstanding security professional.

Even IBM’s own guardians expressed their pleasure. “Many of us have a very ‘altruistic bent,’” says IBM’s former VP IT Risk/CISO and current head of Security Services, Kris Lovejoy. “Being a CISO truly allows us to save the world in meaningful ways, albeit without a cape,” says our security superhero.

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Joanne Martin, IBM’s current VP IT Risk and CISO, believes that “the role is exciting, stimulating, and provides an opportunity to solve problems ‘for the good’. And, where else do you get to use the word nefarious?” And she’s serious about the nefarious of the cyber-world—they’re present and active, even if not always readily apparent.

Elsewhere in the realm of cybersecurity, the IBM Center for Applied Insights just published its third annual CISO Assessment. Besides offering ways in which companies can better safeguard their businesses, the study also highlights several trajectories the role of CISO is likely to take in the near future.

Modern security leaders are not only the protectors of their businesses but also the liaisons for cultivating security skills and raising awareness. They must be both students and teachers of the practice, understanding shifting regulations and also imparting their newfound knowledge internally and externally. One Education CISO put it best by saying, “You get to use so many skills—writing, public speaking, teaching, mentoring, working with all types of people.”

Suffice it to say that on this Valentine’s Day we’re glad that security professionals are so passionate about their roles. It’s a challenging, multifaceted, constantly evolving business function, requiring dedicated, innovative, communicative individuals. Fortunately, it looks like security leadership roles attract these kinds of people.

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