December 20, 2016 By David Strom 2 min read

The first day on the job for a typical chief information officer (CIO) or chief information security officer (CISO) can be a challenge. There is plenty to do, people to meet, and systems, policies and processes to learn, not to mention the task of getting used to the corporate culture.

There are also important questions to ask. For instance, did the company just suffer from a breach or major infection? How is morale around the IT department? Who is in charge of what?

Built-In Challenges for the CIO and CISO

Certainly, these jobs comes with some built-in challenges. CyberRisk International created a complex flow chart illustrating interlocking responsibilities, skills, systems and budgets. There is so much to deal with, and people are already waiting for the CIO to fail or make a silly mistake. The best advice is to tread lightly at first and learn the ropes.

IT World interviewed several CISOs from Bugcrowd, Haddix, Cylance, OneLogin and other security firms talk about their first days on the job. “The first thing needed is to review the current state of the information security policy,” said one executive, adding that new security leaders should get “intimate with this document, as well as the lessons learned in creating it.”

Know Your Data

Incoming security leaders should examine all the data being transferred in and out of the organization. Determine who the different data owners are, how they relate to each other, and what compliance and regulatory issues apply to the data. This requires balancing the internal and external risks to this data collection and making sure that your resources are appropriate and effective.

The CISO role is still somewhat uncommon in many corporations and has been evolving over the last few years. Some CISOs aren’t even housed in the IT department — they prefer to work closer to the end-user departments they serve. “I need to be embedded in the same office to be responsive,” said one chief technology officer (CTO).

An Ongoing Journey

Another challenge stems from the changing nature of the security landscape. “A security program is an ongoing journey,” Alvaro Hoyos, the CISO at OneLogin, told IT World. “Once you have the lay of the land, you need to determine how you will maintain and grow that program effectively.” It’s also important to keep up with these changes and evolve your role over time.

Finally, do your homework — even before you show up for the first in-person interview. “You absolutely need to start researching the business prior to your first day on the job,” Shawn Burke, Global CSO at Sungard AS, told the source. Develop road maps, strategies, 100-day plans and priorities ahead of time, and your organization (and your reputation) will thank you later.

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