The Art of War for Security Managers

712202.gifAs security professionals we must accept the fact that conflict is a normal part of our professional and personal lives. Far from being an unnatural phenomenon that must be either avoided at all costs or waged with the goal of absolute destruction, conflict can be beneficial. Those who manage conflict well obtain efficient victories; those who fail to manage conflict well exhaust their resources and are eventually defeated.

This is a quote from the excellent “The Art of War for Security Managers” by Scott Watson.

The book is impressive because, rather than being another technical know-all guide, it focuses on being effective through managing of relationships within the organisation. I particularly like the following:

Security managers and other leaders who wish to remain relevant and vital to the organizations they serve will keep asking and answering the fundamental questions.

1. What is really important to the organization?

2. How does my department support those priorities?

3. How do other departments support those priorities?

4. How do I personally support those priorities?

5. What are my personal priorities and do they match the overall goals

of the organization I serve?

One of the principle challenges remains getting the ear of senior management who still see security as an IT function, and are reluctant to include security managers on matters such as budgeting and business strategy. Part of this is doubtless because we’re still a young industry where the majority of practitioners are former network engineers and, let’s face it, communication and management skills were not requirements for tuning routers and analysing IDS logs.

However, more individuals are now on MSc courses that focus on security or gaining business skills via the MBA route. The profession is becoming professional. This book might just help you to understand what is motivating senior management and how, as a security professional, you can achieve credibility and add value at that level.