Pragmatic CSO Podcast

By Mike Rothman

About this podcast   English    United States

The Pragmatic CSO podcast is a wide ranging discussion of information security topics, anchored by the 12-step Pragmatic CSO methodology to help security practitioners become more relevant in business operations.
In this podcast



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Sept. 25, 2008
This week we'll focus on the 2nd half of Step 6: Buying Security Products, which get down and dirty in picking the product. We've already engaged with a long list of potential vendors (we discussed that last week) and now it's time to figure out what will work for you. Next we do a bake-off and actually test the products under real world conditions. Then we develop our short list (based on products that can meet the need), then we get to negotiate. Get out your bat because that's what you'll be using. Finally the selection should be obvious if you've done the other steps correctly. If you didn't get the Buying Security Products ebook, you can sign up for the Daily Incite email newsletter. If you read TDI via a blog feed, just send me an email and I'll forward the guide over to you. Running time: 6:56 Intro music is Jungle and to close the show I bust out a classic from the Pure Funk age called "Pick Up The Pieces" from the Average White Band. Yes, you remember it. Yes, you love it. Get funky! 
Sept. 17, 2008
As we jump into Step 6: Buying Security Products, it makes sense to understand what kind of homework we are going to have to do prepare for the process. Remember, it's easy to buy something, it's hard to buy the right thing at the right time for the right price.So this week we discuss the first 4 steps of the Buying Security Products process I published back in 2006. The first step is to understand the business drivers for your project, then you assemble the team, then you educate YOURSELF on the market (don't let the vendors educate you), and only then are you ready to engage with a long list of vendors that can potentially meet the need.If you want to check out the Buying Security Products ebook, you can sign up for the Daily Incite email newsletter. If you read TDI via a blog feed, just send me an email and I'll forward the guide over to you.
Aug. 13, 2008
It's time to wrap up Step 5: Selling the Story. We finish the discussion by talking about how to get funding, when the budget monkeys have told you no. Basically we have to take a "grass roots funding" approach to go to the business leaders directly, make the case, and get the funding we need. It's kind of like selling cookies door to door. We have to be persistent and make the case as to why it would be a good purchase.This requires us to broaden our skills and likely move out of our comfort zone quite a bit. It's uncomfortable, but it's a good thing. Just remember to focus on the "customer" issues, and that the Reasons to Secure. The business leaders will respond to that. Ultimately you may not get the funding you need, but you won't go down like a whimpering puppy. You'll go down swinging, trying to do the right thing.Running time: 6:29Intro music is Jungle and I finish it up with Dire Straits "Money for Nothing," because that is an appropriate metaphor. There is no money for nothing. We have to work for it and sometimes that means being creative about the funding we can/should get.Photo Credit: weskimcom
July 30, 2008
July 30, 2008 - This week we talk about the sales pitch. This is the part that most security practitioners hate. Actually having to get in front of folks and ask for money. Although if you've followed the process up to now, then you should be in great shape to put together a compelling story and to deliver that message to the senior team.In this week's episode (can you believe it's #20 already?), I go into detail about how to structure the sales pitch and what you should discuss and why. We are reminded about what the goals are and also the importance of practice - especially if you are an inexperienced public speaker.Running time: 6:52Intro music is Jungle and since we are talking about making a "pitch" and it's the middle of summer (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway) I broke out John Fogerty's classic baseball anthem, "Centerfield." Enjoy!Photo Credit: XPLANEPS: My apologies for some spotty audio quality this week. You can hear everything, but I tried out a new headset and it didn't work out too well. Back to the old gear next week!
July 2, 2008
This week we continue with Step 5: Selling the Story by reiterating the need to manage expectations appropriately. As you know, this is a common theme throughout the Pragmatic CSO, but when we are selling senior management on the security program, strategy, outputs, milestones, and funding requirements - now is really the last time we'll have to truly set expectations. If you screw this up now, you will not be successful. Now is the time to stand firm with your milestones and what you can (and can't get done) given the funding scenarios (that we described last week). I use the old parable about the 3 envelopes to illustrate how you need to constantly go back and reset expectations based upon what is happening out there. Running time: 6:02 Intro music is Jungle and I'll wrap with the classic Steely Dan tune "Do it Again" because as many times as we think we are managing expectations, go back and do it again. It's very hard to manage expectations too much. 
June 25, 2008
June 25, 2008 - This week we start into Step 5: Selling the Story by discussing funding scenarios. This is a technique that Pragmatic CSOs use to provide some alternatives and make the scenario we want (the likely one) a bit more tangible by providing alternatives.In the show, I discuss how to develop these scenarios using your Security Architecture Matrix and then why it's important to discuss what won't get done, as part of these funding scenarios.Running time: 6:20Intro music is Jungle and you are sent on your merry way with the fine sounds of "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" from an Australian band called Jet. That's pretty appropriate because in Step 5 we ask the senior team to start writing checks, and then we'll figure out if they really will put up.  Photo Credit: drewm
June 18, 2008
Finally we come to the end of the line on building the security business plan. It was a long time coming, but again this is the most important step in effecting long lasting change in your security organization. First I talk about defining the future state, and setting priorities relative to what you must have, should have, and is nice to have. Then it's all about setting up the migration plan, which needs to be in alignment with the timelines and milestones that we discussed last week. A lot of this stuff happens simultaneously, but it's very important to manage expectations appropriately at this stage of the game. Running time: 6:50 Intro music is Jungle and I'll let you go listening to the fine sounds of "Future says Run" from a band called Tonic. You may not have heard of Tonic, but you've heard a bunch of their songs. It's good stuff - if I do say so myself.  
June 11, 2008
This week we delve into the art of setting timelines and milestones within your business plan. After we discussed the importance of setting the bar (in terms of service levels), it's the timelines that really will determine your ultimate credibility with the senior team.Once you define the key timelines, it's also important to have a process to revisit the project plans and to communicate variances. You need to expect that some of the initiatives will run off the track a bit and ensure you are aggressive about communicating the issues. Running time: 7:05Intro music is Jungle and the exit music is "Time" from Pink Floyd. Like you expected anything else.
May 28, 2008
This week we talk about service levels within the context of your security business plan. That's right, this is about setting the bar. Too high and you can't get there and you will be viewed upon as a failure in the executive wing. Too low and you may open yourself up to a breach on your watch. So we are looking for something "just right." We also need to start thinking about how to quantify some of the stuff we are doing, and now is not the time to look for innovative means of pulling security metrics. We need to take some data the powers that be are already used to and then set some achievable service levels. Remember, this is about building credibility, not showing how cool you are. Running time: 6:50 Intro music is Jungle and the exit music is "Elevation" from U2.  
May 22, 2008
Ah the mysteries of architecture. I can remember back to my days in college at Cornell. We had a great architecture school, but those folks seemed like magicians. They weren't around too much and it seemed like they were doing cool things, we engineers just didn't understand what it was. Understanding how to build your security architecture isn't all that different. So this week, I delve into the nuances of architecture vs. design and also provide a brief description of the "Pragmatic Security Architecture," (click on the link to see the picture) which is my attempt to break the world into some domains that make sense.The picture to the right is of the Cornell Architecture school, where they have a Dragon Day tradition that involves building a giant dragon and then marching over to the Engineering Quad and setting it on fire on the Arts Quad (I think). I guess there is rivalry between the two schools, but I was too busy funneling beers to notice.Running time: 6:53Intro music is Jungle and sign off with Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery." The sad truth is that most of us don't really get how to build much of anything, and this security stuff is truly a mystery - so that seemed pretty fitting.
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