What CISOs and Cat Herders Have in Common

Jake Margolis, CISO, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
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What do CISOs and cat herders have in common? Both are good at herding cats. This may be an odd skill for a highly-skilled profession that couples technology with risk mitigation. But the CISO role is a people role first and foremost. CISOs work with department leaders across the organization to understand their technology needs and advise them on their implementation to ensure all PII, PHI, and/or IP is protected. This requires the CISO to attend lots of meetings, ask lots of questions, and provide expert counsel. But Finance’s needs aren’t usually aligned with Marketing’s. While an organization can’t survive without either function, unless they systems they use are integrated with the organization’s security infrastructure, the organization won’t survive anyway. As a result, CISOs spend their days chasing department heads around, making sure they don’t veer off and get into trouble by buying some technology that exposes the organization to unnecessary risk. Sound familiar? A cat herder will tell you “yes.”

I recently sat down with Jake Margolis, CISO for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to explore the challenges he deals with on a daily basis and the lessons he’s learned in his role. In this video, Jake discusses an important yet underappreciated aspect of the CISO role that few non-CISOs understand or even consider.

CISO Perspectives is a blog series featuring conversations with chief information security officers from different industries. Each blog features a unique perspective on a variety of topics pertinent to the CISO profession and career. Visit our CISO Perspectives page for more blogs and videos.

 


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