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Ep. 1: Starting Out as a

BY eSentire

July 15, 2021 | 3 MINS READ

Cyber Risk

Managed Risk Programs

Cybersecurity Strategy

Want to learn more on how to achieve Cyber Resilience?


Cybersecurity is not an IT problem to solve—it's a business risk to manage. In the Managing Cyber Risk podcast series, Mark Sangster, Vice President and Industry Security Strategist with eSentire, and Cybercrime Magazine’s Hillarie McClure lead conversations with cybersecurity experts, using the dollars-and-cents language of the C-suite to expose the issues, challenges and pitfalls which are often obscured by ones and zeroes.

In Episode One of the eSentire Managing Cyber Risk podcast series, Starting Out as a New CISO, Mark and Hillarie discuss what new CISOs need to know and explore a range of topics including:

Many new CISOs—particularly within small and medium businesses (SMBs)—inherit organizations that are relatively immature from a cybersecurity program standpoint. Therefore, it is crucial that new CISOs start by brokering internal relationships with senior executives so that when a major incident happens, the CEO is focused more on the message versus whether he/she can trust the new CISO.

While it can be tempting (and they may feel pressure) to boil the ocean, Mark recommends adopting a disciplined approach that begins with determining where your organization’s security maturity is today, what types of domains, controls or documents are in place, and where the security team is in terms of their ability to manage a bad situation. Identifying and understanding your security maturity through conversations with the C-suite and your team sets the baseline for where your company needs to be in the future, while creating clear and achievable objectives in order to build an actionable security plan and roadmap.

Of course, doing so may be easier said than done. Thankfully, there are resources available to help. NIST, ISO, and CMMC provide comprehensive guides, but these can often be overwhelming with 100s of controls. As a digestible alternative, Mark offers eSentire's Cybersecurity Governance for Small and Medium Businesses.

So much has changed in recent years—as just one example, BYOD has given way to BYOH (“bring your office home”)—and threat actors have taken advantage. Mark recommends CISOs pay close attention to threat feeds and cybersecurity blogs as attacks are typically discussed in these forums before they hit the mainstream news, and give CISOs time to proactively prepare for the conversations and questions that may follow.

In addition, a new CISO has to ensure employees are participating and retaining security awareness training. Too many organizations know that a lack of employee training and understanding of cyber risks exist. But, conducting phishing simulations and exercises or explaining why the additional steps of MFA remove 80% of cyber risk, provide employees with both a professional and personal perspective. Helping employees to understand the tips and tricks necessary to keep your data safe will go a long way to building the human firewalls needed to protect your organization.

If you’re new to the CISO job or aspire to take on the role in the future, this episode is a great way to learn what’s in store and begin strategizing for success—and if you or your organization is looking for assistance today, learn about eSentire’s Managed Risk Services, all of which include a Virtual CISO to assist with Security Programs Maturity Assessment.

Remember: the CISO is the bridge between the security/IT teams and the rest of the business. So, succeeding in this capacity requires trust and a common language—and both should be established well before a crisis emerges.

Be sure to stay tuned for more Managing Cyber Risk! In the next episode, Equifax’ Daniel Stiegman joins Mark and Hillarie to discuss the murky and oft-misunderstood world of insider threats.


eSentire, Inc., the Authority in Managed Detection and Response (MDR), protects the critical data and applications of 2000+ organizations in 80+ countries, across 35 industries from known and unknown cyber threats by providing Exposure Management, Managed Detection and Response and Incident Response services designed to build an organization’s cyber resilience & prevent business disruption. Founded in 2001, eSentire protects the world’s most targeted organizations with 65% of its global base recognized as critical infrastructure, vital to economic health and stability. By combining open XDR platform technology, 24/7 threat hunting, and proven security operations leadership, eSentire's award-winning MDR services and team of experts help organizations anticipate, withstand and recover from cyberattacks. For more information, visit: www.esentire.com and follow @eSentire.

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