I had the chance to sit down with Credit Suisse’s CISO and Head of IT Risk, Daniel Barriuso, to ask him a few questions about his role at Credit Suisse and his approach to security. Daniel will be keynoting this week at Forrester’s Security Forum, which kicks off this Thursday, September 16th. Here’s a sample of our Q&A below:

Why is a more holistic approach to IT security so important today? 

[Barriuso]: Given the complex and fast changing IT security landscape, a holistic approach is key to being able to effectively understand the end-to-end threat landscape and manage it proactively. This entails planning for both current and emerging threats, identifying future trends, and making conscious decisions on the security investments required.

What were some of the most important lessons that you learned over the last several years?

[Barriuso]: A key lesson that I have learned through my career is that governance is the foundation for a strong IT security organization. Often organizations focus on technology and technical controls as the main driver to secure data. Instead, a top-down approach is required, beginning with the policy, governance bodies, and risk management framework.

What advice would you give to other senior security leaders who want to move to this more holistic approach?

[Barriuso]: Although every organization is different and business drivers require a tailored approach, I would advise them to focus on three main aspects: Build a consistent governance framework; implement a centralized control catalog covering key control requirements (e.g. policy, regulatory/legal, etc.); and move towards proactive threat modelling.

Many of Daniel’s comments echo Forrester’s own advice and recommendations to clients: You don’t need more point products and controls; they’re ineffective unless you have the supporting governance and oversight and processes.

We’re looking forward to continuing the conversation with Daniel this week and hearing him elaborate on these and other questions. Follow the conversation on Twitter this week with the hashtag #SF10.