Jinan Budge, VP and Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

The relationship between technology and security leaders has taken a southward turn. While friction between the two is not new, recent dynamics have exacerbated friction, with potentially pernicious effects. On this week’s What It Means episode, VP and Principal Analyst Jinan Budge explains how we got here and how the relationship can be repaired.

One significant factor behind the widening rift, Budge notes, is reconfigured reporting lines. As recently as 2017, 60% of CISOs reported into technology; today, that figure stands at 33%. That means the two teams are frequently competing for budget — and many security functions now get more of it than do technology teams. Additionally, some tech leaders see their security counterparts as impractical and stoking fear.

“Technology executives see security teams who are arrogant and really wanting to talk to boards but not to them … and they see [security teams as] waving a stick and injecting fear, uncertainty, and doubt into the organization, without any pragmatism whatsoever,” Budge says.

While not all tech-security relationships are bad, for those that are, the downstream effects could be severe. “I think in any situation where you’ve got people busier with fighting with one another and pointing fingers, then at a very practical level, the work is not getting done,” Budge says. “A big part of that work is, of course, the cyber security posture. And that can happen also with the security teams not being able to set the strategy because they are so afraid of offending the CIO of not having people on their side.”

What’s needed to turn things around? Trust and empathy are key, says Budge. Open dialogue, listening, and taking the other’s perspective can help bring the two parties closer, she says. Developing a common lexicon and identifying shared goals can help to build a constructive partnership. “CIOs … have a mission of enabling the business, and [CISOs] have a mission of enabling the business, protecting the customers. So when the two work together, there is magic that can occur,” she says.

Listen to the full episode for more on building solid technology-security relationships. And to learn even more on the topic, check out Forrester’s Technology & Innovation APAC event on October 31 and November 1, where Budge will co-lead a keynote session.