Security Director Insights: Getting the C-Level Green Light for Your Security Program
Every major project in an organization starts with a budget and that almost always means getting some type of buy-in from top levels of the company. It's no different for security and in fact it can often times be harder. That's the reason so many articles have been written about how security directors/managers can get C-Suite buy-in for physical security initiatives. It's a necessary first step to getting the budget and green light for your program, but you can't count on it being an automatic sell.
Security is easily misunderstood. It can seem nebulous and reactive. It's kind of like buying an insurance policy you hope you'll never need and to a lot of people it doesn't really look like it adds to the bottom line. So what do you have to do to change that perception? Well, it helps to look at it through the eyes of your company senior executives. Here are a few of ways of doing that.
Figure out what's important - Take a larger view of your company or organization. What are the missions and goals as they have been laid out by senior management? How does your security program move that vision forward? This is how senior executive will be evaluating your program.
Quantify your program - This really takes us to ROI. Many people think there is very little ROI in security, so you have to show them how your security program can positively affect the bottom line. Look at all of the ways security helps other departments, increases brand reputation and attracts quality employees. You have to get top level executives to see security for the money maker it is and not as a drain on resources.
Put together the right presentation -- Senior executives are short on time. They respect brevity and expertise. You can't expect C-level executives to wade thought a 16-page report with 30 PowerPoint slides. Security is complex and in an enterprise situation, so is the technology behind it. You are going to have to boil down your presentation to the essentials. Talk with them, tell them what you want and why. Make them understand you know what you are talking about and keep the PowerPoint slides to a minimum or drop them all together. Have back up materials if you need them.
Know Your Stuff - That really brings us to a crucial point. Know what you are talking about. It makes it that much easier to explain it simply. That's where working with a knowledgeable integrator partner can help. Your integrator should be able to explain every aspect of the plan to you so that you can talk with C-level executives with confidence and expertise.