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The chief security officer: Challenges and solutions

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                In all the organizations that have a large number of workers and a reasonable scale of operation require a security system within its operations as a risk management strategy. Security is needed on safe guarding the organization’s assets, human resources and its information on avoiding it being accessed by an illegal person (Fischer, Halibozek and Green, 2008). This condition calls for the instituting a security department within an organization. In an extended role, an organization’s security system is entrusted to the responsibly of ensuring that the rules and regulations of an organization are adhered to. On running a security department in an organization, an organization is required to deploy security officers who will undertake the responsibilities associated to security. The efficiency and the effectiveness of the security system of an organization have a positive impact on the organization’s performance (Fischer, Halibozek and Green, 2008). It contributes to the organization’s performance on the reason that, it will enhance the safety of the organization’s assets and information. Information in an organization is significant. The controlling of information accessibility in an organization is required because the access of some information by some group of persons might be a risk to the company on attaining its goals. This follows from the varied interests of different participants in an organization, as they are likely to use the information in varied ways. Therefore, security is a necessity in an organization on ensuring the attaining of the organization’s goals as predetermined.

                Following the significance of security in an organization as provided above, an organization is required to deploy staff that should be responsible over security issues in an organization. The performance of the security department will however depend on the kind of security officers that an organization has. This implies that, an organization should deploy only qualified persons in the department if it expected good performance of the department. This should start from the top official in the department. The Chief Security Officer is the top official in the department of security. He or she is the one who is responsible in coordinating and overseeing all the security issues in an organization. The CSO is expected to work in coordination with the other departments on promoting the general performance of an organization.

                The paper is meant to explain the likely challenges that are faced by a Chief Security Officer (CSO) and then provide the likely solutions to the challenges. On addressing this, the papers start at providing the roles and responsibilities of a CSO, and the expected qualities of a CSO before evaluating the possible challenges and their solutions. The paper is crowned by providing the necessary remedied that should be availed on enhancing an effective implementation of the solutions.

    Roles and duties of the chief security officer

    There are a number of tasks and duties that are re allocated to a CSO. Some of these responsibilities include the following; The CSO is entrusted to the responsibility of designing security strategies, which are meant to ensure an effective security system with an aim of protecting the organization’s property, human resources and information (Rudman, 1994). The strategies are expected to be oriented to the current security challenges of the organization and also the expected challenges that are likely to undermine the security status of the organization. Therefore, the CSO is supposed to provide a bearing in the security department both in the current and in the future.

    The CSO is also expected to determine the implementation plan of the designed strategies and also evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented plans. The evaluation on the effectiveness of the already implemented plans can be perceived as a source of information over the necessary changes that have to be made in the security system on ensuring effectiveness and efficiency in the security department.

    Expected qualities of a chief security officer

                For the CSO to execute the roles and duties entrusted to him or her effectively, he or she is expected to posses a number of qualities that are certain to enable him or her to be effective. The most significant quality is to have the necessary professional qualifications which will enable the CSO to carry out the duties and responsibilities entrusted to him with more effectiveness (Rudman, 1994). Professional qualifications provide the CSO with the basics which are certain to enable him to identify his or her duties, and also at the same time equip him or her with the necessary skills that will enable him or her to make rational and informed decisions when confronted with situations where he or she has to make decisions. The other reinforcing qualities include; teamwork efficiency, hardworking, accountable, and transparent and a motivator among other related skills which are required to improve his or her performance.

    The possible challenges of the CSO

                Following the responsibilities and duties that are likely to be entrusted to the CSO of an organization as provided above, there are a number of challenges that a CSO is likely to encounter on him or her executing the duties and responsibilities entrusted to him or her. On the assumption that CSO has the required qualities for an effective CSO, the possible challenges which are certain to restrain the performance of the CSO are provided below;

    i) Organizational structure

    The nature of the organizational structure that an organization adapts determines the effectiveness of the security department in an organization and the responsibilities that are entrusted by the CSO. The operations of the CSO are likely to be affected by the organizational structure more especially in the situation where the organization has taken a vertical organizational structure other than a horizontal organizational structure (August, Collette and Gentile, 2005). A vertical organizational structure is described by its chain of command, which flows hierarchically from the top managers to the subordinate staff. Security department is not a core department in an organization; otherwise it’s a subordinate department which is expected to take directives from the top managers as its operations are not core. In some situations, the top managers may implement decisions arbitrary without necessarily consulting the subordinate departments like security. This is an action that is likely to pose contradictions within the security department in an organization. The top management may make decisions that are certain to undermine the effort that is made by the security department which is headed by the CSO, hence posing a challenge to the CSO because he or she is distracted from the possible strategies that he or she might have designed on improving the performance of the security department.

    ii) Coordination with the other departments

    In the case for a horizontal organizational structure, different departments of an organization carry out their operations autonomously. Under such a situation, there arises the possibility there being conflicting intersests between different departments of the organization. The interests will be competing across different departments. For example, the public relation department may adapt a practice which is likely to undermine the effort of the security department on ensuring information safety and the protecting of the organization’s property by the public relation department sharing information with the public which is likely to have an adverse negative effect on the performance of the organization (August, Collette and Gentile, 2005). The other departments, for example the sales, marketing, procurement and production among other departments are also likely to pose a conflict. This becomes a challenge to the CSO because his or her effort on streamlining the security department of the organization will be undermined following the conflicting interests of different departments of the organization.

    iii) Perception of the organization’s members

    The security department in an organization takes an investigative role, which means that, the department is likely to undertake investigations on the operations of the other departments (August, Collette and Gentile, 2005). The heads in these investigated departments may feel bothered by the security department. This attitude might demoralize the heads of the other departments, which is certain to undermine collaboration of the security department with the other departments. This is a set back to the organization’s CSO.

    iv) Reliance on other departments

    The security department operations are influenced by the activities of the other departments like the human resources and procurement departments of an organization (August, Collette and Gentile, 2005). The human resources department recruits staff on behalf of the security department. The nature of the staff is likely to influence the performance of the security department, meaning that, the performance of the security department will be indirectly determined by the human resources department following the quality of the human capital inherent in the department. This will affect the intelligence level of the security department despite the individual effort of the CSO. The procurement department, which is responsible on determining the organization’s purchases, has an impact on the security department. The impact follows from the prioritizing responsibility of the procurement department in supplying various departments with their respective requirements. Following this responsibility of the procurement department, the department is likely to determine the facilities which are used within the security department despite the desires of the CSO, hence a challenge to the CSO.

    Solutions to the challenges

                Following the significance of the security department and the responsibilities of the CSO, there emerges the need for an organization to address the above identified challenges that the CSO faces. The possible solutions are as provided below;

                An organization should adapt an organizational structure which is likely guarantee all the main participants in the organization an opportunity in contributing to decision making. This will be an interactive decision making process which is likely to factor all the views of all the heads in all the departments. It will provide the CSO an opportunity to express himself or herself as pertains to the requirements of the security department and the intended direction.

                Despite the importance of letting each department to operate autonomously on attaining the organization’s goals, the possibility of there being conflicting interests among the departments should be corrected by instituting a coordinating committee. The committee will be required to advice the various departments on how effective should they operate on avoiding the tendency of conflicting interests which undermine the efforts of other departments. In other words, the coordinating committee should be comprised of the heads from various departments, and should provide guidelines which should be adhered to by all the departments. This is a solution to the CSO over the challenges that arise following the conflicting interests of various departments.

                The other members of the organization who belong to the other departments should be sensitized over the significance and the roles of the security department. This will eliminate the attitude of the other departments of perceiving the security department as a bother.

    The other departments’ activities which are likely affect the security departments like in the case for the human resources and procurement departments, are supposed to be consulting the CSO before carrying out their activities which are likely to affect the security department. Alternatively, the segments of these departments should be split according to each department, that is, the security department should have its own independent human resources and procurement sub-departments which should be responsible on staff matters and procurement issues at the department level. This will enable the CSO to design the strategies more effectively as the department is autonomous from other departments.

    Remedies to enable effective security department operations

                On an attempt of attaining solutions to the challenges that are faced by the CSO, there should be some measures that ought to be put in place on ensuring that the solutions are effective on addressing the challenges adequately. Some of the measures that ought to be put in place include the following; the organization should ensure that the occupant of the CSO office is qualified and reliable on addressing the security issues of the organization. The organization’s top management should not be very rigid as pertains to their plans and they should encourage an interactive decision making. Interactive decision making will provide the CSO with an opportunity of airing his or her views, which will be factored on making the integral planning of the organization’s operations.


    August,T., Collette, R. and Gentile, M. (2005). The Chief Security Officer a Guide to Protecting People Facilitity. New York:Taylor & Francis Group.

    Fischer,R.,Halibozek,E. and Green, G. (2008). Introduction to Security. New York: Butterworth-Heinemann.

    Rudman,J. (1994). Chief Security Officer. U.S: National Learning Corporation.

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    CSOs are typically responsible for online safety protocols, risk management, and responding to security incidents.
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    Excellent knowledge of state and federal information security laws. Proven proficiency in developing physical and digital security protocols and procedures. Solid communication and interpersonal skills. Exceptional managerial skills and the ability to lead a team.

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