I am often struck by surveys — some of them vendor-funded — that purport to show that C-level executives, including CISOs, don’t have faith their enterprise can have any effect on cyber threats.

For example, earlier this year in a global survey of security pros three-quarters of respondents said they believe their organization has a significant cyber risk exposure. Almost two thirds of respondents rated their enterprise as inadequate in ability to identify,
detect, respond, and recover from threats.

Are these real fears or worries exacerbated by the daily reports of breaches around the world? Probably both. But in a blog Alan Cohen, chief commercial officer for security vendor Illumino warns that fear can lead to a sense of insecurity which can lead to paralysis in infosec leaders — which could trickle down to the rest of the IT staff.

He suggests taking four steps to restore business and IT confidence in security

1. Security teams need to involve and get the support of other IT functions;

2. Security has to be a catalyst, not an obstacle, to business units; 

3. Breaches must be found rapidly through actionable intelligence;

4. If you can’t prevent all beaches, at least contain them.

“The damage of a breach will be mitigated by the effectiveness of the containment system,” he argues. “The ability to contain a bad actor with a single click should be the goal.”

That’s quite a target. But unless CISOs set a goal like this they’ll probably not have the confidence they, their staff and other executives need to have in IT.