Security Forward Workshop - 25 March 2021 - Virtual Meeting

Thursday, 25 March 2021
By Peter Fraser-Hopewell CMG MBE

Thursday, 25 March 2021, saw Security Risk & Intelligence Forum host a virtual meeting chaired by co-programme chairman Peter Fraser-Hopewell CMG MBE.

Our guest speaker was Danielle Aloshen, the Global Head of Strategic Threat at HSBC. Danielle has had a number of leadership roles within HSBC with a particular emphasis on strategic decision making and response to cyber threats - an area in the security arena which is one of growing concern; particularly at board level. Danielle looked at issues associated with engaging senior executives and getting the security voice heard - perhaps listened to during the pandemic but how do you ensure security remains on the top tables' agenda? Danielle’s talk was illuminating and thought provoking drawing on her real like experiences in the corporate world. Some of the key points Danielle made were:

  • You need to understand the Actors, good ones and bad, when making assessments.
  • Critical was why an issue (threat) was something that matters for the board. They may not realise it but the ability to identify the threat, what it means to the strategic business direction and what its implication could be, are vital when briefing board members. These are intelligent business people, able to grasp issues quickly, but your time will be limited.
  • Corporates, or the majority, are not Cyber Security Companies - HSBC is a Bank. Their interest is what can, or could, impact on the ability to do business - satisfying key stakeholders.
  • The job is not to scare the board but to enable them to make decisions - and it will probably require compromise. The best security solution, in a pure sense, is usually not viable from a board perspective - be pragmatic.
  • You have to articulate the problem well. It’s your job to explain the issue (threat) and solution (or solutions) in a clear language that the board can understand. It is not their job to understand Cyber language.
  • Composure of your team is important something to spend time on. With complex issues and threats, current and emerging, to deal with get the right team. that is not necessarily a team in your own image but one that be effective.
  • Having got the foot in the door during the covid-19 crisis you cannot rest on your laurels. You have to articulate why, in the normal business environment, security can continue to enable strategic decision making and support business objectives - the value added.

The usual spritely discussion followed Danielle’s talk with members grateful of the opportunity to take advantage of her experience and expertise in the Corporate world.

Whilst we remain in lockdown and the “virtual” world with future meetings in May (share your in-tray) and Andrew Donaldson as a speaker in June. We are currently planning on a face to face meeting at the Old Bailey in July, government guidelines permitting. This would be the first where members actually meet since February 2020; something to look forward to.