SANS offers a course, MGT 514, IT Security Strategic Planning, Policy and Leadership, that is radically different than their other courses. From the web page:
As security professionals we have seen the landscape change. Cybersecurity is now more vital and relevant to the growth of your organization than ever before. As a result, information security teams have more visibility, more budget, and more opportunity. However, with this increased responsibility comes more scrutiny.
This course teaches security professionals how to navigate this new world of security by developing strategic plans, creating effective information security policy, and developing management and leadership skills.
To cut to the chase, the course teaches what security leaders and managers need to know to go beyond technical skills to build, grow, lead their teams and programs. I had a chance to interview Frank Kim, the SANS CISO, author and primary instructor of the course.
Frank, Can you give us some more details on what’s covered from your perspective?
The course covers three things:
1) Creating strategic plans that resonate with other business leaders. This requires an understanding the business in addition to the threat landscape, developing a meaningful roadmap, and building support for your program.
2) Security policy which is one of the best tools that security leaders have in driving change in an organization.
3) Leadership competencies you use to lead, motivate, and inspire your teams. It’s not enough to have a great strategic plan. You have to drive engagement and transformation throughout the organization.
The leadership section, can you elaborate a bit on that? What is your favorite part of the class?
The last day of the class is what we call our “Strategic Planning Workshop”. It’s a “hands-on” section where students break into teams and analyze case studies from leading universities like Harvard. By being thrown into real-world scenarios students get to see how the different tools and techniques discussed throughout the class can be applied to the situation at hand. Situations that they will likely encounter when they go back to the office.
The great thing about authoring a leadership class is that you have an opportunity to research and reflect on the things you want to apply to your own life and career. Which part of MGT 514 is the most valuable to you personally?
As a leader I find all the sections to be useful. From a personal perspective however the section on leadership competencies is especially valuable because those lessons can be applied to family and other personal relationships. There a saying that it may be common sense but it’s not always common practice. Even seasoned professionals oftentimes need a reminder.