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Defense in Depth

Mar 19, 2020

All links and images for this episode can be found on CISO Series (

Who should the CISO report to? What factors determine that decision? And why is that single decision so critical to a company's overall security?

Check out this post for the basis for our conversation on this week’s episode which features me, special guest co-host Yaron Levi (@0xL3v1) CISO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City. Our guest is Gary Harbison, vp, global CISO, Bayer.

Thanks to this week's podcast sponsor, IBM Security.

IBM Security

IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM X-Force research, provides security solutions to help organizations stop threats, prove compliance, and grow securely. IBM operates one of the broadest and deepest security research, development and delivery organizations. It monitors more than two trillion events per month in more than 130 countries and holds more than 3,000 security patents.

On this episode of Defense in Depth, you’ll learn:

  • We're having this discussion because as Allison Berey, M:CALIBRATE explained, "Wrong reporting lines can mean poor decision-making."
  • There is no definitive answers as to what the reporting line should be. The final answer on this this discussion was "it depends."
  • A CISO's placement within an organization should depend on where a company derives its value.
  • All companies say security is important. How they place the CISO within the reporting structure and the influence they have on the organization is very telling as to whether the company truly does value security.
  • There was a lot of concern reporting to other C-level executives that are not the CEO as the CISO's concerns could play second fiddle to a CFO, CIO, or CRO's primary desires.
  • Many felt the most desirable reporting line was CISO-to-CEO.
  • But, assuming every department is dealing with some sort of business risk, don't they all have the right to report to the CISO? Where do you draw the line?