CEO.com compiled a list of the world’s ten most influential CEOs a couple of years ago, featuring high profile names like Apple’s Tim Cook, Virginia Rometty of IBM and Warren Buffett himself. Since then we can probably add quite a few more, including heads of potentially less established companies and younger CEOs who haven’t been around for as long, but who are equally influential and powerful. These could include Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Jack Dorsey of Square (and co-founder and co-creator of Twitter) and others. So is it influence that leads to power? Or is it power that leads to influence?
The influential leaders mentioned above all have one thing in common and that is a vision. And they are all trusted with the company keys to make it happen – that is power! But those keys need protecting. As the leader of a company, the CEO has access to the most private, valuable information from corporate strategy and financial results to sensitive employee data. Few will argue with the fact that the CEO is someone who needs advanced security.
If knowledge is power, then protecting that knowledge is also power. Just as CEOs are proud of their company’s achievements, employees, customers and offices, we also want them to be proud of their sophisticated security. We aren’t saying that CEOs shouldn’t brag about their successes, but instead of comparing yacht size or golf club membership, we believe that having the most sophisticated security measures should also be considered a sign of their influence and power. And it certainly works the other way as well. While past breaches were passed off as IT’s fault, the blame is now falling to the CEO. Target’s 35-year veteran and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, was not spared after the company’s massive breach.
It’s important to note, however, that sophistication does not necessarily mean complexity. Indeed complexity is the worst possible enemy of security. Given how powerful these CEOs are, just consider how busy they are – the last thing they need is a complex security procedure standing in the way of opening an encrypted email or quickly signing a document digitally. Instead, security should be convenient, allowing them to take advantage of the benefits of a digital lifestyle – and the opportunities it creates, spawning new industries, companies and CEOs.
So, let’s see if we can make security part of the daily CEO vocabulary – help them adopt a more security-focused mindset and shape a more powerful yet secure C-Suite globally.