As I continue to explain and expand Security 2.0 through coaching, consulting and training/speaking, I have been stressing the need for businesses to take a multi-disciplinary approach to the way we practice security. While this approach is central to who I am, I have also started spending more time studying other areas (design, drawing, photography, adult learning, psychology, etc.) in an effort to seek new ways to improve what we do.
I was truly delighted to read this posting from Jeff Cornwall, Director of the Belmont University Center for Entrepreneurship, discussing this very approach being applied in a way to break down the silos in corporate america. You can read the post here:

As I continue to practice Security 2.0 through our Effective Assurance offering, I have the opportunity to engage corporations in this very discussion. In short, the time has come to stop thinking about security as a silo – which is as important for those of us in security as it is for the business. If we desire to be more effective and truly make a difference, then the time has come for us to go beyond and study marketing, sales, design, and other means of effective communication.

I enjoyed this conversation just today – and those in my course (experience) shared a conversation about the need to be able to relate security to more people by (1) understanding your audience and (2) being able to relate to others, sometimes through the use of scenarios/stories. Both of these are worthy of more in-depth postings, and I will endeavor to do such in the coming weeks. For now, I’ll outline some brief thoughts
Understand Your Audience
Many of us in the technology industry get so comfortable with the technology that we sometimes forget that other people don’t share our passion or knowledge. If you want to help break down the silos, then we need to communicate more effectively by knowing our audience. Does your audience prefer facts, figures and statistics? Do they want background, or only the punchline? And are you answering their questions, or satisfying your own needs?

To be highly effective, it is important to understand how to present your message in a way that your audience will more readily receive it.
The Power of the Story
I am a believer in the power of the story – especially when it comes to explaining security. Stories allow us the opportunity to relate to others key concepts in a manner than can be readily understood. Try it today – if you have to explain a concept, explain it by telling a short story. I find it’s best to be honest and maybe even reveal something about yourself in the process, since we all have the “human experience” in common.

I’ll keep expanding on these concepts – but the key for today is to start applying some of these concepts. Look at what you are doing from a different perspective, think about how you present differently and start practicing the art of explaining what we do through stories.

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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