To talk of project management skills and how applicable they are to Cyber security, we must first admit that the job of a CISO and every security-team member of an organization, which is ensuring that businesses and organizations objectives are executed securely is a PROJECT. In a project, every member of the organization need to be committed for the overall success of the organization.How can project management help the CISO and his team excel in the execution of the PROJECT? How can it add value to the cyber security approach?
What has Organizations being doing?
Most organization will have finished building their solutions, design databases, commission assets and deploy critical servers all in the name of meeting users functionalities requirement before they will start considering the security protection that will cover them.This process can introduce more vulnerabilities to the systems, increase cost or make the projects fail (by losing many of its functionalities just for security to fit in).To make things work at time, it is as good as starting all over from the beginning after skipping the crucial stages where the security consideration would have come in.
What is the Relationship Between Cyber security and Project Management?
Before we go into developing our project management skills that will help us in our cyber security career. We must first understand the important of project management in cyber security. For cyber security projects to be effective, IT and security professionals need to implement a solid project management plan.Working with a team including an experienced project manager can help ensure that projects are executed smoothly, stay on budget, completed within time frame and that nothing falls through the cracks in the course of implementation which can make such solution to be vulnerable in the future.
These are all matters that will greatly impact the overall security outcomes for any new product or infrastructure being created. Attempts to retrofit security considerations after the project has already commenced is likely to be expensive, time consuming or cause for revision of scope, but a project that is successful in managing time/scope/cost but produces an inadequately secured solution will still likely be viewed as a failed project.
Advantages of Leveraging Project Management in Cyber Security Projects
Streamlined Project Execution
A project management practice can help your cyber security project to be on budget and on schedule. It will also enforce that your project has clearly defined deliverable that it is executed with the agreed-upon results in mind.It also ensures that related findings, changes and important steps are communicated to all relevant stakeholders in a timely manner.
Optimized Resources Allocation
A cyber security project that put project management into consideration will be able to optimize resource allocation, make sure that critical resources are working on critical projects, and make sure to assign projects to the right resources.
By optimizing resources, IT and security professionals can ensure that cyber security projects are executed with optimal performance in mind and that resource capacities are respected. Lastly, your executive team will be pleased to know that you’re managing your cyber security project in an efficient manner that won’t waste resources.
The success of every cyber security projects is in it’s alignment to the overall business strategy and goals. If you don’t have a solid business reason for why your organization should implement this project, chances are you won’t be able to prove its effectiveness and importance down the road.
The project should be aligned with the volume and relevance of data your organization process, the level of threat exposure of the organization, the risk level the organization can work with and the applicability of regulatory requirements.
Room for Future Improvement
A good project management practices for your cyber security projects can help your organization learn from mistakes, avoid similar mistakes in the future and thereby facilitate the continuous improvement of processes, procedures and projects.
Working with lesson learned and proper documentation about a project will not only serve as business intelligence, but also save time and resources for similar projects in the future.
Risk Management and Problem Fixes
Finally, project management is important because it ensures that your cyber security project risks are properly managed, mitigated and communicated. Having an objective instance involved in your cyber security project will ensure that potential problems (e.g. delays, confusion about deliverable and budget deviations) are uncovered, addressed and resolved in a professional and timely manner.
How to Develop and Improve Your Project Management Skills
In most instances, the best way to improve your project management skills is to dive into a project and experience successes and fails first-hand. You are responsible for your project management skills. Not your manager. Not your company. It’s all on you to build skills or lose them.
There are a few ways in which you can give your project management skills a bit of a boost. You will need to invest energy and time to get result. I can show you the way but you have to put on your own shoes.
Take a course from a Professional Organization
The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers a large library of educational resources. And they have many accredited training centers across the country. It will be good to take a course from them to learn various methodologies and frameworks that has play a big part in modern project management techniques which will help you hone your skills and develop your own strategies. They teach you how to plan, how to coordinate, how to communicate and how to generally manage a team and project using certain techniques and programs.
Engage the Team Frequently
With only half of the information available, you can only do half a job. In order to more effectively manage a project and a team, you should engage with them regularly through meetings and stand-ups. In these meetings, you review the progress of the project – what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done and address any questions or issues that you or the team may have about the project.
With regular insight, you can plan more effectively and check the project as it develops rather than coming back and amending errors once it has been completed.
Review Past Projects
Once you complete a few projects, you have a rich resource to strengthen you project management skills. At the end of the project, take the time to look over it and the relevant documents and consider what you might have done differently if you had a second chance and what decisions you would still stand by today.
By doing this, you can start to figure out better ways of handling situations and stop yourself from repeating similar mistakes in your future projects.
Utilize Project Management Software
Leveraging on technology can be an added advantage if you know how to make the most of it. With effective project management software at your disposal, you can more efficiently monitor and control the tasks within your project as well as collaborate with your team and check on progress. I have used software like Jira, Confluence and Process Street to build workflow, collaborate between project teams and other stakeholders involve in a project. You can try others out too, because there are a lot of them.
Teach others Project Management Skills and How to Apply them.
Teaching is one of the best ways to clarify your skills. If you are unsure where to start, look around your department for new enthusiast hungry for growth. In many cases, ambitious professionals will happily take on the opportunity to grow.
Come with a short list of project management skills you can teach (e.g. stakeholder management, project planning, and risk management) and ask your new student what they want to learn. In the process, you are refreshing your communication skill as well because you are now teaching either by speaking or writing.
In recent times, managing a cyber security strategy has become like managing a project – there are strategies to implement, budgets to adhere to, schedules to follow and processes to put in place.
With project management skills in place, stakeholders (executives, security team, and operational team) will come to appreciate that their cyber security projects (and related expenses) are aligned with the overall business strategy, optimize their resources and facilitate the continuous improvement of the company as a whole.