Chief security officers (CSOs) are adopting new risk management trends calling for a risk-based security approach.

Security managers are working with senior executives in all divisions across their organizations to move away from compliance-focused thinking toward a risk-based approach to information security, according to research from Wisegate, an IT-focused community.

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The shift requires senior management and C-level executives to think about risk strategically versus simply crossing off regulatory check boxes.

Report data came from Wisegate CSO peer discussions, where CSOs across industries confirmed the need to embrace the risk management role and offered a number of facts for senior IT security professionals who must now move beyond a compliance “check box” mentality and adopt the most strategic security practices.

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The study discusses how IT organizations can “up” their security game by doing a better job at measuring and using risk information to develop security practices.

“Leaders of forward-thinking organizations understand the need for more pervasive risk awareness – and are far more focused on enterprise-wide education, collaboration, and communications,” said Candy Alexander, CSO at Long Term Care Partners.” “The new breed of CSO is taking a systemic approach to security that goes way beyond compliance, and takes the whole risk posture into view.”

CSOs previously said they no longer focus solely on information security, but are also taking on risk management and privacy programs within their organizations. These leaders must increasingly act more strategically and to take a proactive role in identifying the risks the organization faces.

CSOs now must prioritize risks and identify which ones need immediate attention and which ones are acceptable as part of the cost of doing business.

“Risk tolerance is hard to define,” said Wisegate member Randall Gamby, Information Security Officer at the Medicaid Information Service Center of New York, “which is why it’s important the security team works alongside line of business partners to work through assessments and keep the conversation going on a regular basis. Definitions, thresholds, and tolerance levels eventually get clarified, and executive leadership will know when something carries too much risk.”

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