5 secrets to building a great security team

Here are five teambuilding lessons from Caterpillar's security organization.

By Lauren Gibbons Paul, CSO |  IT Management

Many, like Graham Giblin, now regional security director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, had lived in the areas they cover. For a company that had had a "Peoria first" mentality, this was a big departure. "Our internal focus transitioned to a global focus," Giblin says.

Williams wrote a three-year operating plan detailing the revamped group's strategic vision and alignment with corporate objectives, roles and responsibilities. Williams' work at P&G gave him a deep and abiding love of precise process management, which served him well as he restructured the team.

"If you don't have your processes clearly defined in a well-written strategy or operating plan, you could end up chasing what other groups believe your priorities are, versus those issues that actually pose the greatest risk or threat to the enterprise," Williams says. "We articulated our plan to other staff groups, business leaders, and our executive management and the board, obtained agreement, and then set out to urgently execute the plan."

Not everyone made the transition. "Many of our colleagues wanted us to return back to what we did before--the global role was not one they were prepared for or found interest in," says Williams. There were also those who could not perform as the bar was raised. In all, the security function shed more than half its original group. Happily, many found other roles within the company.

Moving so quickly and making major reductions caught the culture a bit by surprise. To ease the transition, Williams enlisted the aid of a few human resources specialists and an internal communicator (who is discussed in Step 4) to help people understand what was happening and why.

2. Formalize underserved functions. Soon after he arrived, Williams put in place global crisis management processes and personnel as part of his effort to re-engineer enterprise security. These processes were to be overseen by the newly minted regional security directors.

Todd Wagner was working in computer forensics for Caterpillar when he was recruited to crisis management. "We didn't have a formal group at that time," he says. "We now handle any crises that may impact Caterpillar--everything from natural disasters to terrorism to major disruptions in our supply chains." Wagner brought experience as a shift commander for the FBI's Terrorism Command Center to his new role as crisis coordinator for Caterpillar.

The crisis management team had to mobilize to support local staff in Japan during the March earthquake and tsunami. Caterpillar immediately dispatched a crisis manager to the area. "Our first priority was to make sure our people are safe," says Wagner. Caterpillar has 5,000-odd employees at three Japanese facilities, the closest of which is a little over 100 miles from the site of the disaster, outside the evacuation zone.


Originally published on CSO |  Click here to read the original story.
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