Delivering on a project is important in business, but more so than ever when it comes to cybersecurity projects. Project management allows information security (InfoSec) teams the ability to build a functional, security infrastructure while managing project resources, time and manpower to ensure that projects stay on track and within budget. By breaking down cybersecurity initiatives into more manageable initiatives with shorter life cycles, business and IT leaders can produce results with measured approaches, objectivity, and project oversight. Let’s review how project management can improve cybersecurity initiatives with a dedicated resource to help organizations utilize their workforce more efficiently and effectively.
Project Management’s Positive Effect on IT Projects
According to a project management survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co., organizational leaders at all levels have found that implementing project management strategies and methodologies allowed their teams to decrease IT project risks, cut costs and improve their success rates in the short and long term. This is accomplished through enforcement of clearly-defined deliverables that allow projects to stay on budget and on schedule. If stakeholders decide to change their approach, agile project management allows the team to adjust and continue without losing momentum or wasting valuable resources and investments.
Having a dedicated project manager for cybersecurity initiatives also allows leaders to position and initiate efforts to align with overall business goals and strategy, budgets, and priorities without stretching non-PMs to implement. Marrying up the right skills to manage a cyber security project remains a key challenge. According to the blog “Best Practices for a Cyber Security Project” written by Katharina Gerberding (Hitachi Systems Security Inc.), “A dedicated project manager is essential for making sure that your cybersecurity project is well executed, remains within budget and sticks to the agreed-upon schedule IT and security professionals are often too busy with their day-to-day responsibilities to dedicate enough time to managing their cybersecurity projects closely.” This approach allows organizations to keep their cybersecurity projects on track while simultaneously delivering measurable return on investments (ROI) to stakeholders.
Another key element of implementing project management to support your cybersecurity initiative, is that the business can address the growing cybersecurity skills shortage. One key benefit of project management is the ability to optimize key resources to ensure they are functioning properly on critical projects and that the right resources and teams are allocated with the correct projects. This further allows your cybersecurity initiative to operate efficiently, garnering maximum resource utilization, avoid staff misalignment with expectations, and creates a win-win for organizational leaders and cyber security experts.
Opportunities and Takeaways
While the cost of a successful cyber-attack can exceed $5 million ($301 per employee), it’s in the organizations best interest to design their IT infrastructure in a way that gives their company solid and sustainable end-to-end network security dexterity. With Cybersecurity Ventures predicting that global cybercrime damages estimated at $6 trillion annually by 2021, there are still tremendous risks to operating in the digital domain. How can you position your organization to become less prone to shouldering the force of these risks? By using project management best practices to shape and implement your cybersecurity strategy.
A solid project management approach for your cybersecurity initiatives can help your organization through focused oversight, efficient resource utilization, lessons learned reviews, and become the springboard for continuous process improvement. Properly documenting project details saves time and resources for future projects, and allows teams to collaborate with better speed and agility through familiarity. Having a dedicated project management resource ensures that the right people are working on the right things.
“If your organization is not good at project management, you’re putting too much at risk in terms of ultimately delivering on strategy.”
MARK A. LANGLEY, PMI President and CEO
“Pulse of the Profession: Success in Disruptive Times”