Engaging Stakeholders in Security Strategy Development & Management

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Engaging stakeholders in security development is critical for a strategy's long-term success. In this lesson, you'll learn more about how to identify key stakeholders and the importance of engaging them.

Magnifying Stakeholders

Xerox works hard to incorporate all of its stakeholders, those with an interest in its business. A decade ago, they started a program known as the Sustainability Forum to educate consumers on why sustainability is important. They developed roundtable discussions for their employees to engage them more in their business. They even hosted meetings in cities like Boston, San Francisco, and Dallas to talk to interested investors.

Zeroing in on stakeholders encourages stronger engagement with company initiatives.
customers, shareholders, stakeholders, engagement

Why would a company like Xerox launch so many initiatives aimed at customers, employees, shareholders, and more? Because its leaders understand the importance stakeholder engagement has for its continued success.

Stakeholder engagement is also critical for developing and managing internal efforts, such as building an information security strategy, as well. Let's take a closer look.

Getting Stakeholders Engaged

If information security is important to your organization, shouldn't it be important to those involved with your organization? Imagine your IT department putting a focus on security initiatives, but employees are still participating in risky behaviors like downloading suspicious email attachments or visiting malicious websites? That would be counterproductive, right?

Getting stakeholders engaged in the process can help. How?

Stakeholders have the ability to help new security strategies take hold, grow and be successful in an organization. By getting early buy-in from stakeholders, excitement can build about important company measures, which can help strategies gain momentum from involved parties, resulting in greater long-term achievement.

Imagine getting department managers engaged early in helping reduce risky internet behaviors. You might do this by making training fun, helping them understand the risks and benefits in security issues and encouraging their feedback throughout the process. When these measures become important to key stakeholders, they can help influence and reinforce safe security behaviors among those they lead. Engaging stakeholders allows them to take ownership in security strategies, contributing to their development and fulfillment, and creating greater benefits organization-wide.

Identifying Stakeholders

So, how exactly do you go about determining who your stakeholders are? Identifying these stakeholders requires both an inward- and outward-facing examination of who is impacted by your security strategy and what their concerns are. The best way to achieve this is by doing internal and external scans of your company and the various relationships tied to it. Once you've identified your stakeholders, you can begin to involve them through feedback to shape strategy development.


First, you need to look internally. This can be a daunting task to ensure that everyone is accounted for. Approach it ''directionally,'' taking a north-south and east-west look at your organization.

For example, a north-south approach would include an assessment of everyone from frontline employees to those in leadership and management position. Who is at the ground level of your organization and who is at the top? Don't forget everyone in between!

An east-west approach to recognizing stakeholders means to look at the business from a horizontal viewpoint. What departments or business functions are tied into making your company run? This would include, but certainly wouldn't be limited to, human resources, marketing, sales, accounting and more.

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