2024: you better take it personally!

Dimitri van Zantvliet

1 January 2024

Dear fellow CISOs,

Welcome to 2024, a year where the cyber landscape isn’t just evolving; it’s demanding a revolution in how we think and act. The message for you is unequivocal: it’s time to take it personally.

This year, you’re not just a guardian of systems or infrastructure; you’re a custodian of ethics and integrity. The role of a CISO transcends beyond safeguarding IT/IoT and OT; it’s about safeguarding values. You’re now at a crossroads where compliance isn’t just about following rules but challenging them when they conflict with ethical principles.

You must be prepared to say: “You have decided not to mitigate these risks, so I need to inform senior management about the organization’s exposure now,” or even: “No, I respectfully refuse to comply with this marching order because it is no longer ethically defensible. We will adjust our course, or you will need to find someone else.” This bold stance isn’t insubordination; it’s a demonstration of the integrity and grit that should drive every CISO from 2024 on and further.

Accountability is at its zenith. Every breach, every lapse, doesn’t just question your technical skills but also your moral compass. You are under intense scrutiny, not just for your actions but for your choices. Stand tall, even if you feel you’re standing alone. Know that the CISO community stands by you and you’re no longer isolated. Being a CISO is no longer about being silenced three layers deep under a CIO. It’s about being the voice of reason, the harbinger of change. From this year on, let your leadership be defined not just by how you protect but by how you refuse to compromise on what’s right.

2024 is your year to be more than a silent sentinel. It’s your year to be a vocal, visionary leader who dares to say no when it matters the most.

Let this be the year you not only took it personally but made it ethical.


Dimitri van Zantvliet
Chair, Dutch CISO Platform