Governing Body Spotlight

Co-Chair of the UK & Ireland CISO Community

Benedict Olaoya



Benedict Olaoya is an accomplished cybersecurity professional with over two decades of experience in the field. His journey began as a Citrix engineer working on Winframe and gradually transitioning into various security roles, including network security, GRC and security architecture. He had the privilege of working and leading teams in diverse organisations from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries, before assuming the current role of CISO at SGN.

Learn more about the UK & Ireland CISO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

My career path has been marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge and started with a deep fascination for technology. I started with buying computer hardware, coupling them together for friends and family and that led me to pursue a degree in computer science and engineering.

I took on entry-level IT positions where I gained hands-on experience and technical proficiency in multiple domains. A key turnaround point for me was when I worked for a car manufacturing company following a merger and acquisition where I gathered relevant business experience. I took on a program lead role where we had to establish secure third-party connections from newly acquired companies. This provided an easy transition into cybersecurity focused roles in Manufacturing, Finance, Telecoms, IT Service Providers and Public Sector. 

I have continually expanded my knowledge and expertise through playing key roles in transformation programmes, providing consultancy services and taken interim CISO and lead roles before assuming my current role.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

One of my guiding leadership principles is "Empowerment through Education." I firmly believe that a well-informed team is the foundation of a robust cybersecurity posture. I strive to foster an environment where every team member has access to the training, development and resources they need to excel in their roles and contribute to a broader security mission.

With disruption being a key theme of recent years, where do you see the CISO role going in the next 1-2 years?

In the next 1-2 years, I see the CISO role evolving to become even more integral to business strategy. Cybersecurity will no longer be viewed as a separate function but as an intrinsic part of every decision and project. Additionally, the CISO will increasingly focus on harnessing emerging technologies like AI and automation to enhance threat detection and response capabilities. Regulations will continue to drive organisational changes where there is a lot more awareness of cyber on the board and will pave a path for more CISOs taking on Board roles.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a CISO?

For those just starting in a CISO role, I would offer three pieces of advice:

  1. Stay Informed: The threat landscape is dynamic; continuous learning is essential, and you are only as good as what you know.
  2. Build Relationships: Forge strong connections with peers, colleagues, and executives to create a culture of security awareness.
  3. Be Resilient: Cybersecurity can be challenging; develop the ability to adapt and learn from setbacks. Those will be key to your success story in the future. Fail, but fail forward.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

  1. I have always wanted to play the Saxophone. Still on target before 50.
  2. I'm passionate about property development. I think I have caught the bug since carrying out a project during Covid. So, I spend time watching Building the Dream, Grand Design, etc.
  3. I have been described in the past as great company with a good sense of humour. I believe that is still the case.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community? 

Joining the Evanta community offers unparalleled networking opportunities with fellow C-level executives across industries. It provides a platform for sharing insights, best practices, and innovative solutions to common challenges. Being part of this community fosters collaboration, leadership growth, and access to valuable resources that contribute to more informed decision-making in today's fast-paced business landscape.

Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.

by CISOs, for CISOs

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