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6 Steps To Resolving Information Security Conflict

Sometimes the simplest solutions to information security problems evade us because we can never have twenty twenty vision on all out stakeholders perspectives and views. This ever more of an issue with large, multi jurisdictional, multi regulation, multi cultural and multi displined organisations.

A few common-sense practices can reduce the conflicts between teams who all have a shared organisational mission but different perspectives.

Here are six steps to resolving information security conflict …

Clarify what the disagreement is about – Clarifying involves getting to the root of the conflict. The goal of this step is to get both sides to agree the facts on what the disagreement is about. To do this, you need to agree what requirements are not being met on both sides and ensure mutual understanding. During the process, obtain as much information as possible and base everything on fact – sometimes emotional reactive objections are raised with the best intentions (the issue of organisation policy on employee monitoring is always a good example) but without a fair grasp of the facts.

Establish common goals - In this step of the process, both sides agree on the desired outcome of the conflict. When people know that they’re working towards the same goal, then they’re more apt to participate truthfully to make sure that they reach that end goal together. Both parties want the best for the organisation and are trying to do the right thing from there perspective, never lose sight of that.

Discuss ways to meet the common goals - This involves listening, communicating, and brainstorming together. Continue with both sides working together to discuss ways that they can meet the goals they agreed on. Keep going until all the options are exhausted.

Determine the barriers to the common goals - The two sides acknowledge what has brought them into the conflict and talk about what problems may prevent a resolution. Understanding the possible problems that may be encountered along the way lets you proactively find solutions and have plans in place to handle challenges. Define what can and cannot be changed about the situation.

Agree on the best way to resolve the conflict - Both parties need to come to a conclusion on the best way forward. Start by identifying solutions that both sides can be comfortable with. Agree the responsibility each party has in maintaining the solution. It’s also important to use this opportunity to get to the root cause to ensure this conflict will not come up again in the future.

Acknowledge the agreed upon solution and determine the responsibilities each party has in the resolution - Both sides need to own their responsibility in the resolution of the conflict and express ideally aloud what they have agreed to.

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