We need to add real value to our company, showing that a properly run security and privacy group can reduce costs, increase customer and user satisfaction and drive revenue. We need to take some courses in finance and learn about CapEx and derivatives. We should live with the following six financial terms stapled to our foreheads (or at least on our screen savers): Bottom Line, Gross Margin, Fixed versus Variable Costs, Equity versus Debt, Leverage, and Capital Expenditures.
Once you understand the priorities of the CEO and CFO, you can prioritize security budgets. Now you have the advantage, because you understand both the security implications and the financial implications. If your security initiative breaks the bank, or makes people want to drive (to a competitor) rather than fly with you, you have failed.
Keep things in perspective; keep your eye on the ball. You can become the most important member of your firm’s executive management team if you can achieve this.