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Industry Wired Cover Story 2019

Cyber security is rapidly becoming an ever-higher business priority to safeguard enterprises against potential attacks that threaten a business or its assets. Modern-day technologies are more susceptible to security breaches and hacking attempts, making it essential to mitigate security threats by utilizing effective preventive measures to validate the security and quality of an organization’s cyber security programs.

With the increase in complexity of cyberattacks, an end to end security program is of paramount importance for any enterprise. Specialized Security Services, Inc. (S3) offers a comprehensive approach to predict, prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats.

Specialized Security Services, Inc. (S3) develops and maintains custom-tailored cyber security programs, so organizations can elevate security to where it belongs—top of mind and top down. S3 is a women-owned, global cyber security firm with headquarters in both the United States and Europe.  For over two decades, the company’s expert team has successfully assisted organizations with the implementation and oversight of their information security, privacy and regulatory compliance programs.

Specialized Security Services bridges the gap between enterprises’ business goals, cyber security needs and compliance requirements to become the trusted and valued security partner for life.

S3 Security CEO, Mitchelle Schanbaum, on the cover of Industry Wired magazine.

Ultimately, security is not simply a CIO, CSO, or IT Department issue. Breaches, leaked documents and Cyber Security attacks impact stock prices, brand image and competitive edge.


Mitchelle serves as Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Specialized Security Services, which she co-founded with her husband, Scott in 1999.

Since then, Mitchelle and her dedicated team have successfully assisted organizations with the implementation and oversight of their cyber security, information security, privacy and regulatory compliance programs. Through her strong communications within all levels of organizations, she fosters an environment that creates strong business relationships in which Specialized Security Services is often recognized as a “Security Partner”.

She and her team provide trusted advice and project management in all areas of cyber security, information security and compliance such as PCI, NIST, GDPR and HITRUST. Mitchelle knows where she wants to go, and how to share her vision to inspire others. She can visualize where the cyber security landscape is evolving and can see the big picture.


The greatest skill Mitchelle has learned over the years is to recognize an individual’s skills and integrate them into the company as an asset, rather than molding people to fit in a predetermined role. “Our goal is to create a high-performance, high-trust culture that is open, honest and committed to excellence. This conscious effort to empower our people to be the best version of themselves creates a diverse team where individual strengths are appreciated and utilized. We put the right people in the right roles where they can leverage their strengths and still have room to grow.  As a result, S3 is able to promote from within our company, which enables our associates multiple career paths and creates loyalty among our brand,” she said.


As organizations are moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, S3 is assisting its clients in understanding their risk and mitigating the security concerns that are still apparent in this type of outsourcing. According to Mitchelle, “Cloud Technology does not mitigate the security risk of applications, API’s, unauthorized access or human error. As such, more compliance regulations are coming specific to Cloud Technology and S3 is assisting clients with these needs.”Meeting Challenges Head-On Mitchelle believes the cyber security industry is constantly expanding and changing. S3 is known for bridging the gap between clients’ business goals, cyber security needs and compliance requirements to become a trusted and valued security partner for life. During the recent growth of the company, the challenges Mitchelle had to overcome centered around delegating and restructuring internally, while maintaining S3’s ongoing mission of customer excellence.

Mitchelle quickly realized that she needed to expand her Executive Management Team with individuals that shared her vision, optimism and innovation. “Once I found the right leaders, we invested time and resources to develop our technical, communication and management skills to empower them to direct their individual teams. As a result, our confidence and execution of the S3 business plan has been successful. We make leadership development a priority, recognizing that leadership must be strong throughout the entire organization, not just at the top,” she added.


Speaking on vital attributes for innovative leaders, Mitchelle asserts, “It is essential to have effective, strong and concise communication skills to be a successful leader. However, it is not always about what the leader themselves possesses, but also the Executive Management Team they surround themselves with. Developing a team of collaborative, passionate and committed executives is a leader’s greatest asset. “Providing your Executive Management Team with education and professional development to encourage performative, transactional communication is a must to set the tone for the entire company.”


Mitchelle believes the must-have security implementation for every organization should be multi-factor authentication for all access. Phishing and other social engineering techniques continue to be the number one human error factor. Without multi-factor authentication, no amount of security tools will be able to overcome this security risk.

“Ultimately, security is not simply a CIO, CSO, or IT Department issue. Breaches, leaked documents and Cyber Security attacks impact stock prices, brand image and competitive edge. It is a responsibility that must be shared amongst all employees. Boards and Senior Leaders must work to close the gap between themselves and their cyber security team. Tight alignment is critical to building and executing a successful strategy, regardless of whether the data is in the cloud or a traditional environment.

CEOs, Board Members, and Senior Management must mitigate cyber security risks conjointly through proactive engagement. Cyber security must be elevated to where it belongs, top-of-mind and top-down.”


When asked for advice to budding leaders Mitchelle said  “A great leader is only as effective as the team they build. Develop a strong Executive Management team that shares your goals, passion and vision. Invest in their career development, management and communication skills so that you can create a united message for your entire staff.”