Let us go a few steps back, and travel from 20 years ago. Were visiting the graduating class of the anywhere university.

Let us ask every one of them… what he or she plans to be in 20 years.

What he or she plans to be in 20 years. How many answer that will be CISO (Chief Information Security Officer)?

Probably no one knows.

Yet in just 20 short years, in today’s changing business landscape of cyber crimes, attacks, information breaches, and more digitalized companies the role of the CISO has become a highly important part of the C-level executive team.
A solid information security management process is an essential component of running a business in the digital age—a time when the number of data breaches and security incidents is increasing exponentially. Without a security program, you leave the Company, customers, and data at risk.
That is why, CISOs lead the lead of preserving privacy and protecting the critical data an organization considers most valuable.
They maintain an exhaustive level of security throughout a company’s whole network. And they provide an enterprise-wide strategy to support the security infrastructure.
There must be no escape from needing a predictable information security environment in a more digitalized company acting in a cyber world.

So, What is a CISO? What makes a good one?

And how can you make sure that you or a new hire truly succeed in the position?

Although we tend to admire our Marvel heroes for the enemies they destroyed with their bare hands or the otherworldly attributes they display, a superhero doesn’t need supernatural powers to live up to the name.

Some superheroes are simply everyday people.

Such as your typical CISO, for example.

Some CISOs come out of school with IT backgrounds and spend a career in technology, but increasingly, the CISO’s resume includes leadership and business management acumen that provides enhanced value to an organization. Especially, soft skillsets.

A successful CISO bridges the communication gap between the IT department and the boardroom. He or she is a translator, a conduit of information. Quite often the CISO is also a diplomat—especially during delicate discussions of budget and return on investment. Do you know what does it mean? CISOs are not only responsible for security but they also manage budgets, business, communication, and more.

The key element is Communication — not just because information is critical, but because unless both parties speak the same language, neither will understand what the other is saying.

Security teams often speak “technology,” while their peers at the executive table speak “business (just business 🙂 )” This disconnect requires the CISO to be a translator—to take technical data and convert it to strategic business language that execs can understand.

No matter the size of an organization, data flow and information management are critical to a company’s success. Sensitive data needs to be protected to ensure a business preserves its reputation and worth. A CISO has a bird’s eye view of confidentiality, integrity, availability, permissions, and user behaviors throughout an organization. He or she monitors critical systems and keeps tabs on activities or anomalies that might signify a breach.

Gaining a degree in engineering science, and collecting certifications in CISSP, CISM, or C|CISO gives a future CISO a solid foundation of IT expertise. After all, an understanding of security technology – from firewalls to IPS/IDS – forms a critical piece of a CISO’s perspective on strategy and policy. But as the CISO role has evolved to focus more and more on business requirements, CISOs have also come to need a strong understanding of corporate structure and communications. 

That means CISOs wear multiple hats, including those of “relationship-builder” and “organizational leader.” A good CISO bridges the gap between technology and business and needs a resume to support strength in both.

Additionally, CISOs must maintain comprehensive risk management practices. They report on potential threats and propose policies to reduce the overall risk levels within the company. That requires regular presentations on security strategies that assure the executive board that everything is under control. 

As a result, Security starts at the beginning of everything we do. It is not just an IT task and needs to be designed and executed End 2 End.

Critical Success Factors to execute the CISO roadmap plan;

  • The execution of the Information Security Plan and the best practice-based policies and standards is part of the Control Framework and Governance model.
  • Information Security is executed as a first-line responsibility and activity.
  • Make the security plan progress part of the periodic Management Board Reporting.

Also, The CISO focuses on using business drivers to guide information security activities and consider security processes as part of the organization’s security management processes. The overall objective of this responsibility is to;

  • Establish direction toward the Company’s information security in line with the business and applicable regulatory requirements.
  • Elevate the information security maturity across the company.
  • Ensure an effective information security management framework within the company with clear roles and responsibilities and formalize information security governance.
  • Prescribe mandatory controls to enforce information security management to protect and maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of assets.
    Provide a framework for technology-related security standards and their associated policies.
  • Enable and sustain a secure ecosystem for the business units, customers, and partners to operate and grow.
  • Ensure that information stored and processed on the Company’s behalf by a Third Party is appropriately protected.
  • Ensure that the security objectives and business objectives of the Company are achieved through efficient management of information security Management in the Company.

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