Cyber security

What are Roles and Responsibilities of Chief Information Security Officer(CISO)?


An organization’s chief information security officer (CISO) is responsible for securing its information and data. Previously, when the role was narrowly-defined in these terms, today the title is often interchangeable with CSO and VP of security, indicating a more expansive role within an organization.

In IDG’s 2020 Security Priorities Study, 61% of surveyed companies have a senior security executive, though this number jumps to 80% for large enterprises. However, such executives play an important role in the security strategy and employee training of companies that possess such an executive: according to the same study, companies that don’t have CISOs or CSOs are less likely to say that their security strategy is proactive enough.

The CISO position may be on the radar for ambitious security professionals looking to climb the corporate ladder. Check out what you can do to increase your chances of landing that job, and what your duties will be if you land this position. Furthermore, if your organization is considering adding a CISO to its ranks, perhaps for the first time, you should read on.

What is a chief information security officer?

A chief information security officer (CISO) helps companies and governments protect their technology and information from hacking, fraud, and theft. CISOs report to CEOs, work closely with CIOs and manage a team of information technology and security specialists. A chief information security officer may also be known as a chief security architect, an information security manager, or a security manager.

CISO responsibilities

How does a CISO work? Learning about the day-to-day responsibilities of CISOs might be the most effective way to grasp the position. In an interview with MSNBC, Stephen Katz, the pioneer of the CISO role at Citigroup in the ’90s, described the responsibilities of CISOs. Katz described these as follows:

  • Security operations: Analyzing threats in real-time, and intervening when something goes wrong
  • Cyber risk and cyber intelligence: Monitoring new security threats and assisting the board in understanding potential security risks that can arise from acquisitions or other large business moves.
  • Data loss and fraud prevention: Ensure internal staff does not misuse or steal data
  • Security architecture: Plan and purchase security hardware and software, and design IT and network infrastructure to meet best security practices
  • Identity and access management: Ensuring only authorized people can access information and systems
  • Program management: Implementing security measures that mitigate risks, such as regular system patches
  • Investigations and forensics: Determining the cause of a breach, dealing with internal culpable parties, and planning to avoid a repeat of the incident
  • Governance: Ensure all of the above initiatives run smoothly and receive the funding they need and make sure corporate leadership understands the importance of each of the initiatives

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Why does a company need a CISO?

CISOs are essential in every organization due to the threat of cyber-attacks and the rapid evolution of cyber-threats. Almost every company, regardless of its industry, handles sensitive data and is at risk of data leaks and cyber-attacks. Ultimately, every organization needs a professional who has security as the top priority. In case of a data breach, the security person must supervise the incident response plan. He must be able to talk with law enforcement and fix the system.

CISO’s play a vital role in business initiatives. They can handle sensitive data, manage cyber threats and minimize data leaks that can be costly both financially and reputationally.

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Chief information security officers skills and experience

A candidate’s specific skill requirements will include:

  • Experience in business management and an understanding of information security risk management and cybersecurity technologies and strategy
  • Good knowledge of Linux, virtualization, and networking concepts.
  • Knowledge of industry standards such as NIST, ISO, SANS, COBIT, CERT, etc.
  • Strong understanding of current data privacy laws, including GDPR, and regional standards. 
  •  Demonstrated mastery of Secure SDLC, DevSecOps, and security automation.
  • Having an understanding of and ability to communicate the impact business and profit operations have on the organization

Certified CISOs are at the top of the infosec heap, so few certification programs are available to them. EC-Council offers the most highly sought-after program, called Certified CISO, or CCISO. 

Employers look for soft skills such as: 

Excellent interpersonal skills and written and oral communication abilities, ability to work under pressure, flexibility, strong leadership abilities, and extensive experience in strategic planning and execution.


The following are six possible career and education steps to becoming a CISO-

Steps for CISO

Chief Information Security Officer Salary

A report from PayScale found that CISOs in Chicago, Illinois, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Boston, Massachusetts, earned the highest salaries. The states with the highest employment rates for executives included California, Florida, and New York. Utah had the highest conviction rate.

PayScale reports that entry-level CISOs make more than $105,000 annually. Professionals with 1 to 4 years of experience earn over $120,000 annually, and CISOs with longer experience earn $247,000 annually. 

A CISO’s career options are varied, but he typically finds work in the high-paying financial and extraction industries. Also CSO Online reports that companies are hiring chief security officers to combat a growing threat.

Final thoughts

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What is required to be a CISO?

chief information security officers skills and experience requires a significant experience with business management and a working knowledge of information security risk management and cybersecurity technologies and strategy. Strong understanding of Linux, virtualization, and networking concepts

How hard is it to become a CISO?

Most chief information security officers have at least seven to 10 years of professional experience before becoming CISOs. after graduating from college, you might apply for an entry-level j

How many hours does a CISO work?

88% of CISOs are doing more than the average 40-hour work week, with 60% saying they rarely disconnect. 25% think the job has had an impact on their mental or physical health (or both), as well as their personal and family relationships.

Do companies need a CISO?

As we learned, a CISO is a must-have for almost any company irrespective of the nature of business and the size of your company. A CISO is a critical role in your company if you handle sensitive data or business-critical infrastructure. However, it may be unnecessary for some companies to retain a full-time CISO.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a CISO?

The chief information security officer's duties may include conducting employee security awareness training, developing secure business and communication practices, identifying security objectives and metrics, choosing and purchasing security products from vendors, ensuring that the company is in regulatory compliance

What are the 3 common types of CISO?

Today's CISO: The Three Personality Types - The Technical Information Security Officer (TISO) ... The Business Information Security Officer (BISO) ... The Strategic Information Security Officer (SISO)

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