A Roadmap to Become a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) ?


CISO Roles and Responsibilities

Among the most prestigious and well-paying positions in IT security are Chief Security Officer (CSO), Information Security Officer (ISO) and Global Head of Information Security. But the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is the most popular and well-paid among security professionals worldwide.

The CISO is the top cybersecurity professional in a given organization, accountable to build and maintain strategies and programs to ensure adequate security and protection of information assets and technologies across an organization’s departments. The CISO oversees and guides the IT security workforce to identify, develop, implement and maintain foolproof processes to minimize information security risks. The CISO advises the overall information security in the organization by responding to incidents, setting up the best fitting controls and standards, devising and implementing appropriate policies and procedures and ensuring information-related compliance, among other crucial functions.

The CISO reports to the organizations’ CIO or the CEO and executes the various responsibilities that include:

• Establishing and directing a team of IT security professionals, with each member possessing the exquisite technical know-how

• Developing strategic plans to deploy effective information security processes, policies, and standards that adhere to compliance

• Integrating the development of the entire system to the information security policies and strategies to protect organizational systems

• Advising an impactful risk management program by collaborating with primary stakeholders to ensure maximum IT security

• Conducting extensive risk assessments and auditing existing organizational IT security systems

• Identifying potential security threats and staying updated with progressing security infrastructures

• Observing network and system security threats, vulnerabilities, and events

• Devising and implementing strategic plans to respond to security incidents

• Supporting investigative activities and directing investigations holistically with recommended action plans

• Preparing security operations and maintenance budgets for security assets

• Extending guidance and training opportunities to security personnel

• Working closely with senior management to ensure the effective implementation, review, maintenance, and governance of IT security protection policies

• Spreading awareness about security compliance at the enterprise level

The Career Path and Remuneration

To take the lead in information security, aspiring CISOs must acquire a sound information security experience. The roadmap to this promising career can be portrayed as:

¤ Start your career as:

♦ Security Administrator
♦ Network Administrator
♦ System Administrator

¤ Get competent with technical and interpersonal expertise as:

♦ Security Specialist
♦ Security Analyst
♦ Security Engineer
♦ Security Consultant
♦ Security Auditor

¤ Get acquainted with leadership skills, project management capabilities and organizational politics understanding as a senior security professional:

♦ Security Manager
♦ IT Project Manager
♦ Security Architect
♦ Security Director

¤ Attain the highest security position in the organization

♦ Chief Security Officer (CISO)
♦ Information Security Officer (ISO)
♦ Global Head - Information Security

CISO is the most influential role in the IT security domain. A CISO corners an average salary of $119,308 per year. According to research from PayScale, CIOs with leadership competencies earn an average salary of $162,188 per year, wherein the reported salary ranges from $99,160 to $307,785 annually.

How to Become a CISO?

With diversified and exhaustive responsibilities to execute, the CISO role involves a wide range of technical and interpersonal skills. Organizations strive to employ a workforce with high-end capabilities to address overall security concerns in the enterprises. Thus, CISOs must have:

• A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Cyber Security or the equivalent

• Experience of 7-12 years working as an IT security professional (at least 5+ years of experience in security operations and team management)

• Effective communication skills, process-oriented thinking and strategic planning skills

• Ability to direct security teams, collaborate with top-level management and support various departments across the enterprise.

• Efficiency in dealing with legal and regulatory requirements, adhering to the financial constraints and adopting cutting-edge technologies

As a prospective CISO, you need to earn top-ranked IT security certifications to become a leading IT Security Expert. The most-valued globally recognized certifications include:

• CISSPCertified Information Systems Security Professional

• CISMCertified Information Security Manager

• CISACertified Information Systems Auditor

• CCISOCertified Chief Information Security Officer

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