Do You Have What It Takes to Become a CISO?
Do you ever wonder how people working as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) view cybersecurity? What challenges do they face? What skills do they develop to overcome those challenges? In other words, if you want to be a CISO, then you need to ask yourself if you have what it takes to become a CISO. The answer is here.
Understanding the Role of a CISO
CISO stands as the senior-most position in the hierarchy of cybersecurity, but the role demands more than a deeper understanding of information security. It is an Executive C-suite level where the job role is focused on information security with a business perspective. It means that having an understanding of enterprise vision and business strategy and taking steps for the protection of information technology infrastructure is all a part of the job. CISO is a C-Suite Certification and is considered as the top most job-role in the cybersecurity hierarchy.
The primary responsibilities of a CISO include –
- Hiring and leading cybersecurity team of professionals.
- Recognizing the development of information security solutions.
- Creating strategic IT security plans in association with the executive team.
- Collaborating across multiple sections to maintain secure IT infrastructure.
- Following security incidents from the time of identification to resolution.
- Conducting employee awareness programs on cybersecurity regularly.
- Conducting a cybersecurity education upgrade regularly.
- Planning, forecasting, and managing security budgets.
- Monitoring software launches and upgrades.
- Ensuring timely network upgrades.
- Ensuring the deliverance of IT projects without disabling security standards.
There exists a thin line between the job role of a CISO and CIO (Chief Information Officer) and many organizations blur the line making it a single title.
The significant elements that a successful CISO should be aware of –
1. Risk and compliance management
To automate and execute work processes, organizations rely on many tools, third-party vendors, applications, etc. that might bring a probability of risk. The scope of IT security implementation is not restricted within organizations. It incorporates vendors, partners, visitors, remote staff, and all devices and individuals directly or indirectly connected with the organization’s IT infrastructure. All these associates present security challenges, and therefore risk management is a crucial skill for CISOs. The need to understand the flow of information within the organization as well as outside the organization and define security policies accordingly is another must. Risk management is a critical skill to protect against information loss, damage, theft or harm.
Industry regulations and compliance are vital areas that CISOs should consider. Every nation has its security policies, and CISOs should ensure their compliance in their organization. Industry regulations like HIPAA, FINRA, PCI, etc. govern an organization’s cybersecurity standards and must be compliant. GDPR, issues of Internet of Things (IoT), software and patch management are few other regulations that every CISO should consider.
2. Technical skills
Though CISO is a C-Suite certification, a CISO must be well-versed with technical skills along with cybersecurity skills. They should be proficient in managing complex IT architecture and IT operational tasks. CISOs are not involved in daily execution, but they do have to oversee vulnerability scans, security assessments, penetration testing, security coding, etc.
Few of the top IT security skills that a CISO should have –
- Development of security architecture
- Incident response and remediation
- Disaster recovery planning
- Mobile and endpoint management
- Remote device management
- Identity management
- Data and information management
- Security policy and framework
- Application and database security
- Management of network security and firewall
- Communication and leadership skills
CISO is one of the most influential positions that belong to the management level. They are the spokesperson about the security concerns of their organization to any outsider, stakeholders, law enforcement or media agencies. CISOs are, therefore, expected to be energy boosters with excellent communication and leadership skills.
How to become a CISO?
CISO is the senior-most profile, and therefore it involves several steps, including education, experience, and certifications, that can help you develop the required skills.
1. Obtain a bachelor’s and a master’s degree
The first and foremost step to becoming a CISO is to have a bachelor and master’s degree in cybersecurity. CISO is a highest grade in cybersecurity and therefore, master certification becomes mandatory. If you want to be a CISO, then it is crucial for you to invest your time in attaining master’s degree. There are many universities offering online master and bachelor programs in cybersecurity and such online learning can help you in pursuing a degree and master program without disturbing your current job.
2. Obtain cybersecurity certifications
Certifications play an essential role as they provide specialized knowledge on the subject. Having a degree and master certification is a generic requirement to be a CISO. Beside this, to be proficient in specific subjects like ethical hacking, penetration testing, etc. one should acquire cybersecurity certifications too. Most of the universities, provide opportunity to avail certifications while pursuing degree or master in cybersecurity.
3. Get cybersecurity experience
The eligibility to receive C|CISO certification is to have five years of experience in each of the five C|CISO domains. Therefore, education should also be backed by the relevant experience to make you eligible for a role in a higher hierarchy.
4. Build management experience
CISO requires a unique blend of IT and managerial skills. Once you acquire technical skills, seek experience in management.
To sum up, CISO is a superior managerial position and to reach that level; one must have a perfect combination of education, certification, skills, and experience.
EC-Council University offers Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (BSCS) and Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCS). Both degree programs are 100% online and of two-year duration. Having a master certification will help them prepare with various skills, technical and non-technical, that any CISO is expected to have. When you consider the MSCS program of EC-Council University, you will also be eligible to receive industry-recognized certifications of EC-Council. The master program of ECCU gives you an option to select specialization ‘Executive Leadership in Information Assurance’ from the five specializations listed. This specific specialization is aimed to qualify you for the role of CISO. Moreover, the master specialization brings you three EC-Council certifications too. – Certified Network Defender (C|ND), Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) and Certified Chief Information