The role of a CISO involves protecting a company’s intellectual property, proprietary data and managing its overall security. In the past, the role was rather narrowly defined along those lines, but with the proliferation of connected devices and the vast amount of data, the role of the CISO has dramatically evolved to taking a more strategic and stronger leadership level.
With cyber threats increasingly evolving, the role of the CISO has drastically changed. Initially, the prominent job of a CISO was to handle cyber-attacks against a financial entity. However, this role has become more complex with a few added responsibilities, including leading the team to handle threats in real-time, mitigation of cyber-attacks, managing the security architecture, safeguarding the corporate infrastructure, implementing security policies and management designed to predict and address risk.
CISOs have now been given greater access. Besides, directors and other C-suite members are more willing to accept that their domain is not a separate unit and it needs to be part of the overall business plan.
CISO Brought to the Fore
Entities across industry verticals are now suffering significant data breaches or have been the victims of high-profile ransomware attacks. Therefore, cyber defense is on the rise. Simultaneously, a slow shift in the duties of the CISOs has been observed.
Today, a skilled CISO has regular access to the board and is looked up to for good leadership, their knowledge of how tech can be used to help the company, and their advocacy of InfoSec.
New Soft Skills
Nowadays, soft skills and technical skills are equally important. CISOs are expected to be good managers and should possess people skills. It’s critical for them to understand the goals and objectives of the wider business and intersection with the security.
Most of the CISOs have specializations in engineering or IT, which is extremely important for the infrastructure and architecture side of the job. However, a good defense is also about building partnerships. CISOs must also mentor the employees on how to practice good security hygiene. It is advised that CISOs should have open conversations with everyone in the company and everyone along the supply chain.
Moreover, the CISO should be able to build a solid knowledge base for each step in the business structure. The systems CISOs oversee should function in conjunction with other parts of the business and not decelerate production.
From Executive to the Board Room
Earlier, most C-suite members didn’t have a clear understanding of what the CISO’s role was. Back then, CISOs usually reported to other leaders and gave cybersecurity reports to the CIOs, since IT security was a part of the IT infrastructure. But today, the number of digital tools used in the workplace and the rise of digital risks has a drastic impact on the overall business. Therefore, CISOs should thoroughly research defense systems that balance return on investment (ROI) and other business goals.
Furthermore, CISOs should be able to explain the organizations’ need of the hour for cyber security, and present to the leadership team- in order to convince them for proper funding and support.