How to be an effective and successful CISO

We'll review what a CISO is and what their role is, so you can get a better understanding of their duties and responsibilities.

01-02-2023 - 5 minute read. Posted in: awareness.

How to be an effective and successful CISO

A CISO is in charge of the general IT security of a company, but he or she is also in charge of a wide range of areas, including cyber security. We review what a CISO is, what their role is, and how to effectively and successfully carry out the duties of a CISO. All this to give you a better insight into what your company's CISO is dealing with.

What is a CISO?

CISO is an acronym for Chief Information Security Officer and is an executive responsible for developing, managing and implementing a company's security programs and cybersecurity.

So a CISO looks at security measures when it comes to applications; they safeguard company data and assets; they develop the infrastructure of IT; manage security teams and have overall responsibility for the company's IT security.

They are seen as experts in IT security, and report problems directly to the company CEO if necessary. As the CISO is responsible for IT security, they are also responsible for ensuring that any problem is resolved.

In addition, it is also the CISO's responsibility to train employees in new cyber security systems so that the company is in the best possible position to avoid becoming a victim of a cyber attack.

Becoming a successful CISO in a company requires years of IT experience, team management, leadership experience and an understanding of IT systems and security. So becoming a successful CISO takes time and effort, but they are also essential in companies to ensure good cyber security for all employees.

CISO, CSO and CIO - what's the difference?

The three positions are often associated with each other, but they have different responsibilities - below we describe what the different positions specifically entail:

CIO stands for Chief Information Officer, and has a broader scope of responsibility than both CISO and CSO. They are responsible for strategic planning of technology and security, as well as maintaining IT systems and operations, and introducing new digital applications to the business.

CSO is short for Chief Security Officer, and is not as much to do with technology, but more with the security of the business. Their responsibility lies in ensuring employees, products and overall operations go as they should. In some cases, the CSO is responsible for both IT and corporate security.

CISO, which we have already established, focuses mostly on cyber security and is more specialised in information and data security. They are responsible for the company's IT infrastructure, managing third-party security and developing security programmes.

You could say that the CSO and CIO are specialisations of the CISO's job, where everyone is indispensable to a company.

What can a successful CISO do?

As mentioned, becoming a successful CISO requires years of experience. However, some of the skills that a CISO must have are strong communication skills, expert knowledge in cybersecurity, and planning skills.

A CISO must also have a good understanding of administrative work, knowledge of legislation (and changes to it) and expertise in IT.

Finally, it is also important that they have experience in cyber risk management and handling incidents related to the company's cyber security. This is essential because cybersecurity is the wall that separates company data and hackers. If a hacker penetrates a company's web of software and into storage, they can do tremendous damage to the company and its employees.

A list of the most essential skills a successful CISO must have looks like this:

  • Extensive background in cybersecurity and technical proficiency.
  • Good leadership skills.
  • Clear and articulate communication.
  • Organisational and project management.
  • Form a good team in IT security.
  • A proactive mindset, for IT program development.
  • Understanding of the profession and industry.

Main objectives of a CISO

One of the things a CISO spends a lot of their time on is steering the company's cybersecurity in the right direction, so they can counter any attacks. So it's technical insight that gives a CISO an edge - if they can see where there are potential holes in the company's security network, they can hopefully patch them before a hacker gets to them.

One of the absolute most important tasks a CISO has is to catch cybersecurity risks. In other words, they must assess and prioritise potential cyber security risks, precisely as a preventative element for the business. They are also responsible for accounting for the financial losses and costs of a cyber attack.

To sum up, the main tasks of a CISO are the following:

  • Strengthen the company's cyber security.
  • Detect gaps and risks in security networksbefore the hacker.
  • Assess cybersecurity adequacy.
  • Get an overview of financial losses and costs of a cyber attack.
  • Create an IT infrastructure in the company.
  • Develop security programmes.

So it's good to have a CISO who can fulfil some of the above-mentioned skills, because the insight into IT systems and cyber security is essential when it comes to preventing hacker attacks and awareness training.

Author Caroline Preisler

Caroline Preisler

Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.

View all posts by Caroline Preisler

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