The chief information security officer (CISO) is a senior-level executive responsible for developing and implementing information security & risk assessment programs, which includes procedures and policies designed to protect enterprise communications, systems and assets from both internal and external threats. The CISO may also work alongside the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to procure cybersecurity products and services and to manage disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
The CISO may also be referred to as the chief security architect, the security manager, the corporate security officer or the information security manager, depending on the company's structure and existing titles. While the CISO is also responsible for the overall corporate security of the company, which includes its employees and facilities, he or she may simply be called the Chief Security Officer (CSO).
Instead of waiting for a data breach or security incident, the CISO is tasked with anticipating new threats and actively working to prevent them from occurring. The CISO must work with other executives across different departments to ensure that security systems are working smoothly to reduce the organization's operational risks in the face of a security attack. Another word it is the responsibility of the CISO to manage and mitigate risk.
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 with the rules for relevant bodies, and enforcing adherence to security practices.
Other duties and responsibilities CISOs perform include ensuring the company's data privacy is secure, managing the Computer Security Incident Response Team and conducting electronic discovery and digital forensic investigations.
A CISO is typically an individual who is able to effectively lead and manage employees and who has a strong understanding of information technology and security, but who can also communicate complicated security concepts to technical and nontechnical employees. CISOs should have experience with risk management and auditing.
Many companies require CISOs to have advanced degrees in business, computer science or engineering, and to have extensive professional working experience in information technology. CISOs also typically have relevant certifications such as Certified Information Systems Auditor and Certified Information Security Manager, issued by ISACA, as well as Certified Information Systems Security Professional, offered by (ISC)2.