When a breach hits an organization, it tops the headlines. Every time we come across one, we are drawn to the same questions, how did it happen or who is at fault? But if we really want to defend ourselves, then the better question would be, how is it that other companies have not been attacked and are securing themselves, or who should oversee the security of the business? The possible answer to the latter question would be the CISO. Here is how to become a CISO.
The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is an executive role that oversees the protection of IT infrastructure, crucial data, and other company’s assets from malicious actors. Every company must secure their IT facility in the wake of rampant data theft and exhaustive regulations.
This is possible, not merely by implementing security policies, but by training and creating awareness among the employees. The cyber threats are not just external, but internally too. A CISO, therefore, keeps pace with the threat landscape both, internal and external.
In short, CISOs share a greater responsibility of ensuring security across all levels in the organization, viz., strategy, operations, and budget. The scope of working of CISOs also extends to law enforcement when it comes to security matters and incident investigations.
The Responsibilities of a CISO
To learn how to become a CISO, it is essential to first understand what their responsibilities are. CISOs are C-suite officers that oversee the security policies and procedures of the company, which are meant to protect the business from internal and external threats. It is a senior executive position responsible for establishing a culture of security and ensuring an optimal cybersecurity awareness training to all employees.
CISOs are required to oversee the security policies and procedures and design them in alignment with the company’s core objective. They must be updated with the latest trends and technologies in cybersecurity and the best knowledge on how they can be of good use to the organization.
Communicating with other C-level executives and board members to make cybersecurity an important agenda and receive a sanctioned budget is a part of their duties. Depending upon the size of the company a CISO has to work along with or report to the chief information officer (CIO) to the chief technical officer (CTO) and in turn, then both report to chief operations officer (COO).
Before you learn how to become a CISO, it is crucial to be aware of the different characteristics they carry. This includes the decision-making process of the company to provide input from a security perspective. Many online tools might pose a threat to the network or web browsers, making them vulnerable and causing severe repercussions to the business. When a CISO is aware of them in advance, defensive techniques like installing a firewall can be integrated at the initial stages for production.
How to Become a CISO: Recommended Career Path
|Step 1: Get a Bachelor degree in cybersecurity||Step 2: Start as a Programmer or Analyst||Step 3: Attain extra certifications to advance|
|Step 4: Become a leader and oversee a security team||Step 5: Attain a Master degree with a specialization in Executive Leadership in Information Assurance||Step 6: Get promoted as a CISO|
The career path to becoming a CISO is not an overnight process. Those interested in pursuing the role should be prepared to gain intensive experience in the cybersecurity domain beforehand. An aspiring CISO should be efficient with skills in cybersecurity, team management, security policies, problem-solving, and the latest of the industry, continually honing leadership skills. All these skills can be acquired by being a constant learner and developing a close relationship with a mentor to gain real-time exposure.
Essential Skills to be a CISO
|1||Education||Master of Science in Cybersecurity|
|2||IT Experience||Crafting security policies, networking, testing application applications, testing security solutions.|
|3||Risk Management||Awareness of potential vulnerabilities, familiarity with incident response standard.|
|4||Certification||CISO certification, along with other cybersecurity certifications.|
|5||Business Experience||Auditing, governance, legal compliance, strategic planning, finance and budgeting, system controls, and operations management.|
|6||Financial Acumen||Articulating return on investment (ROI)|
|7||Communication Skills||Communicating with other business managers, participating in board meetings, interacting with stakeholders, etc.|
How EC-Council University Can Help You Become a CISO
EC-Council University offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCS), which can be opted after obtaining your Bachelor’s degree. The MSCS is a two-year, completely online, and instructor-led program that offers the choice of five specializations to the students. The students focused on being a CISO can opt for ‘Executive Leadership in Information Assurance’ specialization during their master’s program. The specialization focuses on providing the fundamental skills that are required to assume the position of a C-level information security executive. The specialization also trains you on global business leadership, project management, and executive governance and management. It is accompanied by three EC-Council industry-recognized certifications, viz., Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH), Certified Network Defender (C|ND), and Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO). To qualify for the C|CISO exam, you must have five years of experience in each of the five domains as defined separately in the C|CISO exam eligibility. More details about the program can be obtained from our webpage: https://www.eccu.edu/specialization-executive-leadership-in-information-assurance/