With the rising dependency on digital resources, there has been a sudden increase in cyberattacks. A study by the University of Maryland explains that computers are attacked an average of 2,244 times a day, and companies pay an average of $3.9 million for every breach, according to IBM.
To combat these attacks, companies must develop a cybersecurity culture and formulate initiatives to protect their organization. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) should take ownership of defining this initiative.
The role of a CISO is changing as the cybersecurity landscape becomes more technical and complex with the ever-changing intricacies of threats. Cyberspace can be likened to a chessboard with pieces constantly moving. The critical and crucial moves are being continuously made, making it necessary to put proper emphasis on defensive cyber posturing.
CISOs are leading this arduous competition. They are no longer just a firewall for data but are also responsible for their companies' security incidents and business continuity protocols, including disaster recovery and enhancing the overall cybersecurity culture.
The Role Of A CISO
The CISO is a role that is gaining more importance every day because modern businesses carry out a majority, if not all, of operations digitally.
The role of a cybersecurity CISO is to ensure that the company has the required safeguards against cyberattacks. They do so by implementing a security framework that protects the company and can also adapt along with the company. In addition, they ensure that all the security measures are compliant with government standards.
By breaking down these objectives into tasks, a cybersecurity CISO is expected to commence the following responsibilities:
CISOs have the important task of familiarizing themselves with the most recent cybersecurity threats. They usually review their overall visibility and intelligence program by considering the following parameters:
• Who: Who are the people, hackers and organizations interested in your data? What are their history and previous actions?
• Why: What is it that has sparked their interest in you? What is their motivation? Is it financial gains, reputation damage or productivity loss?
• What: What are they trying to steal? Personally identifiable information (PII), financial information or sensitive data, such as patents and intellectual property?
• When: When could you be the most vulnerable? Could it happen because of the hacker or your organization?
• How: How are they going to find you? What tools, strategies and methods do they have at their disposal to target you?
One of the major roles that a CISO plays is creating a plausible security framework. This will help to direct the efforts of the IT team as they protect the company against cyberattacks. This also includes investing in the right security hardware and software.
Customer Identity And Access Management (CIAM)
CISOs also work in conjunction with customer identity and access management (CIAM) architects to ensure stringent measures to restrict access to unauthorized consumers. Therefore, only the individuals who have clearance are capable of accessing restricted data.
Ensuring compliance with government or state regulations is also essential for a CISO. This is especially true for multinational companies as the regulations tend to differ. A CISO will comply with these regulations while ensuring that it does not hinder the company in other ways.
In the unfortunate circumstance, a cyberattack does occur, the CISO will make an active effort to understand how the attack could have taken place. They will search for vulnerabilities, access points or failings in the security.
CISOs Should Collaborate Closely With Other Business Leaders
Given the increase in cybersecurity threats, CISOs should also partner with internal and external security providers or companies. By doing so, the CISOs hope to better their cybersecurity and a partner's in the process.
Security is a fundamental concern for any business, and the head of information security should be a critical member of the C-suite. As the role of infosec grows in importance, it is only natural that CISOs have to collaborate more closely with other executives. But why?
A good collaboration between a CISO and the rest of the organization improves the effectiveness of security. But for many organizations, it is not easy to determine how to move forward. Here are a few tips on what to do:
• Create a culture of C-level engagement. Educate and engage the various levels of IT leadership. This includes having a designated body of security experts who can attend these meetings. The more levels of leadership you engage, the better prepared your organization will be for any cyber incident.
• Develop unified goals. CISO and other business leaders require the ability to lead people toward a set of goals and objectives. They need flexibility in resource allocation and the authority to make decisions that enable their teams to do their jobs effectively. Each team member has to be accountable for meeting goals and achieving benchmarks.
As CISOs have emerged as key players in organizations, their influence has grown throughout the C-suite — they are integral to the growth of the Chief Risk Officer (CRO) and they are participating in key business initiatives spearheaded by the Chief Digital Officer (CDO).
Once considered a purely technical position, CISOs today are forging a role as thought leaders for the future of cybersecurity.
Originally published at Forbes