Career Spotlight: Chief Information Security Officer

How to Become a Chief Information Security Officer

A chief information security officer, aka a CISO, leads the security realm of the information technology team. Most, if not all large corporations and organizations have a CISO to ensure they have a successful security system, network, and software. If you consider yourself an expert in computer science or information technology and are a strong leader, you could be a chief information security officer. Learn more about the position and the steps needed to be considered for the role!

Chief Information Security Officer Job Description

A chief information security officer is responsible for maintaining the security of information technology and computer systems for any company. CISOs are a part of the leadership team that collaborates with other officers, business managers, and IT managers to effectively monitor and maintain the security of their organization’s computers, websites, applications, networks, and databases. Across all industries, CISO positions are a necessity; whether you work in higher education, health care, fashion, ad management, or other industries, this position is essential to the success of a company.

Because of the increase in technology throughout the world, the position of CISO has become particularly important and jobs are increasing across the globe. As a chief information security officer, you would be the highest-ranking executive responsible for managing security software. CISOs work alongside chief information officers who focus mainly on the management of information technology departments.

Chief Information Security Officer Responsibilities

The chief information security officer is the expert in an organization’s security operations. CISOs understand security software and are responsible for ensuring it is successful. While the responsibilities can vary depending on the industry, typical job responsibilities include:

  • Evaluate the IT threat landscape
  • Create cybersecurity policies and controls to reduce risk
  • Develop a security program for the company
  • Evaluate, purchase, and implement new cybersecurity software
  • Manage technology resources, including software, hardware, staff, and budget
  • Lead the information technology office
  • Collaborate with other executives to ensure the security needs of their departments are met with the technology provided by the organization
  • Initiate regular network and software security audits
  • Research and evaluate existing and new technologies
  • Train IT department staff as well as other employees to detect security threats

The CISO works closely with the chief information officer to ensure a successful technology department. CIOs and CISOs are most successful when they create their security plan, data use, and infrastructural strategy together. It is the goal of both positions to create meaningful technology that can stand up against any security threats.

Chief Information Security Officer Requirements

While requirements can change from organization to organization, most employers require CISOs to have a graduate degree and multiple years of experience in a related field. A master’s degree in cybersecurity from Excelsior University can help you to succeed as a chief information security officer.

Chief information security officers not only need to master the IT field, but also have a knack for leading and running a business. Since a CISO is part of the leadership team in any organization, it is important for the CISO to understand the organization’s industry and business functions. A Master of Business Administration from Excelsior University can help you to improve your skills in this area. If you are undecided what graduate degree to get, chat with one of our admissions counselors to weigh your options.

While education and work experience are important, so are the skills you possess. Successful CISOs are:

  • Analytical thinkers. You must be able to research new trends and understand technologies.
  • Strong leaders. You must manage a successful team and be prepared to operate as CEO if there is ever a need.
  • Excellent project managers. You will be responsible for multiple projects at one time, so having strong team and project management skills is necessary.
  • Powerful decision makers. You are responsible for guiding and making huge decisions for your organization.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average annual salary of a chief information security officer in 2022 was $287,500. With the constant changes and innovations in technology, it is only fitting that positions in this field as well as the compensation are growing. From 2021, compensation for CISOs increased by 21 percent. If this sounds like something you are interested in, take the next step and chat with an admissions counselor today to get started.