Careers & People

Number of CISOs Rose 15% This Year

Although the number of CISOs increased to 65% of organizations, it could just be a case of "window dressing," new ISACA report shows.

CISOs enjoyed a significant bump up in their ranks this year: 65% of organizations have CISOs, versus 50% last year, according to the second installment of ISACA's 2017 State of Cyber Security Study, released today.

But despite the increase in the number of CISOs, it may not necessarily translate into a number of high-level cybersecurity officials.

"I am pleased there are more CISOs, but I'm not overly excited," says Rob Clyde, an ISACA board of director and executive chairman of White Cloud Security. "It may be a case companies are doing a little window dressing and taking their security director and now calling them a CISO. It's the same person but a different title."

That type of role change typically costs less than hiring a new CISO from the outside, he notes. As a result, it may explain why there are more CISOs recorded in this year's study despite the decrease in companies anticipating a larger security budget.

Based on 633 cybersecurity and information professionals surveyed, 50% report their organizations expect to increase their cybersecurity budgets this year. Last year, the figure was 61% of survey participants, according to the report.

Training Squeeze

Meanwhile, although 48% of survey respondents say their IT security team is not up for handling complex security issues, the average amount companies are willing to pay for cybersecurity training is $1,000 per team member, the report finds.

"It usually costs $2,500 per person for any real meaningful training," says Clyde, noting that only 20% of survey respondents are spending $2,500 per employee.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to bring more security challenges than mobile this year, with 97% of survey respondents expecting IoT use to rise. But Clyde notes it will not likely result in a need to hire more endpoint security experts since many who were building up a company's defenses for mobile could apply much of that knowledge to IoT.

"A lot of IoT devices are mobile devices," Clyde says. "A BYOD mobile policy can become a bring-your-own wearable policy."

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Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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