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Risk

3/16/2018
01:00 PM
Steve Zurier
Steve Zurier
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Who Does What in Cybersecurity at the C-Level

As security evolve as a corporate priority, so do the roles and responsibilities of the executive team. These seven titles are already feeling the impact.
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Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
The CISO has direct responsibility for all security programs and policies. Sometimes, he or she has their own staff who assist them in implementing and monitoring security systems. Following all the high-profile hacks of the past few years, more CISOs report directly to the CEO or possibly the CFO, but it's most common for the CISO to report to the CIO. Up until the past few years, CISOs may have been two or three levels down from the CIO, but that's changing. They are also less likely to report to a Chief Security Officer (CSO), a job function that also has responsibility for physical security as well as IT. With all the high-profile hacks, more companies are aligning the CISO position with the IT department.


Image Source: Shutterstock via OpturaDesign

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

The CISO has direct responsibility for all security programs and policies. Sometimes, he or she has their own staff who assist them in implementing and monitoring security systems. Following all the high-profile hacks of the past few years, more CISOs report directly to the CEO or possibly the CFO, but it's most common for the CISO to report to the CIO. Up until the past few years, CISOs may have been two or three levels down from the CIO, but that's changing. They are also less likely to report to a Chief Security Officer (CSO), a job function that also has responsibility for physical security as well as IT. With all the high-profile hacks, more companies are aligning the CISO position with the IT department.

Image Source: Shutterstock via OpturaDesign

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2018 | 6:58:08 AM
Re: CISOs and C levels
@szurier: Alas, one of many reasons why it has become so difficult to attract people to the role. That, and, of course, low salaries.

We don't have a cybersecurity talent shortage. We have a cybersecurity compensation shortage!
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2018 | 6:56:41 AM
Re: C-level roles
@Brian: Not even at the federal level, either. I have a colleague who likes to say that "AG" doesn't stand for "Attorney General"; it really stands for "Aspiring Governor"!

It's a lot easier to keep the state AG's office (among other regulatory bodies) from hitting you with all kinds of fines and added oversight if you can demonstrate you're doing everything you can to rectify the situation -- and a sacrificial C-suite lamb goes a long way.
BrianN060
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50%
BrianN060,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2018 | 1:43:18 PM
Re: C-level roles
Fine article, nicely outlines enterprise IT responsibilities. 

@Joe S.: Yes, calling C-levels on the carpet, so that congressional committee members can harang the "witnesses" and demonstrate their outrage to their constituents, is a lot easier than understanding the problem or providing solutions (or explaining why they, the legislators, failed to enact reasoned and pragmatic regulation, which would have prevented the incident, or limited the damage). 
szurier210
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szurier210,
User Rank: Moderator
3/23/2018 | 10:05:32 AM
Re: CISOs and C levels
Remember that CISO really means: Career Is Surely Over!!!
Joe Stanganelli
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50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2018 | 10:02:28 AM
Re: CISOs and C levels
@gxmundy: Alas, your cynicism is on the mark. CISOs, CIOs, CTOs, and even CEOs are often the first to go -- sacrificed so as to appease politicians -- when a major breach splashes across the headlines.

Perhaps, however, if there was more uniformity as to how the CISO position worked and where it was placed in the org chart, there would be a better understanding of it to legitimize it further.

Whether an organization wants that or not, however, is a different story.
gxmundy@gmail.com
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50%
[email protected],
User Rank: Apprentice
3/22/2018 | 11:15:35 AM
CISOs and C levels
Who CISOs report to is a matter of deniability. That position is seen by C levels as the scapegoat for the eventual security breach. I agree that its a conflict in security terms to roll it under the CIO but its a business decision to not roll it under any other Executive.
Joe Stanganelli
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50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2018 | 10:40:48 AM
CISOs
It's eye-opening that so many CISOs continue to report to CIOs despite the clear conflict of interest between those two offices that has been discussed for a few years now ( and which I wrote about for Dark Reading's sister site, InformationWeek, here: informationweek.com/strategic-cio/cyber-security-and-the-cio-changing-the-conversation/a/d-id/1320660? ).

Still, I don't buy IDC's prediction (IDC tends to have pretty wild predictions and forecasts for the future, anyway) -- especially considering that there are so many other (probably better) alternatives for the CISO to report to. The CFO looks like it's the best choice, particularly as the CFO's role comes to encompass more types of risk assessment and risk management. The General Counsel is another viable alternative. (Some even go so far as to propose that the CISO report directly to the board, but that's really pushing things IMHO.)
antivirussupport12
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antivirussupport12,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2018 | 3:07:57 PM
Re: Who Does What in Cybersecurity at the C-Level
This post is good.
REISEN1955
100%
0%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/16/2018 | 2:31:07 PM
For what it is worth - at Equivax
Simple: ignore the problem when it surfaces, sell stock before the problem is announced, blame the entire catastrophe on one (1) Information Tech hire,  Latter means a horrible implementation of protocols across the board.  
toprasage
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50%
toprasage,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/16/2018 | 1:26:29 PM
Who Does What in Cybersecurity at the C-Level
 "Organizations live and die by data,"

Totally agree !
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