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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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Image Source: Shutterstock via Cartoon Resource

Image Source: Shutterstock via Cartoon Resource

What’s in a title? As the threat landscape grows more severe, job titles and lines of reporting will continue to change for security professionals. For example, last year’s CIO 100 found that 70% of CISOs report directly to the CIO, while IDC predicted that during 2018, 75% of CSOs and CISOs will report directly to the CEO.

Rob Clyde, a vice chair on the board of directors at ISACA, says just about all C-Suite players will have a seat on the board of directors in the future – and they’d better be ready.

"However technical these people are, they still have to understand the business and explain the technology to the board in plain English," Clyde says.

John McCumber, director of cybersecurity advocacy at ISC2, says the Chief Data Officer will continue to play a more important security role at many companies – and should have a seat at the table. "Organizations live and die by data," McCumber says. "We are coming to the end of the 'era of threat' and now have to accept that the threats will exist and that we have to deal with them."

Here's a look at seven important C-Suite job titles in security: CISO, CRO, CTO, CIO, CPO/CDO, CFO, and CAE, and their key security roles as defined by ISACA's Clyde and ISC2's McCumber. 

 

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio
 

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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
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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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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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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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[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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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
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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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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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