Top Responsibilities of a New Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

As the need for security becomes more prevalent in organizations, the role of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) becomes essential for assessing, managing and implementing security measures. Depending on the organization, a CISOs area of responsibility and focus morphs to the specific needs of that organization. However, there are various roles and responsibilities most CISOs perform. The following focuses on the responsibilities most encountered by new CISOs.

  1. A new CISO should get to know the company, employees, and senior leaders. Form relationships and understand their goals and objectives so you can help them and yourself become successful.
  2. Hold a department meeting with your team to ensure their new leadership will be effective and how your strategy and leadership style may affect their jobs. Listen to what they have to say, give everyone a chance to talk, and develop a team goal.
  3. Learn about the information security policies that are already set in place; including information about the security staff, their responsibilities, department performances, or assets. Obtaining this information will help you develop a successful strategy.
  4. Assess the risk exposure to help determine your priorities and to prevent over commitment. Determine the five most important issues and focus on two or three for your first three months.
  5. Review the budget of your information security program. Before developing strategies, it is important to know your budget before investing in new technologies or tools. If you feel your organization should invest in certain technologies, talk with your senior advisors or a financial analyst.
  6. Develop a long-term strategy based on the business goals, to help build an effective security program which will benefit the core business of the organization, but also prioritize protecting the assets.
  7. Learn to communicate with the board members, let them know about your plans and strategies. Communication is key in creating a stronger security program. If a breach occurs, the liability will not completely fall on the CISO with effective communication in place.
  8. Supervise anyone responsible for security in your organization, anyone from the security guard to the network technicians.
  9. Supervise all security hardware and software selection testing, deployment, and maintenance.
  10. Make sure you have plans in place for a possible security breach and you should test your responses to possible breaches as well.