Understanding CISO Roles and Responsibilities

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has business-critical responsibility. They are responsible for protecting people, assets, infrastructure and technology. Assessing risk and acting in the best interest of the company to eliminate threats is the job. To understand the challenge, consider the roles and responsibilities of the modern CISO.

Be Like Alfred

In fiction, Alfred Pennyworth, the Wayne family butler, is a voice of reason and the perfect complement to Batman’s somewhat reckless abandonment. CISOs operate in a similar regard. They often report directly to the CEO (often driven by speed and aggression) and are responsible for communicating security precautions and roadmaps. CISOs quantify risks and manage solutions, with an understanding of the bigger picture others may not have. CISOs must push onward in a thoughtful and strategic way on behalf of the entire company.

CISOs must quantify any security risks to succeed in the role. Monitoring downtime issues, addressing major and minor security incidents, assessing the cost per incident, gauging impact on the customer and managing the time it takes to resolve an issue are just a few of the tactical and operational roles and responsibilities of a CISO. CISOs don’t want to be the leaders who say NO but rather be the leader who can inject security rationally into the core strategy of the organization and enable business growth.

Read more: How to Talk About Cybersecurity Risk Management

Un-caped Crusaders

CISOs must be searchers and crusaders. The best CISOs offer strategic leadership advice, in-depth industry and security knowledge, and possess strong relationship building skills. They must be evangelists for security and seek out others to join them. When a threat is present, it is their responsibility to act as a guide for the entire company, offering strategic, cost effective, and proactive approaches and insights.

Most importantly, the CISO role requires strong communication and collaboration skills. Hackers and malware are increasingly sophisticated, creating new threats for anyone responsible for upholding security protocols. The cybersecurity skills gap continues to expand and CISOs have to work with understaffed and stretched security teams. It is critical that CISOs ensure that their teams are protected and remain calm in the face of chaos. CISOs must motivate and inspire their teams when facing adversity and challenges. Leaders must be proficient at rapidly implementing the latest and best technology available to secure the business through collaboration. 

Call for Backup 

No single person can carry the weight of keeping an entire organization secure; it takes a squad. Even Batman needed Alfred to save Gotham. When outsourcing help, it is essential to choose the right crew, one you can truly trust.

One of Deepwatch’s differentiators is the Squad Delivery Model. Much like a CISO, Deepwatch takes the responsibility to fully understand the security needs of your organization, your existing capabilities, and unique risk concerns. This kind of high touch, collaborative and tailored approach proactively prevents threats and keeps your company secure. Working with the same people routinely allows for a team of seasoned security experts to collaborate with your team to offer comprehensive, strategic, 24/7 support.

Deepwatch squads understand the unprecedented importance of protecting your assets and reputation. Deepwatch’s advanced capabilities like contextualized high-fidelity alerting, extended threat detection across the environment and rapid response to contain threats ensure that even the most sophisticated adversaries don’t stand a chance. Utilizing the expert help of third-party resources allows any CISO to feel confident that the security program they built becomes a business enabler.

Learn more about Deepwatch MDR.


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