Why companies need to have information security officers – The Citizen

Having information security officers is an invaluable investment for organizations.
By  Sam Wambugu

Most organisations consider security to be a non-negotiable issue. Security cameras, guards at the entrance, lighting around the building, a tall perimeter fence and big hard-to-break padlocks on all doors. These are primarily used to prevent or deter physical intruders.
Likewise, the importance of safeguarding information assets is more evident now than ever before.
As our world becomes increasingly connected, the need for individuals who are knowledgeable in information security increases, hence the need for organisations to seriously consider the role of a chief information security officer.
The main job of a chief information security officer, often abbreviated as CISO, includes supervising security technologies, responding to incidents, designing suitable standards and controls, and managing the formulation and execution of policies and processes.
Due to its importance, this role reports to the executive office of an organisation, giving it the stature, resources and support it requires to carry out its duties undeterred.
A CISO understands how the cybersecurity threat landscape is evolving and how that could affect an organisation’s security. They establish a security strategy and ensure data assets are protected.
They build teams to work with them and ensure clear documentation in an organisation to guide it in keeping critical information confidential and secure. CISOs traditionally work alongside chief information officers to achieve these goals.
It’s the CISO’s responsibility to create a strategy to deal with ever-increasing regulatory complexity, including data privacy laws, allied policies, processes and systems that prevent cyberattacks. Compliance is a critical element of the role, just like risk management.
As much as a CISO is not an insurance policy against cyberattacks, their presence can minimise damage to your organisation and ensure fewer costs.
A seasoned CISO is an organisation’s report card that it has done its due diligence on corporate information security.
If one aspires to rise to the critical position of a CISO, there are many routes to it. It would help if you have at least a bachelor’s degree. The potential educational path includes information technology, computer science, cybersecurity, or equivalent fields.
Experience is essential. An average CISO’s experience ranges from seven to 10 years. If you desire to be a CISO, develop your skills in risk management, information governance, and business information security. Alternatively, you can utilise your experience in other areas such as in ethical hacking, security engineering, and security analysis.
Alternatively, a suite of industry certifications can equip one with cybersecurity skills. There isn’t a single certification for landing a job as a CISO. However, investing in IT-based training and certification programmes enhances your IT knowledge and demonstrates your dedication to the field.
Despite its importance, there is a dearth of cybersecurity talent across the globe. Although it is challenging to recruit, retain, and train cybersecurity professionals, it’s a valuable investment for organisations.
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