The Role of the CISO and how to Win Over the Board

Whatever your industry, threats to the security of data are increasing hugely, especially with the shift to working remotely due to the pandemic. It offers more potentially vulnerable endpoints for cyber criminals to exploit.

The cyber security challenges faced by businesses and organisations require boards and business leaders to recognise the need for expertise.

In this article, you’ll learn what a CISO is, their roles and responsibilities, the importance of a CISO and some reasons to invest in cyber security.

What is a CISO?

CISO stands for Chief Information Security Officer. They are a board-level executive responsible for an organisation’s information and data security.


CISO role and responsibilities.

What does a CISO do?

The CISO advises the executive team on the organisation’s security requirements.

The role has evolved from being one of primarily implementing and managing information technology security to one that encompasses consultation, business processes and risk management and evaluation.

The CISO communicates risks to decision-makers and advocates for investment and resources for security.

So, the CISO needs to:

-          Talk the executive board’s language.

-          Understand business operations.

-          Understand complex security reports from a technical perspective but also communicate them appropriately to other executives.


Key responsibilities of a CISO might include:

  •         Reporting to and advising top executive management on all information security, cyber threats, etc.
  •         Cyber security advocacy. Ensuring cyber security initiatives run smoothly, are suitably funded, and that the board understands the importance of cyber security.
  •         Risk management and incident management. Analysing and managing immediate threats. Investigating breaches, what went wrong, why and how to stop it from happening again.
  •         Security architecture. Planning, buying and advising on security hardware, system patches, software and network infrastructure.
  •         Identity and access management. Ensuring processes are in place so only authorized users have access to restricted data and systems.
  •         Awareness and training. Maintain training and awareness plans and materials.
  •         Policy and procedure management. Develop security policies and procedures.


Importance of a CISO.

Digital security must be a priority for companies.

Cyber attacks are costly, damaging and can be difficult to recover from, and they’re becoming more prevalent and severe.

The CISO is responsible for keeping the organisation safe from data breaches that could result in huge financial loss and irreparable reputational damage.

Therefore, it’s vital to have an executive responsible for and capable of making important security decisions and advising the management team on risks.

Business success relies on cyber security.

In pretty much every industry security is a critical concern for companies. Security incidents and data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace.

So, a lack of focus on cyber security can greatly damage a business. There’s an economic cost of cyber attacks to a business – theft of corporate information, disruption to trading, repairing or replacing the affected system, compensation payments, not to mention the huge reputational damage.

Without sufficient cyber security in place, a business runs a great risk of failing.

Increasingly, business success relies on cyber security. The view of security and risk has shifted from a technical problem to a strategic priority.

Investing in a CISO is an investment in the future.

As well as critically important for present success, an effective CISO is vital for future innovation and safety. The CISO must have the authority to put strong policies in place.

And the role is only going to gain even more importance as time goes on. As security threats rise, companies must increasingly utilise and empower the role of the CISO.

As security concerns are increasingly shaping business growth, investing in security through a CISO role makes business sense – it’s one of the best ways to prepare for the future and rising threats.


Invest in cyber security.

How can you convince your executive board to invest in cyber security?

-          Use language they understand. There’s no point trying to make your case using jargon and acronyms that no one listening understands. The tech and security world may understand but that’s not who you’re trying to persuade - the board members will tend to come from business backgrounds, not security backgrounds. This is also a good reason to learn the board member’s backgrounds if possible – it’ll affect the language you use.

-          A picture tells a thousand words, so use simple and clear visual presentations to illustrate your points.

-          Data. Discuss industry and company security and cyber attack data and averages, this quickly gets attention and is easy to digest. Highlight the growth in cyber crime and how all types and sizes of business are being targeted and the potential costs involved if an investment isn’t made.

-          Present realistic funding requests. Be realistic about the true cyber security risk and suggest a responsible solution that also strategically aligns with the business responsibility of maximizing shareholder value.

-          Communicate regularly with board members. Keep them aware of the latest significant security developments to maintain an ongoing relationship.



Hopefully, this article has enlightened you a little to the ways of the CISO.

We looked at what a CISO is, their roles and responsibilities, the importance of a CISO, reasons to invest in cyber security and some tips on convincing the board to invest.

This article has come from part of our research that has uncovered some key findings that every UK CISO will want to know. We will be hosting a hybrid, interactive event that will be broadcast on the 15th October, 3:30 pm from a studio in London, UK to a live audience of CISOs and CTOs - Bluefort Live

You can read more about the latest cyber security developments on BlueFort Security’s news page.

If you have any questions or want to discuss any requirements, just give us a call on 01252 917000, email or use our contact form.

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