Dec 13 2022

Survey Reveals Limits of CISOs’ Management Experience

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 10:07 am

A global survey from recruitment firm Marlin Hawk that polled 470 CISOs at organizations with more than 10,000 employees found nearly half (45%) have been in their current role for two years or less.

James Larkin, managing partner for Marlin Hawk, said that rate is slightly lower than the previous year when the same survey found 53% of CISOs had been in their positions for less than two years.

Overall, the survey found that current turnover rates are at 18% on a year-over-year basis. Approximately 62% of CISOs were hired from another company, compared to 38% that were promoted from within, the survey also found.

However, only 12% of CISOs are reporting directly to the CEO, while the rest report to other technology leadership roles, the survey revealed. It also found that more than a third of CISOs (36%) that have a graduate degree also received a higher degree in business administration or management, a 10% decline from the previous year. A total of 61% have higher degrees in another STEM field, the survey found.

Finally, the survey showed only 13% of the respondents are female, while only 20% are non-white.

The role of the CISO continues to expand—and with it the level of stress—as cyberattacks continue to increase in volume and sophistication, noted Larkin. It’s not clear whether or how much stress levels are contributing to CISO turnover rates, but it is one of the few 24/7 roles within any IT organization, added Larkin.

The role of the CISO has also come under more scrutiny in the wake of the conviction of former Uber CISO Joe Sullivan on charges of obstruction. Most CISOs view their role as defending the corporation but, in general, Larkin noted that most of them would err on the side of transparency when it comes to managing cybersecurity.

The one certain thing is that CISOs are more valued than ever. A PwC survey of 722 C-level executives found that 40% of business leaders ranked cybersecurity as the number-one most serious risk their organizations faced. In addition, 58% of corporate directors said they would benefit most from enhanced reporting around cybersecurity and technology.

As a result, nearly half of respondents (49%) said they were increasing investments in cybersecurity and privacy, while more than three-quarters (79%) said they were revising or enhancing cybersecurity risk management.

As a result, CISOs generally have more access to resources despite an uncertain economy. The issue is determining how best to apply those resources given the myriad platforms that are emerging to enhance cybersecurity. Of course, given the chronic shortage of cybersecurity talent, the biggest challenge may simply be finding someone who has enough expertise to manage those platforms.

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In the meantime, most of the training CISOs and other cybersecurity professionals receive will continue to be on the job. CISOs, unlike other C-level roles that have time available for more structured training, don’t have that luxury.


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