Aug 22 2023

The complex world of CISO responsibilities

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 9:26 am

A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is vital for safeguarding an organization’s digital assets. They oversee sensitive data security, combat cyber threats, and uphold data integrity. The CISO devises security strategies, partners with stakeholders, and addresses vulnerabilities. The Help Net Security roundup showcases insights from experts through recorded videos, highlighting the pivotal responsibilities and challenges that characterize the role of CISOs.

Complete videos

  • Josh Yavor, CISO at Tessian, offers a personal perspective on dealing with¬†burnout as a CISO.
  • Kaus Phaltankar, CEO at Caveonix discusses how in today‚Äôs complex multi-cloud landscape, the¬†role of CISOs¬†is more crucial than ever.
  • Daniel Deeney, CEO at Paladin Cloud, discusses how¬†companies face difficulties¬†identifying security threats within cloud environments.
  • Chris Groot, General Manager of Cove Data Protection at N-able, discusses enterprise¬†CISOs‚Äô challenges¬†with disaster recovery.

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Aug 20 2023

State of Virtual CISO

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 1:44 pm

Cynomi Study Reveals Number of MSPs Providing Virtual CISO Services Will Grow Fivefold By Next Year

The frequency of cyberattacks is increasing, particularly targeting smaller businesses. However, most small and mid-size companies cannot afford a full-time security professional. To address this, they are turning to vCISO (virtual Chief Information Security Officer) services offered by Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). These services provide access to external cybersecurity experts at a lower cost than hiring an in-house CISO.

A report by Cynomi, based on a survey of 200 executives in the U.S. and Canada, shows the rising demand for vCISO services among SMBs and how MSPs and MSSPs are responding to this demand. The report reveals that 84% of those not currently offering vCISO services but plan to do so by the end of 2024. The number of providers offering these services has been consistently growing, with 8% in 2022, 28% in 2023, and a projected 45% in 2024.

MSPs and MSSPs are motivated to offer vCISO services due to anticipated increased revenue, higher margins, easy upselling of other cybersecurity services, and enhanced client engagement. Although they foresee challenges such as limited in-house security knowledge and a lack of skilled cybersecurity personnel, vCISO platforms help mitigate these concerns.

Cynomi, a leading vCISO platform provider, aims to conduct annual studies on the growing trend of the vCISO role. They have also created a directory of prominent vCISO service providers to help SMBs find trusted security partners, offering details about services and technology platforms used by each provider.

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Aug 19 2023

How CISOs break down complex security challenges

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 2:34 pm

In the provided article, the author, who is a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), discusses the challenges and strategies related to maintaining technical expertise while effectively communicating complex cybersecurity issues to stakeholders in a comprehensible manner.

The author emphasizes the importance of understanding the intricacies of technology in order to secure it effectively. This philosophy has driven the author to stay up-to-date with technology trends, collaborate with other security experts, and maintain a deep connection with their technical teams. The author also highlights the value of using simple metaphors to explain complex concepts, leveraging their strong technical background to convey information in a way that is easier for non-technical stakeholders to grasp.

In the context of managing cyber resilience efforts across an enterprise, the author draws parallels to managing different types of risk, categorizing them as good and bad risks. Good risks are those that contribute to business growth and innovation, while bad risks are associated with lacking proper planning and security measures. Balancing these risks requires strong relationships across the organization and constant communication.

The article also discusses the impact of digital initiatives and rapid digital transformation on the CISO’s role. While digital transformation can enhance efficiency and lower risks, challenges arise when new technologies like cloud or SaaS services are introduced without a clear understanding of their security implications. Collaboration between technology vendors, cybersecurity companies, and leadership teams is essential to address these challenges.

In the face of external events that test organizational resilience, the author presents four key principles for effective leadership: communication, agility, constant learning, and adaptability. These principles help leaders navigate uncertainties, learn from experiences, and handle change more effectively.

For a newly appointed CISO tasked with explaining complex cyber regulations to the board, the author suggests researching the backgrounds and industries of board members to tailor explanations to their perspectives. Comparisons to regulations in related industries or significant news events can help the board better understand the issues and recognize the CISO’s commitment to understanding the regulatory landscape.

In summary, the article underscores the need for CISOs to balance technical expertise with effective communication, employing metaphors to simplify complex concepts, and building strong relationships to manage cyber risks across the enterprise. It also highlights the challenges and strategies associated with digital transformation, organizational resilience, and succinctly communicating complex regulations to the board.

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Jul 18 2023

Stabilizing The Cybersecurity Landscape: The CISO Exodus And The Rise Of VCISOs

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 10:50 pm
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https://www-forbes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2023/07/14/stabilizing-the-cybersecurity-landscape-the-ciso-exodus-and-the-rise-of-vcisos/amp/

In today’s evolving digital landscape, the role of a chief information security officer (CISO) is critical. These professionals defend against the rising tide of daily cyberthreats. Yet we’re seeing a trend: Many CISOs are leaving or considering leaving their jobs, a phenomenon coined the “Great CISO Resignation.”

This trend seems to reflect the intense pressure CISOs endure. They face a constant stream of complex cyberthreats, manage compliance issues and struggle with a talent deficit in cybersecurity. Paired with high expectations, many reconsider their roles, which can lead to a leadership gap.

However, this situation opens a strategic opportunity for innovation. As the founder and president of a company that offers virtual chief information security officer (vCISO) services, I’ve seen this model gaining momentum.

Understanding The vCISO Model

A vCISO is an outsourced security practitioner or provider who offers their expertise to businesses on a part-time or contractual basis. These professionals provide many of the same services as a traditional CISO, such as developing and implementing security strategies, ensuring compliance with regulations, training staff and managing a company’s cybersecurity posture. The key difference is that vCISOs offer these services remotely and often to multiple companies at once.

This model brings flexibility and scalability, allowing businesses to tailor cybersecurity leadership to their specific needs. It also provides access to a breadth of expertise that is often unaffordable in a full-time, in-house CISO.

Leveraging The vCISO Model Amid The CISO Exodus

With the current trend of CISOs leaving their positions, the vCISO model offers a practical solution to maintain cybersecurity leadership. Here are some ways businesses can take advantage of this model:

Plug Leadership Gaps Quickly

When a CISO departs, they leave a leadership void that’s hard to fill quickly, especially considering the shortage of cybersecurity talent. By leveraging a vCISO, businesses can plug this gap swiftly, ensuring continued oversight and direction in their cybersecurity efforts.

Access A Broader Skill Set

vCISOs, often being part of a larger team, can bring a wide range of experiences and skills. They are exposed to diverse security landscapes across industries, which can provide a fresh perspective and innovative solutions to your security challenges.

Cost Efficiency

Hiring a full-time CISO can be prohibitively expensive for some companies. vCISO services, on the other hand, can be scaled to fit budgetary constraints, giving businesses access to top-tier security leadership without as much of a hefty price tag.

Flexibility And Scalability

As your business grows and evolves, so too can your cybersecurity needs. A vCISO’s flexible engagement model means you can scale cybersecurity leadership to match your changing requirements.

Deciphering The vCISO Selection: A Strategic Perspective

Selecting the right virtual chief information security officer is pivotal to the success of your cybersecurity strategy, especially in the wake of the “Great CISO Resignation.” You’re essentially recruiting an outsourced leader who can help guide your organization’s information security infrastructure and strategy, so you need to ensure that they not only have the expertise but that they also align with your organization’s culture and values. Here are some strategic suggestions for identifying the perfect vCISO for your business:

Evaluate Their Background And Experience

Start by examining the vCISO’s professional background. This includes their level of experience in your specific industry, as well as their familiarity with the size and type of businesses like yours. Their past roles and achievements can provide valuable insight into their ability to handle the unique cybersecurity threats and risks your business may face. Don’t hesitate to ask for a detailed track record of their experience and successes.

Assess Their Expertise

Probe into their knowledge of current cybersecurity trends, their ability to create a cybersecurity strategy, their understanding of regulatory requirements that are relevant to your industry and their experience in managing security incidents. You should also ask about their experience with various cybersecurity tools and technologies. A vCISO’s expertise should encompass not only tactical but also strategic thinking and planning.

Understand Their Approach

Get a sense of their management style, communication skills and approach to problem-solving. Cybersecurity is a team effort, so the vCISO needs to effectively work with and guide your in-house team. Are they able to communicate complex security concepts in a way that everyone in your organization can understand? Can they foster a security-first culture within the company?

Determine Alignment With Business Goals

The right vCISO should understand your business strategy and align security strategies to business objectives. They should be able to strike a balance between the necessary security measures and the operational needs of your company.

In what situations would a vCISO or CISOaaS Service be appropriate?

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Jul 17 2023

CISOs under pressure: Protecting sensitive information in the age of high employee turnover

Category: CISO,data securitydisc7 @ 10:29 am

In this Help Net Security interview, Charles Brooks, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Applied Intelligence Program and graduate Cybersecurity Programs, talks about how zero trust principles, identity access management, and managed security services are crucial for effective cybersecurity, and how implementation of new technologies like AI, machine learning, and tracking tools can enhance supply chain security.

CISOs believe they have adequate data protection measures, yet many have dealt with the loss of sensitive data over the past year. How do you reconcile this apparent contradiction?

The loss of data despite protection measures is not that surprising. We are all playing catchup in cybersecurity. The internet was invented in a government laboratory and later commercialized in the private sector. The hardware, software, and networks were originally designed for open communication. Cybersecurity initially was not a major consideration. That mindset has surely changed due to the explosion of connectivity and commerce on the internet and CISOs are playing a big game of catch up too.

There are a multitude of causes that can account for the exfiltration of sensitive data. The first being that hacker adversaries have become more sophisticated and capable of breaching. The basic tools and tactics hackers use for exploitation include malware, social engineering, phishing (the easiest most common, especially spear-phishing aimed at corporate executives), ransomware, insider threats, and DDOS attacks. Also, they often use advanced and automated hacking tools shared on the dark web, including AI and ML tools that are used to attack and explore victims’ networks. That evolving chest of hacker weaponry is not so easy for CISOs to defend against.

Another big factor is the reality is that exponential digital connectivity propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the security paradigm. Many employees now work from hybrid and remote offices. There is more attack surface area to protect with less visibility and controls in place for the CISO. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that more sensitive data has and will be exposed to hackers.

The notion of adequate protection is a misnomer as threats are constantly morphing. All it takes is one crafty phish, a misconfiguration, or a failure to do a timely patch for a gap to provide an opportunity for a breach. Finally, many CISOs have had to operate with limited budgets and qualified cyber personnel. Perhaps they have lower expectations of the level of security they can achieve under the circumstances.

As the economic downturn pressures security budgets, how can CISOs optimize their resources to manage cybersecurity risks effectively?

CISOs must enact a prudent risk management strategy according to their industry and size that they can follow to allow them to best optimize resources. A good risk management strategy will devise a vulnerability framework that Identifies digital assets and data to be protected. A risk assessment can quickly identify and prioritize cyber vulnerabilities so that you can immediately deploy solutions to protect critical assets from malicious cyber actors while immediately improving overall operational cybersecurity. This includes protecting and backing up business enterprise systems such as: financial systems, email exchange servers, HR, and procurement systems with new security tools (encryption, threat intel & detection, firewalls, etc.) and policies.

There are measures in a vulnerability framework that are not cost prohibitive. Those measures can include mandating strong passwords for employees and requiring multi-factor authentication. Firewalls can be set up and CISOs can make plans to segment their most sensitive data. Encryption software can also be affordable. The use of the cloud and hybrid clouds enables implementation of dynamic policies, faster encryption, drives down costs, and provides more transparency for access control (reducing insider threats). A good cloud provider can provide some of those security controls for a reasonable cost. Clouds are not inherently risky, but CISOs and companies will need to recognize that they must thoroughly evaluate provider policies and capabilities to protect their vital data.

And if a CISO is responsible for protecting a small or medium business without a deep IT and cybersecurity team below them, and are wary of cloud costs and management, they can also consider outside managed security services.

How can organizations better safeguard their sensitive information during high employee turnover?

This goes to the essence of the strategy of zero trust. Zero trust (ZT) is the term for an evolving set of cybersecurity paradigms that move defenses from static, network-based perimeters to focus on users, assets, and resources. Organizations need to know everything that is connected to the network, devices & people.

Identity access management or IAM, is very important. IAM the label used for the set of technologies and policies that control who accesses what resources inside a system. A CISO must determine and know who has access to what data and why. If an employee leaves, they need to immediately revoke privileges and ensure that nothing sensitive was removed from the organization. There are many good IAM tools available from vendors on the market.

Certainly, with employee turnover, there are ethical and trust elements involved. Employee insider threats are difficult to detect and manage. Some of that can be addressed upfront in employment contracts with an employee understanding of the legal parameters involved, it is less likely that they will run off with sensitive data.

We’ve seen increased CISO burnout and concerns about personal liability.

Yes, the burnout is a direct result of CISOs having too many responsibilities, too little budget, and too few workers to run operations and help mitigate growing cyber-threats. Now the personal liability factors exemplified by as the class action suit against Solar‚Äôs Wind‚Äôs CISO, and the suit against Uber‚Äôs CISO for obscuring ransomware payments, has heightened the risk. In an industry that is already lacking in required numbers of cybersecurity leaders and technicians, CISOs need to be given not only the tools, but the protections necessary for them to excel in their roles. If not, the burnout and liability issues will put more companies and organizations at greater risk.

How are these challenges impacting the overall efficacy of CISOs in their roles, and what measures can be taken to address them?

Despite the trends of greater frequency, sophistication, lethality, and liabilities associated with incursions, industry management has been mostly unprepared and slow to act at becoming more cyber secure. A Gartner survey found that 88% of Boards of Directors (BoDs) view cybersecurity as a business risk, as opposed to a technology risk, according to a new survey, and that only 12% of BoDs have a dedicated board-level cybersecurity committee.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs time for executives outside of IT to take responsibility for securing the enterprise,‚ÄĚ said¬†Paul Proctor, Chief of Research for Risk and Security. ‚ÄúThe influx of ransomware and supply chain attacks seen throughout 2021, many of which targeted operation- and mission-critical environments, should be a wake-up call that security is a business issue, and not just another problem for IT to solve.‚ÄĚ

CISOs not only need a seat at the table in the C-Suite, but they also need insurance protections comparable to other executive management that limits their personal liability. There is no panacea for perfect cybersecurity. Breaches can happen to any company or person in our precarious digital landscape. It is not fair or good business to have CISO go at it alone. In a similar context, cybersecurity should no longer be viewed as a cost item for businesses or organizations. It has become an ROI that can ensure continuity of operations and protect reputation. Investment in both the company and the CISO’s compensation and portfolio of required duties need to be a priority going forward.

As supply chain risk continues to be a recurring priority, how can CISOs better manage this aspect of their cybersecurity strategies, especially under constrained budgets?

Ensuring that the supply chain is not breached including the design, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, and maintenance elements is a challenge to all companies. Cyber-attackers will always look for the weakest point of entry and mitigating third-party risk is critical for cybersecurity. Supply chain cyber-attacks can be perpetrated from nation-state adversaries, espionage operators, criminals, or hacktivists.

CISOs require visibility of all vendors in the supply chain along with set policies and monitoring. NIST, a non-regulatory agency of the US Department of Commerce has a suggested framework for supply chain security that provides sound guidelines from both government and industry.

NIST recommends:

  • Identify, establish, and assess cyber supply chain risk management processes and gain stakeholder agreement
  • Identify, prioritize, and assess suppliers and third-party supplier partners
  • Develop contracts with suppliers and third-party partners to address your organization‚Äôs supply chain risk management goals
  • Routinely assess suppliers and third-party partners using audits, test results, and other forms of evaluation
  • Complete testing to ensure suppliers and third-party providers are able to respond to and recover from service disruption

Other mitigation efforts can be done with the acquisition of new technologies that monitor, alert, and analyze activities in the supply chain. Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can provide visibility and predictive analytics, and stenographic and watermark technologies can provide tracking of products and software.

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Jul 13 2023

CISO perspective on why boards don’t fully grasp cyber attack risks

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 1:55 pm

Due to their distinct perspectives, board members and CISOs often have differing views on cyber attack risks. The discrepancy arises when boards need cybersecurity expertise, need help comprehending technical jargon, or when CISOs need to communicate in business language.

In this Help Net Security interview, David Christensen, CISO of PlanSource, proposes strategies to understand and acknowledge the broader organizational and strategic implications of cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance.

Board members and CISOs often do not see eye-to-eye on the risk of cyber attacks. In your opinion, what is the primary cause of this discrepancy?

A difference in perspective is a fundamental reason board members and CISO are not always aligned. Board members typically have a much broader view of the organization’s goals, strategies, and overall risk landscape, where CISOs are responsible for assessing and mitigating cybersecurity risk. These differences in perspectives lead to contrasting priorities and risk assessments. However, when board members and CISOs do not see eye-to-eye on the risk of cyber attacks, it’s often a result of the board lacking cybersecurity expertise among its members, the complexity with understanding the topic and CISOs who focus too heavily on technical language during their discussions with the board.

Communicating cyber risk to the board requires the CISO to understand the audience, translating technical jargon into business language, allowing the board to see the CISO as a strategic partner. Becoming the strategic partner also requires CISOs to view their cybersecurity investments in terms of ROI to help the board understand the importance of an investment against competing priorities and spend.

CISOs need to also understand that board members often have a shorter time horizon for decision-making, focusing on quarterly or annual performance, in contrast to CISOs being more attuned to the potential long-term impacts of cyber attacks and advocating for proactive measures. This misalignment in time horizons can contribute to disparities in risk perceptions.

How can a CISO effectively translate technical jargon into business language that board members can understand and engage with? Do you have any specific strategies or approaches in mind?

A CISO needs to understand the knowledge and background of the board members to be able to translate technical jargon into business language and something familiar with the target audience. I approach this by relating technical jargon to everyday situations or business scenarios, something the board can easily grasp.

To be effective at this style of communication, I collaborate with other business leaders outside of the technology groups to optimize business alignment. Focusing on the potential business impact of cybersecurity risk also allows a CISO to frame technical issues in terms of their consequences such as financial loss or damage to the company’s brand.

It is equally important to be concise and avoid over-embellishing cyber-risks, while still focusing on the strategic objectives you are asking the board to weigh in on. To bridge the gap between board members and CISOs to promote the mitigation of cyber-risk, it is essential that a CISO enhance communication, educate board members about cybersecurity risks and promote a collaborative approach to decision making.

Many boards still see cybersecurity as a purely technical issue. What strategies can they employ to understand and acknowledge the broader organizational and strategic implications of cybersecurity?

For boards to better understand and acknowledge the broader organizational and strategic implications of cybersecurity, there needs to be a shift in how cyber-risk is viewed and approached. Boards can start by overcoming the common CISO-board disconnect that exists, developing a direct and strategic relationship with the CISO that continues outside of board meetings. Boards should also allocate more of their time to the topic of cybersecurity and allow the CISO to communicate risk to the board beyond just a handful of quarterly slides. Cybersecurity expertise also needs to be a part of a board’s composition, by including directors with a blend of business and cyber experience.

How do you envision the proposed amendments by the SEC changing the way boards approach cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance?

When the proposed amendments by the SEC become a reality, I envision boards putting more attention on cybersecurity issues. The hope is that these changes will lead boards to dedicate more resources, time, and expertise to assessing, managing and mitigating cybersecurity risk before they are impacted by an incident.

I would then expect this to result in boards establishing or enhancing governance structures related to cybersecurity, leading to them defining clear roles and responsibilities for cybersecurity oversight, and ultimately the presence of cybersecurity expertise at the board level. These amendments are also going to encourage boards to integrate cybersecurity considerations into their overall business strategy.

In your view, what concrete steps can board members take to improve their understanding of cybersecurity-induced risks and evaluate plans to manage them effectively?

Boards members should actively educate themselves about cybersecurity, attending training, workshops and conferences on the topic that can help them stay updated on emerging threats and latest trends. Boards should also establish a dedicated cybersecurity committee made up of members with relevant expertise to help assess and oversee cybersecurity initiatives within an organization.

The board should also engage with cybersecurity experts and consultants to gain insights into the specific risks and challenges facing their organization. In addition, boards should require their organizations conduct regular risk assessments, as well as reviewing cybersecurity reports, which will provide an overview of the organization’s cybersecurity posture.

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Tags: CISO, cyber attack risks


Jul 07 2023

Chief Information Security Officer Handbook

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 11:03 am

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Jul 04 2023

What are the Common Security Challenges CISOs Face?

Category: CISO,CISSP,vCISOdisc7 @ 11:23 am

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) hold a critical and challenging role in today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. Here are the common security challenges CISOs face.

As organizations increasingly rely on technology to drive their operations, CISOs face complex security challenges that demand their expertise and strategic decision-making.

These challenges arise from the constant emergence of sophisticated cyber threats, the need to protect sensitive data, and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

The role of a CISO requires balancing proactive risk mitigation with the ability to respond swiftly to incidents and breaches.

This article will delve into the top challenges CISOs face, including protecting digital assets, managing security incidents, ensuring compliance, dealing with insider threats, and the relentless pursuit of cyber resilience.

By understanding these challenges, CISOs can develop robust cybersecurity strategies and lead their organizations toward a secure and resilient future.

Who is a CISO?

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing and administering an organization’s information security plan.

A CISO’s primary responsibility is safeguarding the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of an organization’s information assets and systems.

They are accountable for creating and enforcing strategies, policies, and procedures to defend against cyber threats, protect sensitive data, and mitigate security risks.

CISOs play a crucial role in maintaining an organization‚Äôs security posture by establishing and enforcing security standards, conducting risk assessments, and implementing appropriate security controls.

They collaborate with other executives, IT teams, and stakeholders to align security initiatives with business objectives and ensure that security measures are integrated into the organization’s operations.

In addition to their technical expertise, CISOs often engage in risk management, incident response planning, security awareness training, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

They stay updated on the latest cybersecurity trends, threats, and technologies to address emerging risks and implement appropriate security measures effectively.

The role of a CISO has become increasingly important as cyber threats evolve in complexity and frequency.

CISOs are responsible for safeguarding the organization’s sensitive information, maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders, and ensuring business continuity in the face of cybersecurity challenges.

CISO Guide to Balancing Network Security Risks Offered by Perimeter 81 for free, helps to prevent your network from being at Risk.

What are all the Roles and Responsibilities of CISO?

  1. Developing and Implementing Information Security Strategy: The CISO is responsible for developing and implementing an overarching information security strategy aligned with the organization‚Äôs business objectives. This includes setting security goals, defining security policies and procedures, and establishing risk management frameworks.
  2. Leading the Security Team: The CISO manages and provides leadership to the security team, including hiring, training, and supervising security personnel. They ensure the team has the necessary skills, resources, and support to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
  3. Overseeing Security Operations: The CISO oversees day-to-day security operations, including incident response, vulnerability management, threat intelligence, and security monitoring. They ensure appropriate controls, technologies, and processes are in place to protect the organization‚Äôs assets.
  4. Risk Management: The CISO is responsible for identifying and assessing security risks to the organization‚Äôs information systems and assets. They develop and implement risk management strategies to safeguard critical data and systems, including risk mitigation, transfer, and acceptance.
  5. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: The CISO ensures that the organization complies with relevant security regulations, industry standards, and legal requirements. They stay updated on emerging regulations and ensure appropriate controls and processes are in place to meet compliance obligations.
  6. Security Incident Response: The CISO leads the organization‚Äôs response to security incidents, including data breaches, malware attacks, and other security breaches. They establish incident response plans, coordinate efforts, and collaborate with relevant stakeholders, such as legal, PR, and law enforcement agencies.
  7. Security Awareness and Training: The CISO promotes a culture of security awareness throughout the organization. They develop and deliver security awareness programs and training initiatives to educate employees on security best practices and minimize human-related security risks.
  8. Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management: The CISO assesses and manages security risks associated with third-party vendors and partners. They establish vendor security requirements, conduct due diligence, and monitor compliance with security standards and contractual obligations.
  9. Security Governance and Reporting: The CISO provides regular reports and updates on the organization‚Äôs security posture to executive management, board members, and other relevant stakeholders. They ensure that security metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are established to measure the effectiveness of security programs.
  10. Incident Investigation and Forensics: In the event of security incidents, the CISO oversees the investigation and forensic analysis to identify the root cause, assess the impact, and prevent future occurrences. As required, they collaborate with internal and external resources, such as forensic experts and law enforcement agencies.

Security Challenges CISOs Face

CISOs face various common security challenges as they strive to protect their organizations‚Äô digital assets and information. Perimeter 81 Guide helps CISOs to prevent their network from being at Risk. Some of the key challenges they encounter include:

  • Sophisticated Cyberattacks: CISOs must defend against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, including advanced persistent threats (APTs), ransomware attacks, social engineering, and zero-day exploits. These attacks can bypass traditional security measures and require constant vigilance and adaptive security strategies.
  • Insider Threats: CISOs need to address the risks posed by insiders, including employees, contractors, or partners who have authorized access to systems and data. Insider threats can involve accidental data breaches, negligence, or malicious intent, requiring a balance between enabling productivity and implementing controls to prevent unauthorized access or data leakage.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: CISOs must ensure their organizations comply with industry-specific regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or SOX, and evolving privacy laws. Navigating complex compliance requirements and maintaining a robust security posture to meet these standards can be a significant challenge.
  • Cloud Security: As organizations increasingly adopt cloud services and infrastructure, CISOs must address the unique security challenges associated with cloud computing. This includes securing data stored in the cloud, managing access controls, and ensuring the security of cloud service providers (CSPs) and their environments.
  • Security Skills Gap: CISOs often need more skilled cybersecurity professionals. The industry‚Äôs rapid growth and evolving threat landscape have resulted in high demand for cybersecurity talent, making recruiting and retaining qualified professionals challenging.
  • Third-Party Risk: Organizations rely on third-party vendors and suppliers, introducing potential security risks. CISOs must assess the security posture of third parties, establish contractual security obligations, and monitor their adherence to security standards to mitigate the risk of breaches through these external connections.
  • Security Awareness and Training: Human error remains a significant factor in cybersecurity incidents. CISOs must promote a strong security culture, provide regular training and awareness programs, and educate employees about cybersecurity best practices to minimize the risk of social engineering, phishing attacks, and other user-related vulnerabilities.
  • Incident Response and Recovery: CISOs must develop and test robust incident response plans to manage and recover from security incidents effectively. This involves identifying and containing breaches, conducting forensic investigations, and implementing remediation measures to minimize the impact and prevent future incidents.
  • Emerging Technologies: Adopting technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain introduces new security challenges. CISOs must understand the security implications of these technologies, assess risks, and implement appropriate controls to protect against potential vulnerabilities and attacks.
  • Budget and Resource Constraints: CISOs often face budget limitations and the need to prioritize security initiatives. Balancing the allocation of resources to address immediate security needs while investing in long-term security capabilities can be a significant challenge.

What are the Security Compliance CISO Should Follow

As a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), there are several security compliance frameworks and regulations that you should consider following, depending on the nature of your organization and its operations. Here are some of the key security compliance frameworks and regulations:

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): If your organization deals with the personal data of individuals in the European Union (EU), GDPR sets requirements for the protection, processing, and transfer of personal data. It includes principles for data minimization, consent, data breach notification, and the rights of individuals.
  2. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): PCI DSS applies to organizations that handle credit card information. It sets requirements for securing payment card data, including network security, encryption, access controls, and regular vulnerability assessments.
  3. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA applies to organizations in the healthcare industry that handle protected health information (PHI). It establishes requirements for the privacy and security of PHI, including access controls, encryption, risk assessments, and breach notification.
  4. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): SOX applies to publicly traded companies in the United States. It sets requirements for financial reporting and establishes controls and processes to ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial statements. While not solely focused on security, it includes provisions for protecting financial data.
  5. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework: The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidelines and best practices for managing cybersecurity risks. It covers risk assessment, security controls, incident response, and continuous monitoring.
  6. ISO 27001: ISO 27001 is an international standard that provides a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). It covers various aspects of information security, including risk management, access controls, incident management, and security awareness.
  7. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): FISMA applies to U.S. federal agencies and sets requirements for securing federal information and systems. It mandates risk assessments, security controls, incident response planning, and continuous monitoring.

Security Challenges CISOs Face to Manage Security Team

Managing a security team as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) requires effective leadership, communication, and coordination. Here are some key aspects to consider when managing a security team:

  1. Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member to ensure everyone understands their specific duties and areas of expertise. This clarity helps streamline operations and avoid confusion.
  2. Set Goals and Objectives: Define strategic goals and objectives for the security team aligned with the organization‚Äôs overall security strategy. Communicate these goals to the team and regularly track progress to ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  3. Provide Guidance and Mentorship: Offer team members guidance, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Encourage skill development, certifications, and staying up-to-date with the latest security trends and technologies‚ÄĒsupport team members in their career growth.
  4. Foster Collaboration and Communication: Promote a collaborative and open communication culture within the team. Encourage knowledge sharing, cross-functional collaboration, and effective communication channels. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and updates are valuable for aligning efforts.
  5. Support Decision-Making: Empower team members to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. Provide guidance and support when needed, but encourage autonomy and ownership in decision-making. Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable taking calculated risks.
  6. Establish Incident Response Procedures: Develop clear incident response procedures and ensure the team is well-prepared to handle security incidents effectively. Conduct regular drills, tabletop exercises, and simulations to test and improve the team‚Äôs incident response capabilities.
  7. Stay Informed and Adapt: Stay up-to-date with the latest security threats, industry trends, and best practices. Encourage continuous learning and professional development for the team. Adapt security strategies and measures as the threat landscape evolves.
  8. Collaborate with Other Departments: Work closely with other departments, such as IT, legal, HR, and executive management, to ensure security initiatives are aligned with business objectives and integrated into overall organizational operations. Build relationships and foster a culture of security awareness throughout the organization.
  9. Regularly Evaluate and Improve: Regularly evaluate the team‚Äôs performance, processes, and procedures. Collect feedback from team members and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement. Implement changes and adjustments as necessary to enhance the team‚Äôs effectiveness and efficiency.
  10. Lead by Example: Demonstrate strong leadership skills, integrity, and a commitment to security best practices. Lead by example in adhering to security policies and procedures. Encourage a positive and supportive work environment.

Final Thoughts 

CISOs face many common security challenges as protectors of their organization’s digital assets and information.

From sophisticated cyberattacks and insider threats to compliance requirements and resource constraints, these challenges highlight the complex and evolving nature of the cybersecurity landscape.

CISOs must navigate these challenges by adopting a proactive and strategic approach to security, leveraging advanced technologies, fostering a strong security culture, and collaborating with stakeholders.

To overcome these challenges, CISOs must stay abreast of emerging threats, continuously evaluate and improve their security measures, and prioritize investments in critical security capabilities.

They must also foster strong partnerships with internal teams, third-party vendors, and industry peers to collectively address security challenges and share best practices.

While the security challenges CISOs face may seem daunting, they also present opportunities for innovation and growth.

By effectively addressing these challenges, CISOs can enhance their organizations’ security posture, safeguard critical assets, and instill confidence in customers and stakeholders.

Ultimately, the role of a CISO requires a comprehensive and adaptable approach to cybersecurity, where staying one step ahead of threats and continuously improving security measures are paramount.

By embracing these challenges, CISOs can help shape a secure and resilient future for their organizations in an increasingly interconnected and threat-filled digital landscape.

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Tags: CISO


Jun 05 2023

What are the Common Security Challenges CISOs Face?

Category: CISO,vCISOdisc7 @ 2:18 pm

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) hold a critical and challenging role in today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. Here are the common security challenges CISOs face.

As organizations increasingly rely on technology to drive their operations, CISOs face complex security challenges that demand their expertise and strategic decision-making.

These challenges arise from the constant emergence of sophisticated cyber threats, the need to protect sensitive data, and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

The role of a CISO requires balancing proactive risk mitigation with the ability to respond swiftly to incidents and breaches.

This article will delve into the top challenges CISOs face, including protecting digital assets, managing security incidents, ensuring compliance, dealing with insider threats, and the relentless pursuit of cyber resilience.

By understanding these challenges, CISOs can develop robust cybersecurity strategies and lead their organizations toward a secure and resilient future.

Who is a CISO?

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing and administering an organization’s information security plan.

A CISO’s primary responsibility is safeguarding the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of an organization’s information assets and systems.

They are accountable for creating and enforcing strategies, policies, and procedures to defend against cyber threats, protect sensitive data, and mitigate security risks.

CISOs play a crucial role in maintaining an organization‚Äôs security posture by establishing and enforcing security standards, conducting risk assessments, and implementing appropriate security controls.

They collaborate with other executives, IT teams, and stakeholders to align security initiatives with business objectives and ensure that security measures are integrated into the organization’s operations.

In addition to their technical expertise, CISOs often engage in risk management, incident response planning, security awareness training, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

They stay updated on the latest cybersecurity trends, threats, and technologies to address emerging risks and implement appropriate security measures effectively.

The role of a CISO has become increasingly important as cyber threats evolve in complexity and frequency.

CISOs are responsible for safeguarding the organization’s sensitive information, maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders, and ensuring business continuity in the face of cybersecurity challenges.

What are all the Roles and Responsibilities of CISO?

  1. Developing and Implementing Information Security Strategy: The CISO is responsible for developing and implementing an overarching information security strategy aligned with the organization‚Äôs business objectives. This includes setting security goals, defining security policies and procedures, and establishing risk management frameworks.
  2. Leading the Security Team: The CISO manages and provides leadership to the security team, including hiring, training, and supervising security personnel. They ensure the team has the necessary skills, resources, and support to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
  3. Overseeing Security Operations: The CISO oversees day-to-day security operations, including incident response, vulnerability management, threat intelligence, and security monitoring. They ensure appropriate controls, technologies, and processes are in place to protect the organization‚Äôs assets.
  4. Risk Management: The CISO is responsible for identifying and assessing security risks to the organization‚Äôs information systems and assets. They develop and implement risk management strategies to safeguard critical data and systems, including risk mitigation, transfer, and acceptance.
  5. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: The CISO ensures that the organization complies with relevant security regulations, industry standards, and legal requirements. They stay updated on emerging regulations and ensure appropriate controls and processes are in place to meet compliance obligations.
  6. Security Incident Response: The CISO leads the organization‚Äôs response to security incidents, including data breaches, malware attacks, and other security breaches. They establish incident response plans, coordinate efforts, and collaborate with relevant stakeholders, such as legal, PR, and law enforcement agencies.
  7. Security Awareness and Training: The CISO promotes a culture of security awareness throughout the organization. They develop and deliver security awareness programs and training initiatives to educate employees on security best practices and minimize human-related security risks.
  8. Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management: The CISO assesses and manages security risks associated with third-party vendors and partners. They establish vendor security requirements, conduct due diligence, and monitor compliance with security standards and contractual obligations.
  9. Security Governance and Reporting: The CISO provides regular reports and updates on the organization‚Äôs security posture to executive management, board members, and other relevant stakeholders. They ensure that security metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are established to measure the effectiveness of security programs.
  10. Incident Investigation and Forensics: In the event of security incidents, the CISO oversees the investigation and forensic analysis to identify the root cause, assess the impact, and prevent future occurrences. As required, they collaborate with internal and external resources, such as forensic experts and law enforcement agencies.

Security Challenges CISOs Face

CISOs face various common security challenges as they strive to protect their organizations‚Äô digital assets and information. Perimeter 81 Guide helps CISOs to prevent their network from being at Risk. Some of the key challenges they encounter include:

  • Sophisticated Cyberattacks: CISOs must defend against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, including advanced persistent threats (APTs), ransomware attacks, social engineering, and zero-day exploits. These attacks can bypass traditional security measures and require constant vigilance and adaptive security strategies.
  • Insider Threats: CISOs need to address the risks posed by insiders, including employees, contractors, or partners who have authorized access to systems and data. Insider threats can involve accidental data breaches, negligence, or malicious intent, requiring a balance between enabling productivity and implementing controls to prevent unauthorized access or data leakage.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: CISOs must ensure their organizations comply with industry-specific regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or SOX, and evolving privacy laws. Navigating complex compliance requirements and maintaining a robust security posture to meet these standards can be a significant challenge.
  • Cloud Security: As organizations increasingly adopt cloud services and infrastructure, CISOs must address the unique security challenges associated with cloud computing. This includes securing data stored in the cloud, managing access controls, and ensuring the security of cloud service providers (CSPs) and their environments.
  • Security Skills Gap: CISOs often need more skilled cybersecurity professionals. The industry‚Äôs rapid growth and evolving threat landscape have resulted in high demand for cybersecurity talent, making recruiting and retaining qualified professionals challenging.
  • Third-Party Risk: Organizations rely on third-party vendors and suppliers, introducing potential security risks. CISOs must assess the security posture of third parties, establish contractual security obligations, and monitor their adherence to security standards to mitigate the risk of breaches through these external connections.
  • Security Awareness and Training: Human error remains a significant factor in cybersecurity incidents. CISOs must promote a strong security culture, provide regular training and awareness programs, and educate employees about cybersecurity best practices to minimize the risk of social engineering, phishing attacks, and other user-related vulnerabilities.
  • Incident Response and Recovery: CISOs must develop and test robust incident response plans to manage and recover from security incidents effectively. This involves identifying and containing breaches, conducting forensic investigations, and implementing remediation measures to minimize the impact and prevent future incidents.
  • Emerging Technologies: Adopting technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain introduces new security challenges. CISOs must understand the security implications of these technologies, assess risks, and implement appropriate controls to protect against potential vulnerabilities and attacks.
  • Budget and Resource Constraints: CISOs often face budget limitations and the need to prioritize security initiatives. Balancing the allocation of resources to address immediate security needs while investing in long-term security capabilities can be a significant challenge.

What are the Security Compliance CISO Should Follow

As a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), there are several security compliance frameworks and regulations that you should consider following, depending on the nature of your organization and its operations. Here are some of the key security compliance frameworks and regulations:

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): If your organization deals with the personal data of individuals in the European Union (EU), GDPR sets requirements for the protection, processing, and transfer of personal data. It includes principles for data minimization, consent, data breach notification, and the rights of individuals.
  2. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): PCI DSS applies to organizations that handle credit card information. It sets requirements for securing payment card data, including network security, encryption, access controls, and regular vulnerability assessments.
  3. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA applies to organizations in the healthcare industry that handle protected health information (PHI). It establishes requirements for the privacy and security of PHI, including access controls, encryption, risk assessments, and breach notification.
  4. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): SOX applies to publicly traded companies in the United States. It sets requirements for financial reporting and establishes controls and processes to ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial statements. While not solely focused on security, it includes provisions for protecting financial data.
  5. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework: The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidelines and best practices for managing cybersecurity risks. It covers risk assessment, security controls, incident response, and continuous monitoring.
  6. ISO 27001: ISO 27001 is an international standard that provides a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). It covers various aspects of information security, including risk management, access controls, incident management, and security awareness.
  7. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): FISMA applies to U.S. federal agencies and sets requirements for securing federal information and systems. It mandates risk assessments, security controls, incident response planning, and continuous monitoring.

Security Challenges CISOs Face to Manage Security Team

Managing a security team as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) requires effective leadership, communication, and coordination. Here are some key aspects to consider when managing a security team:

  1. Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member to ensure everyone understands their specific duties and areas of expertise. This clarity helps streamline operations and avoid confusion.
  2. Set Goals and Objectives: Define strategic goals and objectives for the security team aligned with the organization‚Äôs overall security strategy. Communicate these goals to the team and regularly track progress to ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  3. Provide Guidance and Mentorship: Offer team members guidance, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Encourage skill development, certifications, and staying up-to-date with the latest security trends and technologies‚ÄĒsupport team members in their career growth.
  4. Foster Collaboration and Communication: Promote a collaborative and open communication culture within the team. Encourage knowledge sharing, cross-functional collaboration, and effective communication channels. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and updates are valuable for aligning efforts.
  5. Support Decision-Making: Empower team members to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. Provide guidance and support when needed, but encourage autonomy and ownership in decision-making. Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable taking calculated risks.
  6. Establish Incident Response Procedures: Develop clear incident response procedures and ensure the team is well-prepared to handle security incidents effectively. Conduct regular drills, tabletop exercises, and simulations to test and improve the team‚Äôs incident response capabilities.
  7. Stay Informed and Adapt: Stay up-to-date with the latest security threats, industry trends, and best practices. Encourage continuous learning and professional development for the team. Adapt security strategies and measures as the threat landscape evolves.
  8. Collaborate with Other Departments: Work closely with other departments, such as IT, legal, HR, and executive management, to ensure security initiatives are aligned with business objectives and integrated into overall organizational operations. Build relationships and foster a culture of security awareness throughout the organization.
  9. Regularly Evaluate and Improve: Regularly evaluate the team‚Äôs performance, processes, and procedures. Collect feedback from team members and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement. Implement changes and adjustments as necessary to enhance the team‚Äôs effectiveness and efficiency.
  10. Lead by Example: Demonstrate strong leadership skills, integrity, and a commitment to security best practices. Lead by example in adhering to security policies and procedures. Encourage a positive and supportive work environment.

Final Thoughts 

CISOs face many common security challenges as protectors of their organization’s digital assets and information.

From sophisticated cyberattacks and insider threats to compliance requirements and resource constraints, these challenges highlight the complex and evolving nature of the cybersecurity landscape.

CISOs must navigate these challenges by adopting a proactive and strategic approach to security, leveraging advanced technologies, fostering a strong security culture, and collaborating with stakeholders.

To overcome these challenges, CISOs must stay abreast of emerging threats, continuously evaluate and improve their security measures, and prioritize investments in critical security capabilities.

They must also foster strong partnerships with internal teams, third-party vendors, and industry peers to collectively address security challenges and share best practices.

While the security challenges CISOs face may seem daunting, they also present opportunities for innovation and growth.

By effectively addressing these challenges, CISOs can enhance their organizations’ security posture, safeguard critical assets, and instill confidence in customers and stakeholders.

Ultimately, the role of a CISO requires a comprehensive and adaptable approach to cybersecurity, where staying one step ahead of threats and continuously improving security measures are paramount.

By embracing these challenges, CISOs can help shape a secure and resilient future for their organizations in an increasingly interconnected and threat-filled digital landscape.

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Tags: CISO


May 27 2023

CISO-level tips for securing corporate data in the cloud

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 10:45 am

The presence of each third-party application increases the potential for attacks, particularly when end users install them without proper oversight or approval. IT security teams face challenges in obtaining comprehensive knowledge about the apps connected to their corporate SaaS platforms, including their permissions and activities.

In this Help Net Security video, Matt Radolec, Senior Director, Incident Response and Cloud Operations at Varonis, offers advice for CISO-level executives to enhance the security of corporate cloud data.

In what situations would a vCISO Service be appropriate?

Previous DISC InfoSec posts on CISO

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Tags: CISO


May 25 2023

What are the Common Security Challenges CISOs Face?

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 3:34 pm

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) hold a critical and challenging role in today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. Here are the common security challenges CISOs face.

As organizations increasingly rely on technology to drive their operations, CISOs face complex security challenges that demand their expertise and strategic decision-making.

These challenges arise from the constant emergence of sophisticated cyber threats, the need to protect sensitive data, and the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

The role of a CISO requires balancing proactive risk mitigation with the ability to respond swiftly to incidents and breaches.

This article will delve into the top challenges CISOs face, including protecting digital assets, managing security incidents, ensuring compliance, dealing with insider threats, and the relentless pursuit of cyber resilience.

By understanding these challenges, CISOs can develop robust cybersecurity strategies and lead their organizations toward a secure and resilient future.

Who is a CISO?

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing and administering an organization’s information security plan.

A CISO’s primary responsibility is safeguarding the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of an organization’s information assets and systems.

They are accountable for creating and enforcing strategies, policies, and procedures to defend against cyber threats, protect sensitive data, and mitigate security risks.

CISOs play a crucial role in maintaining an organization‚Äôs security posture by establishing and enforcing security standards, conducting risk assessments, and implementing appropriate security controls.

They collaborate with other executives, IT teams, and stakeholders to align security initiatives with business objectives and ensure that security measures are integrated into the organization’s operations.

In addition to their technical expertise, CISOs often engage in risk management, incident response planning, security awareness training, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

They stay updated on the latest cybersecurity trends, threats, and technologies to address emerging risks and implement appropriate security measures effectively.

The role of a CISO has become increasingly important as cyber threats evolve in complexity and frequency.

CISOs are responsible for safeguarding the organization’s sensitive information, maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders, and ensuring business continuity in the face of cybersecurity challenges.

CISO Guide to Balancing Network Security Risks Offered by Perimeter 81 for free, helps to prevent your network from being at Risk.

What are all the Roles and Responsibilities of CISO?

  1. Developing and Implementing Information Security Strategy: The CISO is responsible for developing and implementing an overarching information security strategy aligned with the organization‚Äôs business objectives. This includes setting security goals, defining security policies and procedures, and establishing risk management frameworks.
  2. Leading the Security Team: The CISO manages and provides leadership to the security team, including hiring, training, and supervising security personnel. They ensure the team has the necessary skills, resources, and support to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
  3. Overseeing Security Operations: The CISO oversees day-to-day security operations, including incident response, vulnerability management, threat intelligence, and security monitoring. They ensure appropriate controls, technologies, and processes are in place to protect the organization‚Äôs assets.
  4. Risk Management: The CISO is responsible for identifying and assessing security risks to the organization‚Äôs information systems and assets. They develop and implement risk management strategies to safeguard critical data and systems, including risk mitigation, transfer, and acceptance.
  5. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: The CISO ensures that the organization complies with relevant security regulations, industry standards, and legal requirements. They stay updated on emerging regulations and ensure appropriate controls and processes are in place to meet compliance obligations.
  6. Security Incident Response: The CISO leads the organization‚Äôs response to security incidents, including data breaches, malware attacks, and other security breaches. They establish incident response plans, coordinate efforts, and collaborate with relevant stakeholders, such as legal, PR, and law enforcement agencies.
  7. Security Awareness and Training: The CISO promotes a culture of security awareness throughout the organization. They develop and deliver security awareness programs and training initiatives to educate employees on security best practices and minimize human-related security risks.
  8. Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management: The CISO assesses and manages security risks associated with third-party vendors and partners. They establish vendor security requirements, conduct due diligence, and monitor compliance with security standards and contractual obligations.
  9. Security Governance and Reporting: The CISO provides regular reports and updates on the organization‚Äôs security posture to executive management, board members, and other relevant stakeholders. They ensure that security metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are established to measure the effectiveness of security programs.
  10. Incident Investigation and Forensics: In the event of security incidents, the CISO oversees the investigation and forensic analysis to identify the root cause, assess the impact, and prevent future occurrences. As required, they collaborate with internal and external resources, such as forensic experts and law enforcement agencies.

Security Challenges CISOs Face

CISOs face various common security challenges as they strive to protect their organizations‚Äô digital assets and information. Perimeter 81 Guide helps CISOs to prevent their network from being at Risk. Some of the key challenges they encounter include:

  • Sophisticated Cyberattacks: CISOs must defend against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, including advanced persistent threats (APTs), ransomware attacks, social engineering, and zero-day exploits. These attacks can bypass traditional security measures and require constant vigilance and adaptive security strategies.
  • Insider Threats: CISOs need to address the risks posed by insiders, including employees, contractors, or partners who have authorized access to systems and data. Insider threats can involve accidental data breaches, negligence, or malicious intent, requiring a balance between enabling productivity and implementing controls to prevent unauthorized access or data leakage.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: CISOs must ensure their organizations comply with industry-specific regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or SOX, and evolving privacy laws. Navigating complex compliance requirements and maintaining a robust security posture to meet these standards can be a significant challenge.
  • Cloud Security: As organizations increasingly adopt cloud services and infrastructure, CISOs must address the unique security challenges associated with cloud computing. This includes securing data stored in the cloud, managing access controls, and ensuring the security of cloud service providers (CSPs) and their environments.
  • Security Skills Gap: CISOs often need more skilled cybersecurity professionals. The industry‚Äôs rapid growth and evolving threat landscape have resulted in high demand for cybersecurity talent, making recruiting and retaining qualified professionals challenging.
  • Third-Party Risk: Organizations rely on third-party vendors and suppliers, introducing potential security risks. CISOs must assess the security posture of third parties, establish contractual security obligations, and monitor their adherence to security standards to mitigate the risk of breaches through these external connections.
  • Security Awareness and Training: Human error remains a significant factor in cybersecurity incidents. CISOs must promote a strong security culture, provide regular training and awareness programs, and educate employees about cybersecurity best practices to minimize the risk of social engineering, phishing attacks, and other user-related vulnerabilities.
  • Incident Response and Recovery: CISOs must develop and test robust incident response plans to manage and recover from security incidents effectively. This involves identifying and containing breaches, conducting forensic investigations, and implementing remediation measures to minimize the impact and prevent future incidents.
  • Emerging Technologies: Adopting technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain introduces new security challenges. CISOs must understand the security implications of these technologies, assess risks, and implement appropriate controls to protect against potential vulnerabilities and attacks.
  • Budget and Resource Constraints: CISOs often face budget limitations and the need to prioritize security initiatives. Balancing the allocation of resources to address immediate security needs while investing in long-term security capabilities can be a significant challenge.

What are the Security Compliance CISO Should Follow

As a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), there are several security compliance frameworks and regulations that you should consider following, depending on the nature of your organization and its operations. Here are some of the key security compliance frameworks and regulations:

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): If your organization deals with the personal data of individuals in the European Union (EU), GDPR sets requirements for the protection, processing, and transfer of personal data. It includes principles for data minimization, consent, data breach notification, and the rights of individuals.
  2. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): PCI DSS applies to organizations that handle credit card information. It sets requirements for securing payment card data, including network security, encryption, access controls, and regular vulnerability assessments.
  3. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA applies to organizations in the healthcare industry that handle protected health information (PHI). It establishes requirements for the privacy and security of PHI, including access controls, encryption, risk assessments, and breach notification.
  4. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): SOX applies to publicly traded companies in the United States. It sets requirements for financial reporting and establishes controls and processes to ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial statements. While not solely focused on security, it includes provisions for protecting financial data.
  5. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework: The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides guidelines and best practices for managing cybersecurity risks. It covers risk assessment, security controls, incident response, and continuous monitoring.
  6. ISO 27001: ISO 27001 is an international standard that provides a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). It covers various aspects of information security, including risk management, access controls, incident management, and security awareness.
  7. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA): FISMA applies to U.S. federal agencies and sets requirements for securing federal information and systems. It mandates risk assessments, security controls, incident response planning, and continuous monitoring.

Security Challenges CISOs Face to Manage Security Team

Managing a security team as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) requires effective leadership, communication, and coordination. Here are some key aspects to consider when managing a security team:

  1. Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member to ensure everyone understands their specific duties and areas of expertise. This clarity helps streamline operations and avoid confusion.
  2. Set Goals and Objectives: Define strategic goals and objectives for the security team aligned with the organization‚Äôs overall security strategy. Communicate these goals to the team and regularly track progress to ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives.
  3. Provide Guidance and Mentorship: Offer team members guidance, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Encourage skill development, certifications, and staying up-to-date with the latest security trends and technologies‚ÄĒsupport team members in their career growth.
  4. Foster Collaboration and Communication: Promote a collaborative and open communication culture within the team. Encourage knowledge sharing, cross-functional collaboration, and effective communication channels. Regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and updates are valuable for aligning efforts.
  5. Support Decision-Making: Empower team members to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. Provide guidance and support when needed, but encourage autonomy and ownership in decision-making. Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable taking calculated risks.
  6. Establish Incident Response Procedures: Develop clear incident response procedures and ensure the team is well-prepared to handle security incidents effectively. Conduct regular drills, tabletop exercises, and simulations to test and improve the team‚Äôs incident response capabilities.
  7. Stay Informed and Adapt: Stay up-to-date with the latest security threats, industry trends, and best practices. Encourage continuous learning and professional development for the team. Adapt security strategies and measures as the threat landscape evolves.
  8. Collaborate with Other Departments: Work closely with other departments, such as IT, legal, HR, and executive management, to ensure security initiatives are aligned with business objectives and integrated into overall organizational operations. Build relationships and foster a culture of security awareness throughout the organization.
  9. Regularly Evaluate and Improve: Regularly evaluate the team‚Äôs performance, processes, and procedures. Collect feedback from team members and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement. Implement changes and adjustments as necessary to enhance the team‚Äôs effectiveness and efficiency.
  10. Lead by Example: Demonstrate strong leadership skills, integrity, and a commitment to security best practices. Lead by example in adhering to security policies and procedures. Encourage a positive and supportive work environment.

Final Thoughts 

CISOs face many common security challenges as protectors of their organization’s digital assets and information.

From sophisticated cyberattacks and insider threats to compliance requirements and resource constraints, these challenges highlight the complex and evolving nature of the cybersecurity landscape.

CISOs must navigate these challenges by adopting a proactive and strategic approach to security, leveraging advanced technologies, fostering a strong security culture, and collaborating with stakeholders.

To overcome these challenges, CISOs must stay abreast of emerging threats, continuously evaluate and improve their security measures, and prioritize investments in critical security capabilities.

They must also foster strong partnerships with internal teams, third-party vendors, and industry peers to collectively address security challenges and share best practices.

While the security challenges CISOs face may seem daunting, they also present opportunities for innovation and growth.

By effectively addressing these challenges, CISOs can enhance their organizations’ security posture, safeguard critical assets, and instill confidence in customers and stakeholders.

Ultimately, the role of a CISO requires a comprehensive and adaptable approach to cybersecurity, where staying one step ahead of threats and continuously improving security measures are paramount.

By embracing these challenges, CISOs can help shape a secure and resilient future for their organizations in an increasingly interconnected and threat-filled digital landscape.


In what situations would a vCISO Service be appropriate?

Previous DISC InfoSec posts on CISO

InfoSec tools | InfoSec services | InfoSec books

Tags: CISO, vCISO


Mar 18 2023

How CISOs Can Work With the CFO to Get the Best Security Budget

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 11:02 am

CISOs can and should push back when they’re presented with budget costs that affect the business. Here’s how.

The CISO challenge of budgeting ‚Äď Intelligent CISO

Today’s enterprise security executives face situations that could really hurt the company’s bottom line. Security teams are trying to modernize security operations in an increasingly porous network environment with ever more sophisticated threats. There are also economic pressures from layoffs, budget cuts, and restructuring.

Even worse, CFOs have heard from CISOs the doom-and-gloom predictions of the potential fiscal disaster of data breaches so often that it’s no longer resonating with them.

The doomer scenario is not hypothetical ‚ÄĒ global compliance requirements and privacy regulations drive the cost of a breach even higher than just the technical costs. However, CFOs and other C-level executives have heard these warnings so often now that it’s just background information that doesn’t drive their decision making.

Is there a more effective way to help the CFO understand why security needs to be far better funded? Yes: Present the CFO with a shared-risk scenario.

Setting Protection Priorities

Allan Alford, who was a CISO in various industries including technology, communications, and business services before morphing into a CISO consultant, says CISOs should use a different approach to describe cybersecurity issues to the CFO. They should begin by asking the CFO to identify the six most important strategic elements of the business ‚ÄĒ possibly including the supply chain, manufacturing operations, sensitive future product plans, etc. ‚ÄĒ then detail their plans for protecting each of those critical areas, Alford says.

The CISO can present the situation to the CFO in the following manner: “Thanks for sharing those priorities. Now, you are saying we need to cut the security budget by 37%. Given the state of the economy in our sectors, that is completely understandable. To make the cuts possible, can you tell me which of these six areas I should stop protecting? We will also need to bring in the line-of-business executive so that you can explain how these changes will impact that area.”

Historically, CISOs, CSOs, CROs, and other security-adjacent executives have been good soldiers, accepting the CFO-ordered cuts and deciding where changes have to be made, Alford says. This conflicts with the CISO’s job: to protect the company ‚ÄĒ including all intellectual property and all assets.

If the CFO decides to cut back security funding, they need to work with the COO, the CEO, the board, and other senior executives to decide which operations they can afford to not protect. It should not be left to the CISO to make those calls or defend the choices.

In fairness, the decision is rarely black-and-white. But if the CISO positions the budget decisions in this manner, the CFO will see the actual business impact the reductions would have. When the CFO is forced to decide where the cuts will happen and to choose which top-priority division is left undefended, the conversation shifts, Alford says. The CISO can say to the CFO, “We’ll jointly figure out what risks are tolerable, but make no mistake: A 37% cut will put various units at extreme risk. Can the business afford that deep a cut in our defenses?”

The CISO can present cost-effective alternatives to reduce security defenses, rather than eliminating them entirely. Now there is the possibility of negotiating a smaller budget cut. Maybe that 37% cut becomes a 23% cut.

Negotiating as a Group

The conversation shouldn’t begin and end with the CFO, says Daniel Wallance, an associate partner with McKinsey. It should involve the board’s risk committee, the CEO, the COO, and other colleagues who have a role in security spending, such as the CIO and the CRO.

“There is also spend coming from risk management [and] compliance on top of IT. I would engage those functions, as they have shared [security] responsibility and they may actually have dedicated resources,” Wallance says. “I need this to not be a one-on-one conversation. I want to make it a group.”

These conversations with other security executives should happen before and after the CFO meeting, but not during.

The CISO needs to meet with the other security players before meeting with the CFO to learn what overlaps and redundancies currently exist. The CISO also needs to know how much budget flexibility those other executives are willing to offer. That will be crucial information to have while working with the CFO. After meeting with the CFO, the CISO can go back to the other executives and see what they can negotiate as a group.

The actual CISO-CFO meeting should be just the two executives, to avoid making the CFO feel ganged up on. The discussion should be as friendly as possible to allow for reasonable compromises.

Involving the board’s risk committee is critical, as it is ultimately the board’s role ‚ÄĒ working with the CEO ‚ÄĒ to dictate the company’s risk tolerance. If the CFO’s requested budget reductions conflict with that risk tolerance, the board needs to know about it.

“The CISO should be meeting with the risk committee regularly,” Wallance says. “The business may not understand the implications of the budget cut. The CFO is not the only person at issue here.”

Adapting to Market Conditions

Larger trends in the economy also affect CISO budgetary needs.

There is a realistic existential threat to cyber insurance, the net that CFOs have relied on for more than 20 years. Lloyds of London said that it would stop covering the losses from state actor attacks, which is problematic given how difficult it is to prove an attack’s origin and who funded it. Insurance giant Zurich warned it might abandon cyber insurance entirely. And an Ohio Supreme Court decision raised the prospect of other cyber insurance limitations. Those changes could sharply increase the pressure on the CFO to better fund security, given that the enterprise will now be on the hook for the full amount of damages.

A complicating factor is the much-ballyhooed cybersecurity talent shortage. Whether the gap is as big as some say, it’s true that the cost of talent today is higher than what most budgets allow. So, yes, you will have difficulty finding qualified people, but increase the salary enough and, poof ‚ÄĒ no more talent shortage.

Richard Haag, the VP for compliance services at consulting firm Intersec Worldwide Inc., maintained that the difficulty in acquiring sufficiently experienced talent is a powerful argument in those CFO discussions.

“[I]n security, labor is about the only thing that can possibly be cut. You can’t just swap out firewalls. These agreements are locked in,” Haag says. “You need to say ‘I can barely protect your top strategic areas now. With the cuts you want, I simply won’t be able to defend your top targets and certainly not your not-so-top targets. I need more people, certainly not fewer people.'”

Alford also suggests the CISO point out how they negotiate lower vendor costs. Document it and share it with the CFO to demonstrate that the budget is being spent wisely.

“Demonstrate your efficiencies by driving vendor discounts as low as you can get them to go. CFOs want to know the money is being well spent, and ‘we got a heck of a deal’ does that well,” Alford says.

Finally, the CISO can also make the case for better security delivering more revenue. Does higher security investment make prospective customers more comfortable? Is lack of security making some existing customers leave? For example, if a financial institution chooses to reimburse customers in all fraud situations ‚ÄĒ rather than what most FIs do, which is to only reimburse in some situations ‚ÄĒ it could boast that its customers are better protected against fraud, prompting customers to leave competitors. That move would justify higher cybersecurity spend because of the greater acceptance of fraud costs.

“If you can shorten that sales cycle and prove that security gained more sales, it can be highly persuasive to CFOs: ‘Today, three customers walked away, but tomorrow none will,'” Alford says.

https://www.darkreading.com/edge-articles/how-cisos-can-work-with-the-cfo-to-get-the-best-security-budget

The Business-Minded CISO: How to Organize, Evangelize, and Operate an Enterprise-wide IT Risk Management Program

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Feb 28 2023

CISOs struggle with stress and limited resources

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 1:10 pm

94% of CISOs report being stressed at work, with 65% admitting work-related stress issues are compromising their ability to protect their organization, according to Cynet.

Why CISO struggles with stress:

CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) often face high levels of stress due to the nature of their role. Here are some reasons why CISOs may struggle with stress:

  1. High-stakes responsibility: CISOs are responsible for protecting their organization’s sensitive information and ensuring that the organization’s systems and data are secure from cyber threats. The stakes are high, as a breach could have severe financial, legal, and reputational consequences for the organization. This level of responsibility can create significant stress for CISOs.
  2. Constantly evolving threats: Cyber threats are constantly evolving, which means that CISOs need to stay up-to-date with the latest security trends and technologies. This can be challenging and stressful, as they need to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.
  3. Budget constraints: CISOs often struggle with limited budgets for their security programs, which can create stress as they need to make tough decisions about where to allocate resources and how to prioritize their security efforts.
  4. Talent shortages: There is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, which means that CISOs often struggle to find and retain talented staff. This can create stress as they need to find ways to manage their workload and keep their security programs running effectively.
  5. Balancing business needs and security: CISOs need to balance the needs of the business with the need for security, which can create stress as they need to find ways to enable business initiatives while still maintaining a secure environment.

All of these factors can contribute to the high levels of stress that CISOs often experience. To cope with this stress, CISOs may need to develop strong coping strategies such as seeking support from colleagues, practicing self-care, and prioritizing their workload. Additionally, organizations can help by providing their CISOs with adequate resources and support to help them manage their responsibilities effectively.

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Among the CISOs surveyed, 100% said they needed additional resources to adequately cope with current IT security challenges.

Stress issues

The lack of bandwidth and resources is not only impacting CISOs, but their teams as well. According to the report, 74% say they are losing team members because of work-related stress issues, with 47% of these CISOs having more than one team member exit their role over the last 12 months.

Relentless stress levels are also affecting recruitment efforts with 83% of CISOs admitting they have had to compromise on the staff they hire to fill gaps left by employees who have quit their job. More than a third of the CISOs surveyed said they are either actively looking for or considering a new role.

‚ÄúThe results from our mental health survey are devastating but it‚Äôs not all doom and gloom. Our research found that CISOs know exactly what they need to reduce stress levels: more automated tools to manage repetitive tasks, better training, and the ability to outsource some work responsibilities,‚ÄĚ said Eyal Gruner, CEO, Cynet.

‚ÄúOne of the most eye-opening insights from the report was the fact that more than 50% of the CISOs we surveyed said consolidating multiple security technologies on a single platform would decrease their work-related stress levels,‚ÄĚ Gruner added.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 77% of CISOs believe that their limited bandwidth and lack of resources has led to important security initiatives falling to the wayside, with 79% of these CISOs claiming they have received complaints from board members, colleagues or employees that security tasks are not being handled effectively.
  • 93% of CISOs believe they are spending too much time on tactical tasks instead of performing strategic, high-value work and management responsibilities. Among the CISOs who believe they are overly invested in tactical tasks, more than a quarter report spending their workday almost exclusively on tactical/operational tasks.
  • 84% of CISOs say they have had to cancel a vacation due to an urgent work matter and 64% report they‚Äôve missed a private event because of work fatigue. More than 90% consistently work 40+ hours per week with no break.

The impact of work-related stress on everyday life

The major takeaway from the survey is that CISOs ‚Äď and their teams ‚Äď are suffering from overwhelming amounts of stress and it‚Äôs affecting everything from the security of their company to their day-to-day work routines and, ultimately, their life outside of work.

In fact, 77% of CISOs said that work-related stress was directly impacting their physical health, mental health, and sleep patterns.

The company surveyed chief information security officers (CISO) at small to midsize businesses with security teams of five employees or less to better understand their levels of work-related stress and how their mental health is impacting their work life and personal life.

To find out how you can reverse rising CISO work stress levels and better protect your business, download Cynet’s full report now: 2023 Implications of Stress on CISOs 2023 Survey.

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Jan 19 2023

Former Uber CISO Conviction Affirmed by Trial Court

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 4:01 pm

On January 11, 2023, presiding United States District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco denied the motion of Joe Sullivan, the former CISO of Uber, for a judgment of acquittal. The conviction arose from Sullivan‚Äôs agreement to pay attackers who breached the security of the online ride-sharing service and obtained personal information about thousands of users, drivers and riders. Sullivan, a lawyer and a former federal computer crime prosecutor himself, was convicted in 2022 by a jury of concealing and not reporting the Uber attack and of obstructing a federal investigation into an earlier Uber attack by the Federal Trade Commission by concealing the new breach.

The case centered on the fact that after Sullivan became aware of the breach, he took steps to prevent the breach from being publicly disclosed‚ÄĒnoting that ‚ÄúThis can‚Äôt get out,‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúWe need to keep this tightly controlled.‚ÄĚ Sullivan also told the incident response team that ‚ÄúThis may also play very badly,‚ÄĚ based on previous assertions of lack of adequate security at Uber made by the FTC in a then-ongoing civil investigation of Uber. After the breach was known to Uber, the charges alleged that Sullivan negotiated a nondisclosure agreement with the attackers; under Uber‚Äôs then-existing bug bounty program, the company would pay $100,000 if they promised to execute a document indicating that they ‚ÄúDid not take or store any data during or through [their] research,‚ÄĚ and that they ‚ÄúDelivered to Uber or forensically destroyed all information about and/or analysis of the vulnerabilities,‚ÄĚ the attackers discovered. The nondisclosure agreement provided that the attackers certify that they did not take data that, in fact, they had demonstrably taken.

‚ÄúCorrupt‚ÄĚ Obstruction of an FTC Proceeding

It‚Äôs important to note the crimes Sullivan was convicted of. First, he was convicted of violating 18 USC 1505, which relates to the obstruction of some governmental proceeding. In Sullivan‚Äôs case, the act of obstruction occurred when he did not reveal to the FTC that Uber had suffered a data breach after the completion of the FTC investigation of a previous data breach and when he paid the attacker to ensure that news of the new breach would not leak.

The trial court rejected Sullivan‚Äôs claims that to successfully convict him of obstruction, the government would have to prove that there was some ‚Äúnexus‚ÄĚ or connection between the thing concealed (the new breach) and the proceeding that was obstructed (the investigation of the old breach). The court ruled that no such nexus need have been proven, as long as the jury had evidence that (1) the FTC action was an agency proceeding, (2) Sullivan was aware of the proceeding and that (3) he ‚Äúintentionally endeavored corruptly to influence, obstruct or impede the pending proceeding.‚ÄĚ The court found persuasive the fact that Sullivan knew of (and indeed had testified before) the FTC proceeding, expressed his desire that the new breach be kept secret and had the attackers execute an NDA preventing them from disclosing the breach as evidence of Sullivan‚Äôs corrupt intent to conceal the breach from the FTC.

The trial court also rejected Sullivan’s claims that, to corruptly obstruct a proceeding by not disclosing something, the government would have to establish an actual legal duty to disclose that thing. The FTC was investigating a prior breach. There was no evidence that Uber or Sullivan obstructed or impeded the FTC’s investigation of that breach or concealed evidence related to that breach. However, in the course of deciding what sanction the FTC wanted to impose on Uber for the other breach (and the adequacy of Uber’s overall security program), Sullivan and Uber knew that the FTC would want to know about the new breach (which represented a lapse of security). That’s why Sullivan wanted to conceal it.

There are a lot of problems with this theory. Imagine negotiating a plea agreement for someone who was caught shoplifting. In the course of negotiating the plea, the defense lawyer learns (through a privileged conversation) that the defendant has shoplifted other items from other stores after the incident but was never caught. Is there a duty to tell the prosecution? No. In fact, it would violate privilege to do so. What if you instructed the client to either return the items or pay for them (and some extra) in return for the merchant agreeing to ‚Äúsettle‚ÄĚ the case and not report it to the prosecution? Would that be ‚Äúcorruptly‚ÄĚ obstructing the plea negotiations? What if, in a civil lawsuit, a client answers truthfully that he has never been accused of some relevant wrongdoing? Days after the testimony, the deponent is then accused of that wrongdoing. The testimony was truthful at the time, but certainly, the other side would like to know about the new allegations. Are you required to disclose the new allegations? Can you settle the new charges with an NDA to keep the lawyers from learning about them, or would that constitute an obstruction of a judicial proceeding? Would it matter if the allegations in the new cases had some ‚Äúnexus‚ÄĚ to the one under litigation? Would it matter if the old case had been settled? While the use of the term ‚Äúcorruptly‚ÄĚ in the jury instructions implies a requirement of proof that it was the specific intent of the defendant to do something the law prohibited (or refrain from doing something that the law required), it‚Äôs not clear what Sullivan did that was ‚Äúcorrupt‚ÄĚ if there was no affirmative duty to disclose. Would he still be guilty of obstruction if he did not have the attackers execute an NDA but simply did not tell the FTC of the new breach? And what if the breach were just a vulnerability that was not exploited; certainly something the FTC would want to know. It‚Äôs not clear how far the court and DOJ would extend this concept.

Uber

Misprison of a Felony

The other crime Sullivan was convicted of was ‚Äúmisprison of a felony,‚ÄĚ an archaic common law inchoate crime which punishes anyone with knowledge of the commission of a felony who conceals and does not report the same. The elements of that offense, according to the court, was proof that (1) a federal felony was committed (in this case, ‚Äúintentionally accessing a computer without authorization and thereby obtaining information from a protected computer, or conspiracy to extort money through a threat to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from a protected computer without authorization‚ÄĚ); (2) Sullivan had knowledge of the commission of that felony; (3) Sullivan had knowledge that the conduct was a federal felony; (4) Sullivan failed to notify federal authorities and (5) that he did an affirmative act to conceal the crime. For this offense, there did not have to be a legal duty to disclose the felony, just that there was a felony committed.

Unlike the obstruction statute, the misprision statute requires evidence of concealment. The court held that ‚Äú[t]he $100,000 payment to the hackers and NDA support this, specifically the provision where the hackers promised that they ‚Äėhave not and will not disclose anything about the vulnerabilities‚Äô or their conversations with Uber without written permission.‚ÄĚ

I don‚Äôt doubt that a prime motivation for paying the very high ‚Äúbounty‚ÄĚ to the hackers and having them execute the NDA was to keep quiet the attack and the vulnerabilities that were exploited.

On the other hand, responsible disclosure principles and bug bounty programs themselves often demand secrecy. This would be particularly true for a vulnerability for which no patch existed. Microsoft’s bug bounty program notes:

CONFIDENTIALITY OF SUBMISSIONS/ RESTRICTIONS ON DISCLOSURE
Protecting customers is Microsoft’s highest priority. We endeavor to address each Vulnerability report in a timely manner. While we are doing that we require that Bounty Submissions remain confidential and cannot be disclosed to third parties or as part of paper reviews or conference submissions. You can make available high-level descriptions of your research and non-reversible demonstrations after the Vulnerability is fixed. We require that detailed proof-of-concept exploit code and details that would make attacks easier on customers be withheld for 30 days after the Vulnerability is fixed. Microsoft will notify you when the Vulnerability in your Submission is fixed. You may be paid prior to the fix being released and payment should not be taken as notification of fix completion. VIOLATIONS OF THIS SECTION COULD REQUIRE YOU TO RETURN ANY BOUNTIES PAID FOR THAT VULNERABILITY AND DISQUALIFY YOU FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM IN THE FUTURE.

Of course, this compares apples with oranges. The Microsoft program is not a permanent ban on disclosure‚ÄĒjust enforcing a responsible disclosure. In addition, the MS program relates to any relevant disclosures‚ÄĒvulnerabilities, attacks, etc., and not just actions which would constitute a ‚Äúfelony.‚ÄĚ Does ‚Äúconceal and not report‚ÄĚ mean ‚Äúconceal and never report‚ÄĚ?

But companies have many reasons for not wanting to disclose felonies that have been committed against them. An employee steals from the company and is terminated with an NDA and a non-disparagement agreement. The company does not report the theft. Did they ‚Äúconceal and not report‚ÄĚ a felony? Certainly, or take a sextortion case where attackers obtain access to someone‚Äôs sexually explicit files or pictures and threaten to release them if a cryptocurrency payment is not made. The victim pays the ransom to avoid publicizing the fact that the images exist. Did they ‚Äúconceal and not report‚ÄĚ the felony extortion scheme? You betcha. And if payment of a ransom in a ransomware situation is partially motivated by the company‚Äôs desire to avoid publicly disclosing the fact that they were hit by ransomware (and partly to get their files back and get back to work), they are subject to prosecution under the misprision statute.

An overwhelming trend since the 1990‚Äôs has been to require companies to report‚ÄĒeither to the public, to data protection authorities, to law enforcement, to regulators or to third parties by contract‚ÄĒdata breaches, incidents and, in some cases, material vulnerabilities. The Sullivan case rests on the principle that, even if there is no duty to report it, you may find yourself in legal trouble if you don‚Äôt.

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Dec 28 2022

CISO roles continue to expand beyond technical expertise

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 12:20 pm

CISO roles

The research shows the CISO seat to be relatively industry-agnostic‚ÄĒwith 84% of CISOs having a career history of working across multiple sectors‚ÄĒwith today‚Äôs CISOs expected to bring more breadth of leadership to their role as they move away from being technical experts.

‚ÄúToday‚Äôs CISOs¬†are taking up the mantle of responsibilities that have traditionally fallen solely to the CIO, which is to act as the primary gateway from the tech department into the wider business and the outside marketplace,‚ÄĚ said¬†James Larkin, Managing Partner at Marlin Hawk.

‚ÄúThis widening scope requires CISOs to be adept communicators to the board, the broader business, and the marketplace of shareholders and customers. By thriving in the ‚Äėsofter‚Äô skill sets of communication, leadership, and strategy, CISOs are now setting the new industry standards of today and, I predict, will be progressing into the board directors of tomorrow.‚ÄĚ

Key findings from the report include:

  • CISO profiles have changed dramatically‚ÄĒ36% of CISOs analyzed with a graduate degree received a higher degree in business administration or management. This is down 10% from last year (46% in 2021). Conversely, there has been an increase to 61% of CISOs receiving a higher degree in STEM subjects (up from 46% in 2021).
  • More CISOs are being hired internally‚ÄĒApproximately 62% of global CISOs were hired from another company, indicating a slight increase in the number of CISOs hired internally (38% hired internally compared to 36% in 2021), but a large gap remains in appropriate successors.
  • CISO turnover rates have declined‚ÄĒbut still remain high with 45% of global CISOs having been in their current role for two years or less, down from 53% in 2021, with 18% turnover year-over-year.

CISO roles continue to become more complex

‚ÄúI would say that you shouldn‚Äôt have the CISO title if you‚Äôre not actively defending your organization; you have to be in the trenches,‚ÄĚ said¬†Yonesy N√ļ√Īez, CISO, Jack Henry Associates. ‚ÄúI also feel that over the last eight to 10 years, the CISO role has become a CISO plus role: CISO plus engineering, CISO plus physical security, CISO plus operational resiliency, or CISO plus product security. As a result, we‚Äôve seen multiple CISOs that have done a great job with cybersecurity, fusion centers, SOC, and leadership. This has paved the way for the CISO office to become a business enabler and also a transformational technology function.‚ÄĚ

Kevin Brown, a seasoned cybersecurity executive, added, ‚ÄúWe have over 100 countries at this point with their own data privacy legislation that makes doing global business in a compliant manner trickier than it used to be. As a result, in most organizations we‚Äôre seeing a tighter connection and collaborative spirit between data officers, CISOs, legal teams and marketing. CISOs have to be in the know on all priorities for these different sectors of the business so they can take them into account when writing policies‚ÄĒit‚Äôs a more complex job than it ever used to be.‚ÄĚ

More organizations are appointing CISOs from within

The research shows a decrease in the percentage of CISOs hired externally (62%) in the last year, compared to 2021 (64%), indicating a potential shift towards an organization’s next CISO already operating inside the business.

Larkin went on to say, ‚ÄúAs the importance of information security has grown, boards of directors, regulators, and shareholders have demanded greater controls, better risk management as well as more people and departments focusing on defending a company and its assets. Fortunately, this has had the positive side effect of creating more internal succession for the CISO position‚ÄĒorganizations can look for risk and control focused talent in more places than just the office of the CISO.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúNow candidates are being internally promoted to the role of CISO from IT Risk, Operational Risk Management, IT Audit, Technology Risk & Controls, among others,‚ÄĚ Larkin added. ‚ÄúNot only does this give regulators more comfort that there are multiple sets of eyes on this at the leadership level, but it has also vastly increased the size of the succession talent pool and is helping to future-proof the information security industry as a whole.‚ÄĚ

CISO turnover rates are still high for several reasons

‚ÄúThe not-so-secret secret is that no CISO can accomplish much in one or two years. Most CISOs change roles because of one of three reasons,‚ÄĚ shares¬†Shamoun Siddiqui, CISO at Neiman Marcus Group.

‚ÄúFirst, their skillset is not up to par, and they get quietly pushed out by the company. Due to the extremely high demand for security leaders, often individual contributors get elevated to the role of CISO, and they get overwhelmed within months. Second, they have an insurmountable task with unrealistic expectations, and there is a lack of support from their peers and from the leadership of the company. The company may be paying lip service to cybersecurity but may not be forward-thinking enough to make it a priority. Third, they just get enticed by a better offer from somewhere else. There is such a shortage of security professionals and security leaders that companies keep offering increasingly high salaries and benefits to CISOs.‚ÄĚ

Another factor leading to high turnover is poor hiring decisions that are a result of a lack of scrutiny and due diligence in the recruiting process. While the immediate need may outweigh a more thorough vetting, fast tracking a CISO hire can have adverse effects if there are other, more suitable candidates out there.

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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‚ÄĒand with it the level of stress‚ÄĒas cyberattacks continue to increase in volume and sophistication, noted Larkin. It‚Äôs 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.

ask chloé career project management business security

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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Dec 12 2022

14 lessons CISOs learned in 2022

Category: CISO,vCISODISC @ 1:12 pm

The coming new year is a good moment for chief information security officers to reflect upon what they’ve learned this year and how to apply this knowledge going forward.

“If companies are not going to learn these lessons and mature their security practices, we will see increased scrutiny in audits and third-party risk assessments, and this may have a financial, reputational, operational, or even compliance impact on their business,” says Sohail Iqbal, CISO at Veracode.

many lit hanging bulbs

1. Don’t wait for a geopolitical conflict to boost your security

2. The population of threat actors has exploded, and their services have become dirt cheap

3. Untrained employees can cost a company millions of dollars

4. Governments are legislating more aggressively for cybersecurity

5. Organizations should keep better track of open-source software

6. More effort should be put into identifying vulnerabilities

7. Companies need to do more to protect against supply chain attacks

8. Zero trust should be a core philosophy

9. Cyber liability insurance requirements might continue to increase

10. The “shift-left” approach to software testing is dated

11. Using the wrong tool for the wrong asset will not fix the problem

12. Organizations need help understanding their complete application architectures

13. Security should be a continuous effort

14. Have plans in place

Source for more details: 14 lessons CISOs learned in 2022

Tags: CISO


Nov 23 2022

5 free resources from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Category: Security ToolsDISC @ 10:55 am

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. CISA is in charge of enhancing cybersecurity and infrastructure protection at all levels of government, coordinating cybersecurity initiatives with American U.S. states, and enhancing defenses against cyberattacks.

To assist businesses in enhancing their security capabilities, CISA offers free cybersecurity products and services.

Cyber Hygiene Vulnerability Scanning

You can register for this service by emailing vulnerability@cisa.dhs.gov. Scanning will start within 3 days, and you‚Äôll begin receiving reports within two weeks. Once initiated, this service is mostly automated and requires little direct interaction.

cisa cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Evaluation Tool (CSET)

This tool provides organizations with a structured and repeatable approach to assessing the security posture of their cyber systems and networks. It includes both high-level and detailed questions related to all industrial control and IT systems.

CSET

Checklist for implementing cybersecurity measures

This document outlines four goals for your organization:

  • Reducing the likelihood of a damaging cyber incident
  • Detecting malicious activity quickly
  • Responding effectively to confirmed incidents
  • Maximizing resilience.
cisa cybersecurity

Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV) Catalog

The KEV Catalog enables you to identify known software security flaws. You can search for software used by your organization and, if it’s found, update it to the most recent version in accordance with the vendor’s instructions.

cisa cybersecurity

Malcolm network traffic analysis tool suite

Malcolm is comprised of several widely used open source tools, making it an attractive alternative to security solutions requiring paid licenses.

The tool accepts network traffic data in the form of full packet capture (PCAP) files and Zeek logs. Visibility into network communications is provided through two interfaces: OpenSearch Dashboards, a data visualization plugin with dozens of prebuilt dashboards providing an at-a-glance overview of network protocols; and Arkime, a tool for finding and identifying the network sessions comprising suspected security incidents. All communications with Malcolm, both from the user interface and from remote log forwarders, are secured with industry standard encryption protocols.

Malcolm operates as a cluster of Docker containers, isolated sandboxes which each serve a dedicated function of the system.

Malcolm

CISA free resources

Open Source Intelligence Methods and Tools: A Practical Guide to Online Intelligence

Tags: CISA, CISO, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), How-to, Open source, Open source intelligence


Nov 11 2022

How can CISOs catch up with the security demands of their ever-growing networks?

Category: CISO,CISSP,vCISODISC @ 11:12 am

Vulnerability management has always been as much art as science. However, the rapid changes in both IT networks and the external threat landscape over the last decade have made it exponentially more difficult to identify and remediate the vulnerabilities with the greatest potential impact on the enterprise.

With a record of 18,378 vulnerabilities reported by the National Vulnerability Database in 2021 and an influx of new attack techniques targeting increasingly complex and distributed environments, how can CISOs know where to start?

Why has maintaining network visibility become such a challenge?

Heavy investments into digital transformation and cloud migration have rendered significant, foundational changes to the enterprise IT environment. Gartner predicts end-user spending on public cloud services will reach almost 600 billion in 2023, up from an estimated $494.7 billion this year and $410.9 in 2021.

Long gone are the days when security teams could concern themselves only with connections to and from the data center; now they must establish¬†effective visibility¬†and control of a sprawling, complex network that includes multiple public clouds, SaaS services, legacy infrastructure, the home networks of remote users, etc. Corporate assets are no longer limited to servers, workstations, and a few printers; teams must now secure virtual machines on premise and in the cloud, IoT devices, mobile devices, microservices, cloud data stores, and much more ‚Äď making visibility and monitoring infinitely more complex and challenging.

In many cases, security investments have not kept up with the rapid increase in network scope and complexity. In other cases, agile processes have outpaced security controls. This results in security teams struggling to achieve effective visibility and control of their networks, resulting in misconfigurations, compliance violations, unnecessary risk, and improperly prioritized vulnerabilities that provide threat actors with easy attack paths.

Adversaries are specifically targeting these blind spots and security gaps to breach the network and evade detection.

What are the most common mistakes being made in attempting to keep up with threats?

With the average cost of a data breach climbing to $4.35 million in 2022, CISOs and their teams are under extraordinary pressure to reduce cyber risk as much as possible. But many are hindered by a lack of comprehensive visibility or pressure to deliver agility beyond what can be delivered without compromising security. One of the most common issues we encounter is an inability to accurately prioritize vulnerabilities based on the actual risk they pose to the enterprise. With thousands of vulnerabilities discovered every year, determining which vulnerabilities need to be patched and which can be accepted as incremental risk is a critical process.

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) has become a useful guidepost, providing security teams with generalized information for each vulnerability. Prioritizing the vulnerabilities with the highest CVSS score may seem like a logical and productive approach. However, every CISO should recognize that CVSS scores alone are not an accurate way to measure the risk a vulnerability poses to their individual enterprise.

To accurately measure risk, more contextual information is required. Security teams need to understand how a vulnerability relates to their specific environment. While high-profile threats like Heartbleed may seem like an obvious priority, a less public vulnerability with a lower CVSS score exposed to the Internet in the DMZ may expose the enterprise to greater actual risk.

These challenges are exacerbated by the fact that IT and security teams often lose track of assets and applications as ownership is pushed to new enterprise teams and the cloud makes it easier than ever for anyone in the enterprise to spin up new resources. As a result, many enterprises are riddled with assets that are unmonitored and remain dangerously behind on security updates.

Why context is critical

With resources like the¬†National Vulnerability Database¬†at their fingertips, no CISO lacks for data on vulnerabilities. In fact, most enterprises do not lack for contextual data either. Enterprise security, IT, and GRC stacks provide a continuous stream of data which can be leveraged in vulnerability management processes. However, these raw streams of data must be carefully curated and combined with vulnerability information to be turned into actionable context ‚Äď and it is this in this process where many enterprises falter.

Unfortunately, most enterprises do not have the resources to patch every vulnerability. In some circumstances, there may be a business case for not patching a vulnerability immediately, or at all. Context from information sources across the enterprise enables standardized risk decisions to be made, allowing CISOs to allocate their limited resources where they will have the greatest impact on the security of the enterprise.

Making the most of limited resources with automation

There was a time when a seasoned security professional could instinctively assess the contextual risk of a threat based on their experience and familiarity with the organisation’s infrastructure. However, this approach cannot scale with the rapid expansion of the enterprise network and the growing number of vulnerabilities that must be managed. Even before the ongoing global security skills shortage, no organization had the resources to manually aggregate and correlate thousands of fragments of data to create actionable context.

In today’s constantly evolving threat landscape, automation offers the best chance for keeping up with vulnerabilities and threats. An automated approach can pull relevant data from the security, IT, and GRC stacks and correlate it into contextualized information which can be used as the basis for automated or manual risk decisions.

data

Vulnerability Management Program Guide: Managing the Threat and Vulnerability Landscape

Tags: CISO, Vulnerability Management Program


Nov 10 2022

CISOs, Security Leaders Eyeing Other Job Options

Category: CISO,CISSP,vCISODISC @ 3:35 pm

Nearly a third of CISOs or IT security leaders in the United States and the United Kingdom are considering leaving their current role, according to research by BlackFog.

Of those considering leaving their current role, a third of those would do so within the next six months, according to the survey, which polled more than 500 IT security leaders.

The report also found that, among the top issues security pros have with their current role, the lack of work-life balance is the most troublesome‚ÄĒcited by three in 10 survey respondents.

More than a quarter (27%) of respondents said that too much time was spent on firefighting rather than focusing on strategic issues.

Twenty percent said they felt that keeping their teams‚Äô skill levels in line with new frameworks and models such as zero-trust was a ‚Äúserious challenge‚ÄĚ, while 43% of respondents said they found it difficult to keep pace with the newest innovations in the cybersecurity market.

Using Automation to Ease the Pressure

Phil Neray, vice president of cyber defense strategy at CardinalOps, a detection posture management company, said both CISOs and security operations center (SOC) personnel take pride in being cybersecurity defenders for their organizations and both groups feel the pain of information overload and constantly being on call to respond to the latest emergencies.

‚ÄúWhat needs to change? The CISO‚Äôs peers in the business need to understand that cybersecurity risk is a top business risk, not just an IT issue, and they need to allocate higher budgets to support a higher level of staffing in the SOC,‚ÄĚ he said.

In addition, Neray said by investing in more automation for the SOC, CISOs and their teams will be freed from performing mundane tasks.

‚ÄúThis way, they can direct their human creativity and innovation toward proactive activities like threat hunting and remediating gaps in their defensive posture, rather than always being reactive,‚ÄĚ he explained. 

Darren Guccione, CEO and co-founder at Keeper Security, a provider of zero-trust and zero-knowledge cybersecurity software, added that there is ‚Äúabsolutely no denying‚ÄĚ that being a CISO is one of the most difficult and demanding roles in any company.

‚ÄúThe board of directors and fellow business leaders must support their CISO‚Äôs priorities and needs, particularly when they‚Äôre faced with a cyberattack or data breach,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWithout that support, talented CISOs won‚Äôt stick around as there are plenty of other job opportunities awaiting them.‚ÄĚ

Indeed, the BlackFog report noted recruiting is a challenge globally and with stiff competition to attract the best talent, organizations need to address the well-being and work-life balance issues that have persisted across the industry.

Acknowledging CISO Burnout

Sounil Yu, CISO at JupiterOne, a provider of cybersecurity asset management and governance solutions, noted that CISOs face an uncommonly high risk of burnout due to the nature of security work. 

‚ÄúBurnout is more common than most realize,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúAcknowledging burnout risks is an important way to be supportive and to let team members know that they are not alone.‚ÄĚ

Yu pointed out that CISOs cannot personally shoulder the burden of mitigating burnout.

‚ÄúInstead, CISOs should educate their company‚Äôs board and fellow executive leaders on security burnout risks and collaborate with HR to improve resources such as employee resource programs, flexible working arrangements and systems of reward and recognition,‚ÄĚ he said. 

John Bambenek, principal threat hunter at Netenrich, a security and operations analytics SaaS company, said CISOs are facing the same burnout risk as cybersecurity professionals with one key difference‚Äďthe CISO is the designated ‚Äėthroat to choke‚Äô when things go awry.

‚ÄúOne of the biggest changes to be made in the C-suite to improve the situation for security leaders would be focusing on freeing the CISO to work on strategic issues,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúConstant firefighting burns out everyone up and down the ladder. You can handle that with line staff with job rotation, but the CISO needs to have the resources to make their life better overall.‚ÄĚ

Bambenek added that mandatory PTO that involves someone else tending to the fires while the CISO is gone would help, too.

‚ÄúPTO where you are still on call isn‚Äôt PTO,‚ÄĚ he noted. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just working from home.‚ÄĚ

He explained that organizations that are well-funded should have emerging technology labs where they can explore both new technology and new security tools to help address the challenges CISOs are facing. 

‚ÄúA big part of this problem is threats evolve with rapid changes in technology‚ÄĒsecurity is playing catch-up behind both,‚ÄĚ Bambenek said.¬†

Tags: CISO, CISO Burnout, Job Options


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