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Dec. 2012/Volume 14 / No. 10

Chief information security officer skills go beyond customary technical roles

Recently, I was asked to consider the question, “Do CISOs need to be techies at heart?” Having become a CISO after a history of technical roles, I could see why one might think the answer was a very clear “yes,” and yet I feel very strongly that the answer is “no.” A CISO should be able to rely on a solid team to handle the “techie” stuff; if a CISO spends too much time in the weeds, he will miss the broader picture. Especially in a small- to medium-sized business, a CISO needs to be much more than just a techie—really, a good CISO should be a jack-of-all-trades, and nearly a master of most. Information is the heart of any business, so a CISO is very nearly the same as the chief risk officer, especially at a smaller firm. A good CISO needs to understand the risks to the organization beyond the traditional IT risks, and be able to articulate how the IT controls fit within the framework of the business. He needs to be a good executive, and be able to weigh the risks of business objectives vs. IT controls to help the company make ...

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