Being a Chief Information Security Office (CISO) or Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is no small feat - it requires someone who can remain vigilant and committed to reducing the organization’s cyber risk and creation, maintenance, execution, and governance of an organization's information security program. But what are the specific responsibilities of a CISO? Here we have outlined 12 key responsibilities that are expected from this critical role.

  1. Establishing and maintaining an effective information security program: This includes ensuring that appropriate policies, standards, procedures, processes and control measures are in place to protect sensitive data within your organization.
  2. Developing and implementing appropriate risk management strategies: CISOs should be able to recognize potential risks that could affect their organization’s network and take necessary steps to mitigate them before any damage can occur.
  3. Leading the development of a cybersecurity operations program: CISOs should spearhead the development and implementation of information security teams, initiatives, and programs that include responsibilities related to cybersecurity operations, compliance, risk management, and incident response.
  4. Driving security awareness initiatives: CISOs are expected to create and implement effective security-awareness training within their organizations in order to keep their team members informed about best practices for network security and protecting sensitive data.
  5. Performing regular assessments of IT systems: Regularly assessing the state of an organization’s IT systems is essential for a CISO as it helps them identify any potential weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers or malicious actors.
  6. Working closely with stakeholders: CISOs must work closely with all stakeholders to ensure their information security program aligns with the organization’s strategic goals.
  7. Developing incident response plans: CISOs should develop, document and review incident response plans that outline how to respond to potential threats and breaches, as well as how to prevent them in the first place.
  8. Managing third-party relationships and mitigating third-party risk: CISOs are responsible for overseeing all third-party relationships related to information security in order to ensure that any data shared or stored outside of the organization is adequately protected.
  9. Ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations: CISOs must be aware of applicable laws and regulations pertaining to cybersecurity, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS etc., and make sure their organization remains compliant with them at all times.
  10. Maintaining up-to-date threat intelligence: CISOs should also regularly monitor and track cyber threats, both in their own organizations as well as globally, to stay ahead of any potential attackers.
  11. Implementing effective security architectures: CISOs must define, design and deploy effective security architectures to protect sensitive data within their networks from unauthorized access or manipulation.
  12. Staying abreast of the latest industry trends: CISOs should keep themselves updated on the latest market trends related to information security in order to ensure their organization is always protected from emerging threats.

Ultimately, CISOs are expected to be highly knowledgeable about information security best practices and remain vigilant in protecting their organization’s networks from potential threats. They are the gatekeepers of an organization's most valuable assets, and must be equipped with the necessary tools to safeguard them.