The role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is increasingly crucial in the digital age, where cyber threats are increasingly complex and sophisticated. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation, increasing pressure on CISOs to ensure the security of IT infrastructure. Cybersecurity is now the first priority of companies around the world and the figure of CISO is asked to operate in an increasingly holistic way.
But what happens when a technician becomes a manager? How much changes the life of the CISO?
The vast majority of CISO have technical experience before taking on the role of manager. This means that CISO have a thorough understanding of information technology and information security. However, the transition from technician to manager requires a change of mindset, skill and responsibility. Let’s see them together.
Becoming a manager means first changing mindset. While a technician focuses primarily on solving practical problems, a manager must take a strategic and goal-oriented approach. It must manage work teams, prioritize, make decisions and ensure the achievement of business goals. According to a survey by Evanta, 58% of Chief Information Security Officers said that lack of managerial skills is among the main obstacles to their success.
One of the main challenges a CISO faces is balancing cybersecurity with the needs of the enterprise. Typically, CISOs are responsible for the company’s data and information protection, but they must also ensure that the company can continue to perform its activities efficiently.
For example, if security protocols are too strict, they may slow down employees’ work and prevent the company from achieving its business goals. On the other hand, if security policies are too soft, the company may be vulnerable to breaches. The balance between cybersecurity and business priorities is therefore a constant challenge in the life of CISO.
To become a good manager, a CISO must develop leadership skills, in time management, communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution. It must be able to motivate its team, define clear goals and provide constructive feedback. In addition, it must be able to communicate effectively with business leaders, providing them with information about cyber threats and security measures taken.
Being a successful CISO also requires good networking skills. CISO must be able to collaborate with other cybersecurity professionals to share best practices and lessons learned. They must also be able to interact with other business leaders to ensure that cybersecurity is integrated into all aspects of the organization.
The role of CISO is in fact highly visible and has a strong impact on the image and reputation of the company. When a security breach occurs, Chief Information Security Officers are often the first to be called to account. This requires clear and transparent communication with business leaders and employees to resolve the situation in the best possible way.
Another challenge is to find the right talent for their team. According to Evanta’s report of 2022, 41% of CISO companies around the world say they have a resource shortage in cybersecurity. This makes it even more important for CISOs to develop leadership skills to better manage their group members and support professional growth.
Responsibility and stress management for CISO
The transition of a figure from technical to managerial implies a huge increase in responsibility.
Budget management, annual reports, constant comparisons with the top management are just some of the new capabilities that are required to the CISO when accessing this role.
According to a report by Heidrick & Struggles, stress and burnout are among the first personal problems that CISO face in the transition from technical to manager. Part of this pressure stems from the fact they are responsible for the company’s information security, but they do not have control over all business decisions.
In addition, CISO must be able to adapt quickly to new technologies and emerging cyber threats. Technology evolves relentlessly and they must stay up to date on the latest trends and threats to effectively protect the business. This requires constant training and commitment.
Opportunity for a CISO
Despite the challenges, the transition from technical to manager certainly brings many opportunities and benefits. A highly qualified CISO can have a significant impact on the organization and its cybersecurity, reducing security breach costs and improving the organization’s ability to detect and respond to cyber threats. In addition, networking and collaboration with other cybersecurity professionals and business leaders can lead to long-term positive results for the company.
In a world where cybersecurity is a priority, no company, from large to small, can ignore the importance of a responsible manager improving cybersecurity. The role of CISO is set to grow, both in terms of company relevance and quantity. This makes CISO’s career prospects very attractive.
In conclusion, the transition from technical to manager is an experience that requires a managerial mindset, leadership skills and management of responsibility and stress. CISO must develop a strategic vision of cybersecurity and manage their team effectively.
They must be able to communicate with business leaders in a clear and transparent manner, always keeping safety as a top priority. However, the transition from technician to manager can lead to many opportunities and benefits and we will hear more and more about the relevance of this professional figure at the company level.