CISO for Digital Business

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) enables digital business by driving critical initiatives that secure and protect the enterprise

CISOs are stepping up to meet digital business in four ways

The role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is growing, and the scope of digital business intensifies. Among board directors, 64% say their organization is trying to significantly alter its economic architecture to put more emphasis on digital (revenues, margins, productivity, etc.). At the same time, 88% say they recognize cybersecurity is a risk to the business. 

Best-in-class cybersecurity leaders focus squarely on protecting and enabling enterprise priorities. But to do that, they need a range of capabilities and competencies to be effective in their increasingly multifaceted role.   

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    By proactively assessing risk appetite and the value of the desired business outcome, CIOs and CISOs can transform digital risk management into a competitive advantage.

    John A. Wheeler

    Senior Director Analyst, Gartner Research & Advisory

    How we address top CISO and Cybersecurity team challenges

    Managing information security and risk in today’s business environment is a huge challenge. We provide CISOs and other information security leaders like you with the indispensable insights, advice and tools needed to advance your security operations and achieve the most critical priorities of your organization, beyond just the information technology practice.

    2022 Leadership Vision for Cybersecurity Leaders

    Cybersecurity leaders are being squeezed between an increasingly aggressive threat environment and the unrealistic expectation that the Chief Information Security Officer won’t interfere with business unit computing. Successful CISOs acknowledge these misconceptions and will actively work to change them in 2022 and beyond.  

    Gartner's Emerging Technologies in Security & Risk Management

    Emerging risks and top security trends are driving innovation in security and risk management. Which areas should you focus on? Rewatch a highly rated session to explore high-impact emerging technologies in security and risk management.

    Top Trends for Cybersecurity in 2022

    The endlessly expanding digital footprint of modern organizations is steering this year’s top cybersecurity trends. Leaders who understand these trends will be better able to address new risks and elevate their standing in their organizations. 

    3 Must-Haves in Your Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan 

    Cybersecurity incidents are a matter of “when,” not “if.” This eBook provides the three key components you must get right for a documented response plan and a detailed playbook for the incident type.

    Experience IT Security and Risk Management conferences

    Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.

    New to the CISO role?

    As the information technology landscape evolves, the role of a CISO is becoming more challenging, and the expectations of the CIO and overall organization are becoming higher. It is critical for new CISOs to approach the role with a plan to create a robust security architecture and reporting structure that will help them set a strong foundation for the future.

    Security and risk questions Gartner can help answer

    Much like their CIO counterparts, information security experts operating as Chief Information Security Officers will need to evolve with their roles as the C-suite digitally upskills. 

    Trends: 

    • Delegating tactical or “hands-on” cybersecurity work or risk mitigation to staff or other business leaders to focus on strategic oversight and implementation of information risk security planning. 
    • As the digital dexterity of the CISO’s and CIO’s C-suite counterparts increases, cybersecurity experts are evolving to orchestrate more strategic distributed digital initiatives. 

    Challenges: 

    • Information risk and security leadership becoming a distributed C-suite responsibility, not just those of IT management. This has led to senior leaders outside of IT increasingly hiring their own technology talent and actively shaping digital strategy, to test and scale digital business ideas.
    • Management of digital foundations, including cross-cutting platforms, integration and talent coordination. As decision making becomes more distributed, Chief Information Security Officers and CIOs will have to focus on architecting and managing cross-cutting platforms (e.g., development environments, customer experience, analytics and integration capabilities) and foster common ways of working across distributed fusion teams. 

    As with many key business functions, effective cybersecurity professionals need to hold strong relationships with non-IT stakeholders. The influence of the Chief Information Security Officer needs to be understood, respected and adhered to, so cultivating rapport with management and executives who are responsible for decision making and implementing security risk strategies is vital. 

    While experience in their current role, experience in their current industry and high industry regulations are keys to successful CISO output, the effectiveness of an organization’s CISO can be determined by their ability to execute against a set of four outcomes: 

    1. Functional leadership: As the leader of the information security function, CISO leadership is imperative in meeting security objectives.  

    2. Information security service delivery: With virtually every business capability today enabled by technology, CISOs must not only protect their organization, but also help it meet its objectives through delivery of quality services that support business objectives.

    3. Scaled governance: Distributed decision making has expanded the volume and variety of information risk decisions that cyber risk experts need to support, so a successful CISO will need to be able to scale governance to meet the demand and increase cooperation with information security recommendations. 

    4. Enterprise responsiveness: In addition to ensuring governance, CISOs must cultivate an environment where decision makers understand and care about information security and consider security implications in their decision making. They must champion the importance of information risk and cybersecurity effectively.

    Security leaders, including the Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer, need to lead their organizations through digital transformation, but importantly, also need to deliver value throughout that process. Keys to delivering value to the business include:

    • Identifying and defining the organization’s appetite for risk through collaboration with business leaders/executives/non-IT decision makers. 
    • Continually driving business discussions on the evolving digital landscape to stay ahead of potential threats.
    • Ensuring business decision makers are aware of current and potential future security risks to the organization. 
    • Proactively engaging in sourcing, implementing and scaling emerging technologies.
    • Designing and implementing a strategic succession plan.
    • Delegating tactical activities to staff or other stakeholders to reallocate their own time toward strategic planning.

    Learn more about how we can help you achieve your most critical priorities.

    The needs of CISOs are rapidly evolving as they face next-generation cyber challenges. Gartner provides insights, advice and tools to help cybersecurity leaders drive smarter and faster decisions.