The role of the CISO in tackling cyber threats

In an increasingly digital environment, organised and sophisticated cyber criminals are exploring new infiltration methods. It has never been more important for businesses to incorporate cyber security as part of their overall business strategy. This, coupled with strict and ever-changing regulatory and compliance requirements, with severe penalties if breached, means managing cyber risks has never been more complex. In response to this, we have seen the emergence of a new C-suite level position, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

The CISO’s job is to ensure that all information technology assets and data are sufficiently protected, in line with regulatory and compliance requirements, and to protect an organisation from internal and external cyber intrusion.

It is the CISO’s job to ensure cyber security, IT compliance and data protection are integrated with the organisation’s wider strategic objectives. The CISO needs to understand the organisation’s business model and align the security strategy with its goals and objectives.

An effective CISO works across the entire organisation, ensuring everyone is implementing the security and data protection strategy, and cyber security is embedded into organisational culture, so colleagues can identify and, respond to any new threats and risks as they emerge.

In the local scene, the private sector, and in particular the Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) which constitute a major part of the local economy, require a particular focus from a cyber security point of view. Middle market businesses often don’t have a dedicated CISO responsible for information security at a senior level, which could leave them particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks if threats aren’t assessed on an ongoing basis.

It can be a challenge to find the right person for the CISO role due to increasing demand for their knowledge and experience, and the current shortage of skills in this area. For SME’s the challenge is even greater because of limited resources that makes them particularly vulnerable.

As a result, many organisations are seeking alternative solutions to appointing their own CISO, such as working with third parties who provide outsourced CISO services. An outsourced CISO model can help a company to acquire this expertise without the drawbacks. It allows for a cost-effective access to strategic security experience and technical skills, gaining all the benefits without the capital expenditure.

Regardless of the model selected, whether to employ or outsource the CISO, the coronavirus pandemic has seen increased digitisation and new cyber and data breach risks emerging. As a result, the demand to fill the CISO position isn’t something that is likely to go away and is an essential position that now sits alongside other more traditional C-suite roles.

To learn more about how we can help please contact Gordon Micallef, Partner ([email protected]) or Marthese Vella, Lead Consultant ([email protected])