How Important the CISO’s Role is During a Cyber Crisis
The CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) has got a very important role to play in any organization today. The CISO’s job becomes challenging, difficult and more crucial whenever there is a cyber crisis.
In today’s world, when cyberthreats and cyberattacks are getting more frequent, severe and malicious, the CISO in an organization is faced with the challenge of safeguarding all data that is at the disposal of the enterprise. This data would include corporate business data, employee data and also the sensitive personal data belonging to the company’s customers.
In any modern-day business enterprise, the resolving of a cyber crisis definitely depends on how effectively and quickly the CISO responds to the incident. In short, the overall cybersecurity of an organization depends on the efficiency of the CISO. Thus, a CISO, by aligning with the other C-suite professionals and by tackling a cyber crisis in the most efficient of manners, plays a key role in the growth and success of any business organization today. Hence, it’s important that a company chooses its CISO with absolute care.
Let’s take a look at the basic roles and responsibilities of the CISO in any organization, especially in the face of a cyber crisis…
An efficient CISO should be prepared to face a crisis
An efficient CISO should always be prepared. In today’s world, a cyberattack can happen at any given point of time. Hence, it’s important that a CISO always has an incident response plan ready. This plan should be as effective and fool-proof as is practically possible. The incident response plan should comprise all procedures and processes that need to be implemented as and when there is a security incident. In fact, an effective CISO should make sure that an organization implements best security practices that are a must as regards blocking cyberthreats and preventing cyberattacks. The CISO should also have a clear idea regarding who all should be part of the company’s CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) and should also have a clear idea about the roles and responsibilities of each member. The team should be ready 24×7. The CISO should also have a clear idea regarding how to mobilize resources within the organization to tackle a cyber crisis and shouldn’t be groping in the dark when things go wrong as regards cybersecurity. A very important aspect of the CISO’s role is clarity about the budget needed for tackling cybersecurity issues.
The CISO should detect a breach fast and discover the details
Whenever there is a breach, the CISO should be able to detect it at the earliest, before it causes big damages to the organization. The CISO has the responsibility of discovering the details of the breach, identifying the devices or systems that might have been impacted, plus forming an idea of how to combat the issue without letting the day-to-day functioning of the organization getting affected. The CISO and the CSIRT team should find out how the breach happened, how much of the infrastructure has been impacted, what all information has been accessed and such other things.
Assembling the Team quickly, getting a plan ready is the CISO’s responsibility
Whenever there is a cybersecurity breach, the CISO should be able to assemble the CSIRT team promptly. Getting a plan ready to tackle the cyber crisis, gathering information for detailed analysis, ensuring involvement at all levels- these too are part of the CISO’s responsibility. The C-suite members need to be briefed on the issue, the HR and corporate communications team have to be involved, the PR team needs to be kept informed, screenshots have to be taken in case they are needed for technical analysis of the incident, passwords have to be changed if they have been hacked- all these and much more are part of a CISO’s responsibility.
The CISO should seek to contain the breach effectively and promptly
Once a breach is detected and the team is ready to tackle it, the CISO should first seek to plan ways to contain it as effectively as possible, without losing any time. Letting the issue spread or grow would prove disastrous to the company. Hence, by ensuring proper involvement from all levels, the CISO should ensure that the breach is contained and doesn’t cause further issues before being resolved.
The CISO’s role includes informing the public and customers
The CISO should also plan to address the security issue with the public, especially since this is an important step as regards mitigating damages caused by the incident. Plans should be made, in collaboration with the legal team, the PR team and the C-suite members, on how the announcement regarding the security incident should be made. The customers, plus partners and clients if they are involved and impacted, must be intimated on how their data could be impacted and what all they must do in order to protect themselves. They should also be informed as regards the steps that the company is taking to tackle the issue.
The CISO is responsible for taking steps to prevent further attacks
Once a cybersecurity issue is detected and resolved, the CISO has to make a proper assessment of where to go next. Plans have to made and steps have to be taken to ensure that the same attack wouldn’t happen again and also to ensure that other attacks are also prevented, as effectively as possible. Collaborating with the IT experts within the organization, the CISO needs to ensure that there are no more gaps in the security infrastructure of the organization. It has also to be ensured that the employees are given proper training so as to forestall future cybersecurity incidents.
Kevin Jones951 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.