The essential CISO toolkit

Cybersecurity has become a strategic area for organizations since it has a substantial business impact. The role of Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) has assumed even greater focus. As key business leaders, the onus on them is to finely balance enterprise risk appetite and ensure a dynamic cybersecurity program aligned closely with business goals. By 2023, 30% of a CISO’s effectiveness will be directly measured by the ability to create value for the business, according to Gartner.

chief information security officer

So, what should a CISO ‘toolkit’ look like or include? We share the top five must-haves:

  • Evaluating security gaps and building strategy: The CISO should keenly evaluate business-critical assets across touch-points – applications, network, business assets, processes and people to isolate maximum breach spots. A targeted program to plug all long-standing or under-the-radar loopholes will further strengthen the organization’s security standpoint. API penetration testing, web application, mobile application and network vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, black-box testing and simulated phishing campaigns can be part of the bigger InfoSec strategy. Working knowledge of audit, legal and compliance, risk will ensure a holistic approach towards information security and risk mitigation.
  • Dynamic risk heatmaps: Heat maps that give a real-time view of high-risk breach areas, business impact, and issues that require urgent action. Since they are visually representative and color-coded, it is easy to understand and evaluate where remedial steps are immediately needed. It also gives an overall picture of an organization’s security posture.

A CISO should identify key business areas, with the greatest financial, customer, and reputational impact. These should be the first to be mapped out and go under the scanner.

  • Advanced threat intelligence systems: A CISO’s mandate to build a robust cybersecurity program can include advanced cyber threat intelligence (CTI). Along with XDR, this central intelligence system based on AI / ML algorithms can detect and alert or even mitigate risks. The CISO should be able to distinguish which security processes can be automated and where the application of specialist knowledge will benefit most. This will help eliminate false positives, take quick action against risks and free up experts to work on priority areas.
  • Periodic external agency audits: In an increasingly regulatory environment, external or third-party audits have become the norm. A CISO will have to engage security firms with experts holding industry-recognized certifications, a good track record and strong knowledge of the threat landscape. These firms will always bring fresh perspective and newer ways to approach cybersecurity along with necessary skillsets. Periodic application security audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, source code reviews, use of SAST/DAST/SCA/IAST tools, cloud configuration reviews and even CTI can be managed by MSSPs.
  • Training and awareness campaigns: The CISO has to ascertain the data security maturity of the enterprise and formulate a strategy to build a strong security culture. Cybint estimates that 95% of cybersecurity breaches result from human error. Risks can range from ransomware, phishing, intentional / unintended data leakage and hacking. Information security training, certifications and awareness-building campaigns address the human factor. With phishing, social engineering, cognitive hacking and insider threats becoming far too common, a multi-pronged approach becomes vital. With development and business-critical teams, emphasis should be placed on understanding and implementing DevSecOps. They can also undergo infosec training and basic certification. Executives in key roles can benefit from special sessions on data security, risk management and mitigation and business-specific industry use cases. Simulated phishing campaigns, periodic training and awareness building sessions can target employees across the enterprise. Forming a team of strong security, audit, compliance and risk specialists can give the CISO an eye into key activities.

A CISO can effectively engage external security vendors to manage periodic activities and focus on business-critical areas. Entersoft Security’s team of certified white-hat hackers offer security services worldwide in API and application security, VAPT, threat intelligence, managed cloud security, compliance management, and DevSecOps.

Reach out to Entersoft today to build a customized cybersecurity strategy for your organization.