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Why CISOs shouldn't report to CIOs

In the past, CISOs were responsible for protecting the organization’s computer systems, networks, and data. However, with the increase of cyber threats and the ever-changing landscape of technology, the role of a CISO has had to evolve. Now, CISOs are responsible for protecting the entire organization, not just the computer systems. They are also responsible for helping the organization to be more secure and resilient, and for protecting it from cyber threats.

Since the role of a CISO is constantly evolving, it's no surprise that their reporting structure should also change. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, 34 percent of CISOs currently report to the CIO. This is a troubling statistic, as it suggests that many organizations do not understand the importance of the CISO role.

There are several reasons why CISOs should not report to CIOs. First, the CIO is typically responsible for the organization's technology infrastructure, which is not the primary focus of the CISO. The CISO is responsible for cybersecurity and data security, not technology infrastructure. Second, the CIO is often more interested in cutting costs and improving efficiency, while the CISO is more interested in risk management and protecting the organization's data. Finally, the CIO is often focused on short-term goals, while the CISO is more focused on long-term goals.

Due to the importance of the role of a CISO, they should ideally report to the board of directors. This will ensure that the board is aware of the risks that the organization is facing, and that the CISO is able to get the resources that they need to help protect the organization.

The board should ensure that their CISO has adequate staff, budget, and authority to carry out their role effectively and be realistic about their expectations from the CISO. For example:

The board should not expect the CISO to be able to prevent all cyber threats. Cybersecurity is a complex issue, and there is no one silver bullet that can solve it. The CISO should be viewed as an important part of the organization’s overall cybersecurity strategy, but they cannot do it all on their own.

The board should also not expect the CISO to be able to solve all of the organization’s IT problems. The CISO should not be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the IT department. Their role is to protect the organization from cyber threats, not to manage the organization’s IT systems.

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