We asked Bobby Gormsen, a director at Riviera Partners, what skills a solid CISO candidate should bring to the table in 2024. Gormsen shared his valuable perspective and broke down the top three essential skills and approaches that will define a successful CISO this year:
- The best CISOs must operate with an assumed breach mindset.
- They need to focus on communication.
- They need to implement tools that strengthen threat intelligence and recovery.
The skill set required for a CISO in 2024 involves a strategic combination of technical expertise, effective communication, and a keen understanding of the business landscape to navigate the complex interplay of security and compliance. The role has undergone significant changes over the years, primarily driven by the evolving landscape of technology and the corresponding increase in cyber threats. As technology evolves, cyber-attacks increase in parallel. The best CISOs need to operate with an assumed breach mindset, focus on communication, and implement the tools to strengthen their threat intelligence and their ability to recover from inevitable attacks or breaches.
Gormsen emphasized the critical need for CISOs to operate under an “assumed breach” mindset. Recognizing that cyber threats are not just possible but inevitable, the most effective CISOs prepare for the ‘when’ rather than the ‘if’ of security incidents. This forward-thinking approach demands a shift from mere prevention to a comprehensive strategy that includes preparedness, response, and resilience.
So, how do you limit damage and recover quickly? Effective communication has become a cornerstone skill for CISOs. Most CISOs know that being fully compliant does not mean that you are 100% secure, but leadership teams and the company boards do not widely understand this. A company can still be vulnerable to security breaches despite being fully compliant. Unfortunately, many CISOs have struggled to communicate this nuance to their leadership teams effectively. The emphasis on communication is further heightened by regulatory changes like the new SEC rule, which mandates CISOs to take charge of incidents and ensure effective communication up the hierarchical chain.
With the cyber landscape more dynamic than ever, Gormsen pointed out the critical role of advanced tooling in enhancing threat intelligence and response capabilities. The focus is on leveraging technology, including AI, not just as a defensive mechanism but as a proactive tool to gain insights and anticipate threats. However, with attackers also harnessing the power of AI, CISOs are challenged to stay a step ahead, necessitating a nuanced approach to technology adoption that balances innovation with security.
The ability to align security strategies with business objectives, navigate the complex landscape of risk management, and contribute to the overall resilience and growth of the organization is what sets apart top CISOs. Gormsen’s insights underline the transformation of the CISO role from a technical position to a strategic leadership role, integral to the business’s success in the digital age.