The Expanding Role of Cyber Risk Leaders: Preparing for What’s Next

3 min read

What are the roles and responsibilities of cyber risk leaders today?

Before I jump into that, let’s look at the various c-suite titles that currently fall under the umbrella of a cyber risk leader – chief security officer, chief information officer (CIO), information security officer (ISO), and chief information security officer (CISO). In some organizations, managing cybersecurity risk and compliance processes rolls up to the chief risk officer (CRO). 

There are also relatively new roles that you might have heard of – business information security officer (BISO), business aligned security executive (BASE), and technical information security officer (TISO) – the list goes on. 

As the scope of responsibilities of a cyber risk leader is evolving and expanding, new monikers are emerging to truly represent what the role entails. Today, cyber risk leaders are not just tasked with protecting the IT and cyber infrastructure of organizations – the role has become one of a business enabler. 

In a previous blog on building cyber resilience, I discussed some of the top roles played by CISOs today. A quick search on LinkedIn for CISO, CSO, and cyber-related job requirements yielded further insights into what companies are looking for today in these roles.

Here are some interesting ones that I came across:

  • To be a catalyst and an enabler to the global leadership for achieving the objectives aligned with the changing regulatory and operating landscape and reducing risk against the technology operations portfolio
  • Partner with enterprise-wide business stakeholders to elevate risk awareness and remediate security flaws in infrastructure, system design, and application security
  • Stay abreast of the latest risk trends, threats, and technologies in the field of information security, and recommend innovative solutions to address emerging risks

Which brings us to the question – how can cyber risk leaders prepare for the next level?

It’s All About Connections!

“Realize that everything connects to everything else.” 

Leonardo da Vinci said this in a different context, but it applies to today’s corporate world, too. The business environment is becoming increasingly convoluted with interconnected organizations, processes, functions, and even risks! 

The growing digital dependencies are exposing organizations to new, high-velocity cyber risks. In turn, businesses are expecting more and more from cyber risk leaders – the core objective still being protecting the enterprise from cyber adversaries. 

To better align to the evolving business expectations, CISOs, CSOs, and equivalent title holders need to undertake a connected approach – connecting not just internally within the enterprise with various stakeholders but also externally with the latest developments in technology, AI, and automation, trends in cybersecurity best practices, new and emerging cyber risks, and more. 

Connecting internally is essential to raise risk and security awareness across organizational hierarchies, keep the executive management informed about the overall cyber risk posture, and drive well-formed cybersecurity investment decisions. All of these elements are essential for ensuring a robust cyber risk strategy. 

At the same time, the next-gen cyber risk leader needs to connect externally to secure all the touchpoints of the organizations, including the extended enterprise comprised of third-party vendors, customers, partners, and other stakeholders. 

A well-rounded approach requires cyber risk leaders to not only understand the interconnectedness of risks and their cascading impacts but also keep up with the latest technological developments, such as APIs, automation, cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI), embracing industry best practices for IT and cyber risk management, and ensuring open and efficient communication across the organization and extended enterprise. 

For a deeper dive, read our eBook on “5 Connections Every Cyber Risk Leader Must Make for Driving Cyber Resilience”.

With AI ushering in a new paradigm for cyber risk management, the role of cyber risk leaders will continue to gain prominence in the corporate hierarchy and become increasingly aligned with the strategic leadership role. There is an urgent need to take on a continuous approach involving constant learning, improving, and adapting to meet evolving business expectations. 

If you’re in a cyber risk leader role, how are you preparing and staying current for what’s next? Drop us a line in the comments, and as always, let us know how we can help you anticipate and thrive on risk.

Pat McParland

Patricia McParland AVP – Marketing

Pat McParland is AVP of Product Marketing at MetricStream. She is responsible for creating product messaging, product go-to-market plans, and analyzing market trends for MetricStream's cyber compliance and third party risk product lines. Pat has more than 25 years of financial data and technology marketing experience at Fortune 1000 brands as well as startups and has led product and marketing teams at Dow Jones and Dun & Bradstreet. She has a BA from the College of William and Mary and lives in Summit, New Jersey.