CISO And CIO: Overlapping Skillsets And Relationship


The relationship between CISO and CIO is often described as “adversarial”. But, it’s also referred to as “ever-evolving”. So let’s walk through some unique roles both of them are known for.

The CISO And CIO: Both Are Essential Roles To An Organization

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) are two very important executive roles within the organization. Because these two focus largely on:

  • Strategic planning
  • Technology innovation
  • Business
  • Finance, and
  • Leadership and Management.

However, there are also critical differences between the two of them. CIOs focus on the overall and broader strategic use and management of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

While on the other hand, CISOs strategize the securing of all company systems and data.

About The CIO

The CIO or Chief Information Officer functions as the business and IT head of an organization.

He is a leader whose job is to strategically align all components of the IT infrastructure with the goals and objectives of the organization. So, this results in meeting the organizational goals.

Most Important Duties Of A CIO

A CIO mainly focus on:

  • Strategy
  • Management and leadership, and
  • Overseeing the implementation of IT systems and meet the organization’s goals

Aside from that, CIOs often craft the company’s strategic plan. As well as IT policies.
He manages IT systems and plans IT innovations. Overall, the CIO is the senior-most IT strategist of a company.

About The CISO

The CISO or Chief Information Security Officer is responsible for strategizing, implementing, managing, overseeing. And leading all cybersecurity aspects of an enterprise’s IT infrastructure.

Due to increasing cybercrime, CISO has become one of the most important C-level executives of the company.

CISO is the one who maintains the organization’s security posture. He ensures to cover all attack surfaces. But most of all, he manages the testing and patching of all system vulnerabilities.

Most Important Duties Of A CISO

It focuses on several security aspects of the company’s IT infrastructure. Additionally, CISOs have 5 core priorities:

  • The development of a security program for an entire enterprise
  • The management of Incident Response protocols and operations
  • Management and training of security staff
  • Management of daily threat monitoring across an enterprise’s networks and systems
  • Communicating security information to other executives and managers in an easy-to-understand manner

The CIO And CISO Relationship

Both of them must always work together. Because their key roles involve different aspects of the company’s IT infrastructure.

A CIO strategizes, manages, and oversees the entire operations that are associated with the company’s IT systems. On the other hand, a CISO focuses more directly on strategically and tactically managing the details of the company’s IT security posture.

Also, CIOs and CISOs work together when decisions must be made to affect a company on a financial level.

Additionally, it is important to understand that CIOs do have direct and indirect roles associated with a company’s security.
That may include:

  • uses their knowledge of key vulnerabilities to help craft the overarching security policies of certain departments
  • helps to train staff and keep educates personnel about critical vulnerabilities, and
  • helps to operate as a bridge between IT personnel and business personnel, via effective communication practices.
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