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Nine (9) Mantra’s for a Successful Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of an Enterprise (Nava Gunavatta)

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Cyber Secure India

As per recent reports in the media: India in the year 2023 had recorded a total of 2,138 weekly cyberattacks per organisation. This is a record increase from the year 2022. The Data Breaches and Cyber Attacks globally for the year 2023, stands at 82,14,886,660 records.

Organisation today are at the highest rate of cyberattacks. The role of a chief information security officer (CISO) has become more important — and much more visible. Organisations are now moving to large scale invests to guard their infrastructures, networks and sensitive data against attacks. CISOs need to work closely with other senior executives, such as the chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO), to ensure that the organisation’s security program is effective and efficient. It is also worth a mention that the key responsibility for a CISO within the organisation is also to provide guidance on cybersecurity at a strategic level. The CISO is also required to sure organisations remain compliant with cybersecurity standards, policy, regulations and legislation.

CISO in an organization should possess the nine qualities, and the same is elaborated below:

  1. Connect: This may refer to the ability of a CISO to connect with various stakeholders within and outside the organization. Building relationships and networks can be crucial for effective cybersecurity management.

  2. Technical Knowledge: A CISO should have a strong understanding of technical aspects of cybersecurity, including knowledge of information systems, network security, application security, encryption, etc.

  3. Forethought: This implies the ability to anticipate and plan for future cybersecurity challenges. Proactive thinking and planning are essential in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

  4. Strategic Thinking: CISOs need to align cybersecurity strategies with overall business goals. They should be able to develop and implement strategic plans that enhance the organization’s security posture.

  5. Business Process Knowledge: Understanding the organization’s business processes is crucial for a CISO. This knowledge helps in tailoring cybersecurity measures to the specific needs and risks of the organization.

  6. Communication Skills: Effective communication is key for a CISO. They must be able to convey complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders and articulate the importance of cybersecurity in a way that aligns with business objectives.

  7. Team Building: Building and leading a capable cybersecurity team is essential. This involves not only technical skills but also the ability to foster collaboration and create a positive work environment.

  8. Leadership Traits: CISOs should possess strong leadership qualities, including the ability to make decisions under pressure, inspire confidence, and provide direction during cybersecurity incidents.

  9. Malleability: In the context of a CISO role, malleability could refer to adaptability and the ability to respond to changing threat landscapes. Being flexible and open to adopting new technologies and strategies is crucial.


The CISO in an organisation is faced by many challenges. A successful CISO can only be an ideal adjective as this complex role, requiring a diverse range of skills and traits. The ability to convince management, manage subordinates and the technology is also attributable to the CISO. A successful CISO must be a strong leader, possess technical knowledge, manage risk effectively, have business acumen, communicate effectively, think strategically, collaborate, be flexible, pay attention to detail, and possess emotional intelligence. Sharpening the 9 Gunavattas mentioned will enable a CISO to lead their team to success and effectively protect their company’s assets.

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