Guidelines for the BISO Role

March 14, 2023 | By IANS Faculty

The BISO role connects the dots between the central security agenda and the various divisional CIOs in organizations with multiple business units or geographical locations. Working in tandem with the business across multiple services and platforms to address risk, BISOs provide advice to business leaders to ensure they are making decisions with security in mind. 

This piece provides an overview of the responsibilities of a BISO for organizations looking to hire an individual in this role to help enhance communication around security risks across business units.

BISO Role Summary

The BISO provides leadership, executive support, and strategic and tactical guidance for the cybersecurity program supporting enterprise security initiatives. As a business enabler, the BISO is an effective communicator with the technical aptitude to drive security fundamentals into aspects of the business.  

BISOs must be capable of working closely with senior management, third parties, project managers and business subject matter experts (SMEs). Additionally, BISOs should be personable and able to translate cybersecurity issues to business leader initiatives. The BISO role requires a technical background and ability to understand technologies, their purpose, and their security requirements and data protection needs, wherever they reside. BISOs should also understand threats, as well as risk mitigations and technical controls recommended by security leaders.

Typical BISO Role Responsibilities 

  • Serve as a trusted advisor with business unit leadership.
  • Act as a liaison to ensure cybersecurity practices are built into business unit initiatives for the entire lifecycle.
  • Act as a trusted point of contact across business units.
  • Work closely with security leadership to instill cybersecurity policies and practices throughout business units to address security operations, incident response, application security and infrastructure.
  • Be actively informed and engaged in security projects across the business.
  • Provide disaster recovery and business continuity planning advice when working with leaders for business and cybersecurity resiliency. 
  • Enforce the strong security culture set forth by the CISO, ensuring uniformity across security leadership, business units and employees.
  • Foster strong relationships with internal business units and excel in cybersecurity communication. 
  • Advise business units on enterprise-wide people, process and technology security recommendations.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge related to security threats, vulnerabilities and mitigations set forth to reduce the attack surface; circulate this knowledge through the business units.
  • Ensure business projects are focused on cybersecurity from the beginning.
  • Identify and document threats and vulnerabilities that may impact the business and address them regularly with business units.
  • In conjunction with security and business leaders, define key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics aligning with business initiatives and deliver them to non-technical teams in terms that are accessible and comprehensible. 
  • Provide motivation to business units to adopt cybersecurity controls. 
  • Remove complexity and obstacles that hinder efficient security controls enterprise-wide.
  • Build relationships with business units to deliver security-by-design controls incorporated into projects, architecture, infrastructure and applications.
  • Stay abreast of new laws, regulations and standards, and assess their impact to the business.
  • Verify security content training initiatives and internal/external communication are conducted regularly.
  • Openly support the CISO, management team and executive leadership, even during tumultuous times.
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

READ: Build a Stronger Security Culture with a BISO 

BISO Skills and Experience 

  • At least 10+ years’ cybersecurity experience (or information technology coupled with cybersecurity), with at least 5+ years in an operationally focused security practitioner role. 
  • At least 3 years’ experience working with business leadership and enterprise projects.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills across all levels of the organization.
  • Capable of working with diverse teams and promoting an enterprise-wide positive security culture.
  • High level of integrity, trustworthiness and confidence, and able to represent the company and security leadership with the highest level of professionalism. 
  • Adept at understanding business focus and processes and ability to inject cybersecurity into the business through teamwork and influence.
  • Strong project management, multitasking and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse teams and varying personalities and adapt management style to effectively reach mutually beneficial outcomes. 
  • Able to attain and preserve credibility with the team through sustained industry knowledge. 
  • Able to motivate the team to achieve excellence and give credit and recognition where it is due.
  • Applicable knowledge of national and global cybersecurity policies, regulations and security frameworks.
  • Demonstrated understanding and comprehension of a wide range of cybersecurity solutions.

GET STARTED: BISO Compensation & Career Survey 

BISO Role Additional Qualifications 

  • Proven trustworthiness and history of acting with integrity, taking pride in work, seeking to excel, being curious and adaptable, and communicating well. 
  • Self-starter requiring minimal supervision. 
  • Possesses general business administration competencies. 
  • Excellence in communicating privacy, business risk and remediation requirements from assessments.
  • Outstanding written and verbal business and cybersecurity communication skills.
  • Highly organized and efficient.
  • Demonstrated strategic and tactical thinking, along with decision-making skills and business acumen.

BISO Education Requirements 

  • Bachelor's degree in business administration, information assurance or related technical field.
  • Master’s degree not required, but advanced degree (e.g., an MBA or master’s in information assurance or computer science) is preferred. 

BISO Experience Requirements 

  • 3+ years of cybersecurity or information technology project management.
  • 5+ years of related security systems administration (preferable).
  • 10+ years of cybersecurity and/or information technology experience.

BISO Certifications Requirements 

  • Preferable, but not required: CISSP, CISM, CRISC, CISA 

Although reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in our blog posts, no liability can be accepted by IANS or our Faculty members for the results of any actions taken by individuals or firms in connection with such information, opinions, or advice.

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