Save time with unbiased, independent feedback on vendor solutions.
Watch weekly bite-sized webinars hosted by IANS Faculty.
The new SEC Cyber Rules requiring public companies to disclose the cybersecurity expertise of members of the board of directors open up new opportunities for CISOs interested in corporate board director roles.
In this piece we're highlighting findings from our CISOs as Board Directors, CISO Board Readiness Analysis.
The underlying report, fielded together with Artico Search and The CAP Group provides key insights and actionable guidance for both companies and aspiring board ready CISOs.
Board directorships are an excellent way for CISOs to use their experience to serve companies in a governance capacity, as well as an opportunity to broaden their network and build professional prestige.
We break down the process for CISOs pursuing board positions into three steps:
As a CISO, it is important to understand how your skills and background align with the requirements for board directorships, which fall into two broad categories: The first looks at background and experiences that make up “board traits” and
the second looks at soft skills.
1. Reviewing background and experiences: Our research found five overarching attributes, or board traits, that make CISOs appealing board candidates—infosec tenure, noncyber experience, scale, higher education and diversity. CISOs possessing four
or more of these traits will rank highly as board candidates. However, only 14% of R1000 CISOs fall in this group of ideal candidates. Following this group are those owning 3 board traits, which represents 33% of R1000 CISOs. Figure 1 describes the
underlying traits and metrics that CISOs can use to assess their profiles.
2. Evaluating soft skills: While board traits serve as the hard criteria for shortlisting cyber expert board candidates, soft skills are equally important and assessed in competency-based candidate interviews.
As board directors, CISOs must be capable of providing governance guidance; standing their ground alongside business executives; and demonstrating proficiency in influence, persuasion, empathy, relationship management, active listening and clarity of
One way for CISOs to gauge their soft skills is by evaluating their relationships with their company’s executives and board of directors. CISOs who actively participate in C-suite and board meetings and who have developed a deep understanding of
individuals’ agendas generally exhibit strong soft skills. However, most CISOs do not fall in that category.
For CISOs who need to up-level their board traits and/or soft skills, we recommend a three-tiered improvement plan based on which type of candidate CISOs profile as—emerging, strong or ideal:
CISOs, though part of a tight-knit community, may not be widely recognized outside of cyber circles. To expand their visibility and exposure, CISOs should focus on:
By focusing on these areas, CISOs can enhance their personal brand, increase their visibility beyond the cyber community and have a greater impact in their field.
“Be honest and self-aware when assessing your readiness to serve. Solicit coaching from experienced board directors when defining your game plan. The transition to the board is significant, so plan methodically for the long haul.”
- Brian Walker, Founder, CEO, The Cap Group
Find additional research-backed findings and recommendations on the preferred traits of candidates for companies and aspiring board-ready CISOs to be prepared for the new SEC Cyber rules. Download the CISOs as Board Directors, CISO Board Readiness Analysis.
Get in touch to learn more about IANS professional development options for you or for members of your team.
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.
September 26, 2023
By IANS Faculty
Access key data sets from the 2023 edition of IANS and Artico Search’s Security Budget Benchmark Report. Gain valuable insights on security budget increases and the drivers behind them.
September 21, 2023
Learn why CISOs Need D&O Liability Insurance Coverage now more than ever along with guidance to help minimize potential cyber liability risk.
September 19, 2023
Discover the diversity of IANS Faculty's real-world expertise. Learn how our faculty members can help you solve your most challenging security issues.