CISM CERTIFICATION: HOW TO BECOME A CYBER SECURITY MANAGER
A cyber security manager is an IT professional who has likely seen and done it all. They have been through scores of technical and systems audits, have amassed higher education and skills, and are able to delegate resources and authority to other employees as it best suits their company's needs.
WHAT DOES A CYBER SECURITY MANAGER DO?
As an information systems security manager, your job will be more managerial than technical. You will need to organize a team of professionals who can get the job done efficiently and correctly.
STRATEGY & AUDITS
You will work with them to create strategies for security protocols and audits. They will carry out your policies and procedures for corporate computer security to ensure that the company does not fall victim to corporate crime.
If a security breach does occur, you will need to head up a forensic investigation and then perform a thorough audit to assess the weaknesses in your systems.
Then, it will be imperative to direct your team toward solutions that will ensure that future breaches do not occur. Another of your responsibilities will be to stay current with trends in cyber security. You may also want to consult with law enforcement professionals who specialize in cyber crime. The more you know about how the bad guys create and use malware or other tactics, the safer your databases will be.
Your days will be spent conducting tests and performing other assessments of new security software that you will be responsible for selecting and installing. You will need to know how to best manage a given budget for these items while maintaining a diligent watch over other budgetary concerns such as departmental payroll, hardware costs, expenses, and incidentals that occur during a budget cycle.
TEAM BUILDING & MANAGEMENT
Since you are a manager, you will be asked to do the hiring and firing for your security team. You will also need to be adept at working with employees who are having a difficult time and be supportive when employees have a breakthrough moment in their lives—such as graduating from a master's degree program in cyber security. The best cyber security managers are good communicators and their style will often be carried down through the department as an example of effective leadership.
If you work in a governmental agency or if you are a government contractor, you will need to make sure that your staff receives the appropriate security clearances for the work you are doing. You and your department may need to meet the same level of scrutiny as those in the military or Homeland Security.
STEPS TO BECOMING A CYBER SECURITY MANAGER
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security or a Related Field
Cyber security managers typically have a degree in cyber security, computer science, information technology, or a related field. A bachelor's program in cyber security provides foundational knowledge and technical skills in areas such as network security, risk management, and digital forensics.
Step 2: Gain Relevant Work Experience
Employers typically prefer candidates with several years of work experience in the cyber security field. Entry-level positions can include roles such as cyber security analyst, network administrator, or IT support specialist. Working in these positions will provide valuable experience and allow you to develop technical skills in digital security.
Step 3: Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Certification
The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates expertise in information security management. It is offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).
To obtain the CISM certification, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have at least five years of experience in information security, with a minimum of three years of experience in information security management.
- Pass the CISM exam, which covers four domains:
- Information Security Governance,
- Risk Management,
- Information Security Program Development and Management,
- and Information Security Incident Management.
- Adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics.
Obtaining the CISM certification can help you to demonstrate your expertise in information security management, which is a critical skill for a cyber security manager. Additionally, the certification can help you to stand out to employers and advance your career in the cyber security field. Other popular cyber security certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
Step 4: Develop Leadership and Management Skills
As a cyber security manager, you will be responsible for leading a team of information security professionals. Developing leadership and management skills will help you to effectively manage and motivate your team. Consider taking courses or obtaining certifications in leadership, project management, or business administration.
Step 5: Pursue Continuing Education and Stay Up-to-Date on Cyber Security Trends
Information security is an ever-changing field, and it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, threats, and technologies. Pursuing continuing education and staying current with industry news and events can help you to maintain your knowledge and skills. Attending conferences, participating in webinars, and networking with other professionals can also provide valuable opportunities to learn and grow in your career.
CYBER SECURITY MANAGER VS. CISO—(CISM VS CISO)
In a large company or agency, you might work as a security manager and have a CISO above you. Often this will be the case if there is more than one security department, or if there is one large department with multiple divisions, such as in a multi-national (or even multi-state) corporation.
In these types of situations, the information systems security manager might oversee a single department of between five and 25 IT professionals. Each manager would then answer to the CISO, whose responsibility would extend to overseeing the entire security complex.
As such, the CISO would likely have risen through the IT ranks through a mid-level managerial position and finally arrive at the top of the security pyramid. The CISO's duties would mirror that of the manager he or she oversees, but on a larger scale.
They would need to manage large budgets and hire other management-level employees. The CISO will set the tone for the entire department and will need to maintain morale for everyone down to the entry-level network administrators.
INFORMATION SECURITY MANAGER ROLES
There is no clear-cut path to being a cyber security manager, but there are tiers of responsibility that apply to nearly every IT department. Starting from an entry-level position, you will need to make sure that you are working in a security department, or that your job duties entail security protocols.
In the field of information technology, there are many jobs with virtually the same duties and descriptions but different names. When you have earned enough experience and garnered the skills to rise to a mid-level management position, start looking for jobs with these or similar titles:
- Systems Security Director
- Information Security Manager
- Information Systems Manager
- IT Security Director
- Systems/Applications Security Manager
CYBER SECURITY MANAGER SALARY
Experts in the field of computer security are in great demand and in these periods of high demand, professionals can also command high salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' current Occupational Employment Statistics, the median annual salary for an information security manager is $164,070.
ANNUAL MEDIAN SALARY OF
Information Security Manager
The job outlook for the field is quite positive too, with projections showing a 15.4% growth through 2032—a figure the BLS states is faster than average.
JOB REQUIREMENTS FOR CYBER SECURITY MANAGEMENT
To become an information security manager, you need to have approximately 10 years of experience in computer security. You will need to meet the minimum education requirement of a bachelor's degree with additional certificates.
If you want to progress past a security manager position, you will likely need an MBA that focuses on IT security. This will help you get noticed for senior and CISO roles in your company or agency.
You'll need an undergraduate degree to get started on this career path, typically a bachelor's degree. But if you're short on time, or want to complete courses now to rely on later, an associate degree in cyber security may be for you.
Whichever stage of life you're at, you can start your journey by utilizing the Find Schools widget on this page to browse our database of trusted universities and colleges that offer information security programs all the way from bootcamps to doctoral degrees.