This guide is all about a business information security officer (BISO) career path. It includes the kinds of degrees you might need to become a business security officer, as well as salary information and potential professional positions.
The BISO role is a critical player in the cybersecurity game, especially among larger organizations with well-established security programs. BISOs translate organizational objectives into effective processes for protecting against cyber threats and related risks. The BISO works with both technology and business leaders to ensure that cyber security is a part of an organization’s long-term plans.
They serve as a go-between for the security team and the operational teams and they collaborate with and advise other leaders. A BISO can provide a wealth of business expertise and often discuss topics such as compliance, risk assessment, and data loss prevention. By collaborating with a BISO, new technological initiatives can integrate cybersecurity from the outset rather than being added on as an afterthought.
A BISO may also:
- Serve as the primary security contact for the board of directors
- Develop and oversee the implementation of security policies, procedures, and controls
- Conduct risk assessments and manage security incident response
- Monitor compliance with security regulations
- Manage security budgets
BISO skill set
It takes a diverse skill set to become an effective business information security officer. Some of those skills include:
Strong business acumen
BISOs need to understand and speak the language of business. They must be able to clearly articulate the value of cybersecurity investments to business leaders who may not be familiar with the technical details.
Strong technical skills
BISOs must have a deep understanding of cybersecurity technologies and how they can protect their organization’s assets. They should also be familiar with a wide range of IT systems and applications.
Strong communication skills
BISOs must effectively communicate with both technical and non-technical staff. They must be able to translate complex technical concepts into plain English and present them in a way that decision-makers can understand.
Understanding of risk management principles
BISOs must be able to identify, assess, and prioritize risks. They must also be familiar with the principles of risk management and how they apply to cybersecurity.
Strong project management skills
BISOs must manage projects from start to finish. They must develop clear objectives, timelines, and budgets for their projects.
BISOs must also be able to adapt their strategies as new cybertechnology threats emerge. In order to be successful, BISOs need to have a deep understanding of both technology and business.
How to become a BISO
One of the most common ways to become a BISO is through a mix of science and management study. This includes degrees in information technology management, cybersecurity policy and management, and business administration with an information security focus. You’ll gain a strong, business-oriented foundation in IT and cybersecurity principles with these degrees. Coursework covers topics such as risk management, incident response, forensics, and network security.
Other popular degrees include a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology and a law degree with a focus on information security law.
Alternatively, there are many ways to get into the field without a traditional four-year degree. One way is via certifications or bootcamps. Bootcamps vary in length, and can offer a more immersive, hands-on learning experience than traditional classroom instruction. They sometimes can also be more expensive than college courses. There are many types of certifications available, from entry-level to expert.
Certifications for business information security officers
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Offered by (ISC)², CISSP is one of the most popular and well-recognized certifications in the industry. The certificate covers a broad range of topics, including asset security, network security, access control, and cryptography.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Offered by ISACA, CISM is a popular certification that covers general security, risk management, communication, network security, operations and security testing
Offered by ISACA, CRISC is a certification that covers key domains of enterprise risk management: identification, assessment, control, mitigation, and monitoring.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Offered by EC-Council, CEH is a popular certification that covers topics such as corrective and protective countermeasures to protect systems from cyberattacks.
Offered by CompTIA, Security+ is a vendor-neutral certification that covers topics such as network security, cryptography, identity management, threats and vulnerabilities, and risk management.
What does a day in the life of a BISO look like?
The day-to-day duties of a BISO vary depending on the size and structure of the organization they work for.
On a day-to-day basis, a BISO may:
- Monitor security compliance
- Investigate security incidents
- Manage security awareness programs
- Train employees on security procedures
- Implement new security technologies
Some common challenges many BISOs face include:
- Getting buy-in from employees on security procedures
- Keeping up with the latest security threats
- Staying within budget
- Maintaining compliance with security regulations
Business information security officer job descriptions
Interested in learning more about some of the specific career roles in the Business Information Security Officer (BISO) field? Here are some common BISO jobs you might see mentioned in job descriptions:
Business information security officer
The business information security officer (BISO) develops and maintains the security posture of the organization. The BISO works with executive leadership to establish and maintain a risk management program. The BISO also provides guidance on security best practices, manages security awareness training programs, and investigates security incidents.
Other responsibilities include:
- Creating and maintaining security policies and procedures
- Conducting risk assessments
- Investigating security incidents
- Implementing new security technologies
- Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
- Minimum of eight years of experience in information security
- CISSP, CISM, or CRISC certification preferred
Business Unit Information Security Officer
The business unit information security officer is a key leader responsible for directing the company’s Information Security program, including policies and strategy development. This individual will also manage security issues related to business operations & technology (BOT) and act as an information security representative in local security concerns. TBISO will supply read-outs on the efficiency of security measures and acts as a link between the business, IT, and information security departments to ensure compliance across all levels of the organization.
Other responsibilities include:
- Directing the company’s Information Security program
- Managing security issues related to Business Operations & Technology (BOT) and technology
- Acting as an information security representative in local security concerns
- Providing read-outs on the efficiency of security measures
- Master’s degree in Information Systems or related field
- Minimum of ten years of experience in Information Security
- CISSP, CISM, or CRISC certification preferred
Director of business information security
The director of business information security (BIS) develops and leads the business information security program. This role is responsible for creating, maintaining, and improving the systems and processes that protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of company information assets. The Director of BIS reports to the chief information officer (CIO).
- Developing and maintaining the business information security program, including the development of policies, procedures, and standards
- Leading incident response efforts in the event of a data breach or other security incident
- Working with business units to ensure compliance with security policies and procedures
- Conducting risk assessments and security audits
- Researching new security technologies and trends
- Providing guidance and support to business units on security-related issues
- Developing and delivering security awareness training programs
- Maintaining relationships with law enforcement, government agencies, and other stakeholders
- Coordinating with the IT department on technical security issues
- Proven experience in developing and leading business information security programs
- Strong understanding of security principles, technologies, and processes
- Experience with incident response, risk management, and security audits
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to work independently and take initiative
- Flexibility and adaptability
BISO salary ranges
According to salary.com, the average salary range for a business security officer is between $116,685 and $143,202.
Like other careers, this range can depend on a number of factors including geography, experience, and level of education.
The site payscale.com reports that the average BISO salary is $127,000, which is the midpoint of a range that takes into account a variety of factors.
The role of the business information security officer is constantly growing as new technologies and threats emerge. Therefore, it is important for individuals in this role to keep up with industry trends and best practices.
Business information security officers need to have a deep understanding of both technology and business processes. Perhaps most importantly, they must be able to communicate and persuade the business benefits of cybersecurity with stakeholders at all levels of the organization.