Skills and traits of a business-savvy CISO

CISOs looking to advance their careers or land a plum job must prove they are really on top of their game. Here's what recruiters say sets business-savvy CISOs apart.

Double-exposure shot of a businesswoman using a mobile phone, binary code and statistical graphs..
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What does it mean to be ‘business-savvy?’

A broad and somewhat vague term, being business-savvy can cover everything from having a formal business education or background to demonstrating a strong understanding of an organization’s mission and industry or being responsible for hands-on business deliverables.

When an organization stresses the need for a CISO to be business-savvy, they are looking for someone who is "well rounded and experienced with all aspects of the business,"says Peter Jakola, a technical recruiter at Darwin Recruitment.

This focus on business value is understandable in today's corporate environment. According to CIO's recent Pandemic Business Impact Survey, CEOs' top three priorities for IT leaders are Leading digital business initiatives, improving remote work experiences, and upgrading IT and data security to boost corporate resiliency.

“Sitting in on meetings with developers, sales teams, marketing, customer service will provide a holistic view of the organization and how it’s operating," Jakola says. "Sometimes managers and leaders get siloed into division and lose sight of what is going on at the company. A business-savvy CISO has a pulse on all aspects of the business, not just the security operations.”

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