Top 11 Chief Information Security Officer Certifications
This article outlines the top certifications for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), providing an overview of what each certification entails and how to obtain it.
Updated 19 min read
Certifications are essential for a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage cybersecurity. Certifications provide employers with an objective measure of a CISO's technical expertise and commitment to staying current on best practices, trends, and technologies. By obtaining certifications, a CISO can gain credibility among employers and demonstrate their ability to protect their organization’s data from cyber threats. Additionally, certifications can help a CISO stand out in comparison to other applicants who may lack similar credentials.
This article reviews the top certifications for Chief Information Security Officers and explains how they can help to advance a CISO's career.
What are Chief Information Security Officer Certifications?
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and experience in information security. It is designed to validate an individual’s expertise in the areas of risk management, incident response, governance, compliance, security operations and other related areas. The CISO certification is offered by a number of organizations including ISACA and CompTIA.
Having a CISO certification can be extremely beneficial for individuals looking to pursue a career in information security. Not only does it demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field, but it also shows potential employers that they are serious about the job and have taken the time to acquire the necessary skills and experience. Employers value employees with CISO certifications because they know they are well-versed in the latest trends and technologies related to information security, as well as knowledgeable about best practices for managing risks associated with cyber threats.
Additionally, having a CISO certification can open up opportunities for individuals who want to move up within their organization or take on leadership roles related to cybersecurity. Many organizations require that their top leaders have some form of cybersecurity certification or training before assuming such positions. Having a CISO certification can give individuals an edge over those without one when applying for these positions.
In short, obtaining a CISO certification can help those interested in pursuing a career in information security by validating their knowledge and experience, opening up new opportunities within their organization or elsewhere, and providing them with the confidence needed to succeed in such roles.
Pro Tip: When considering a Chief Information Security Officer (CISCO) certification, look for programs that offer an industry-recognized credential. This will ensure that your certification is valid and valuable in the eyes of potential employers. Additionally, make sure to research the program thoroughly to ensure it covers all the necessary topics and provides adequate support for exam preparation.
Top 11 Chief Information Security Officer Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Chief Information Security Officers today.
1. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is an advanced certification offered by ISACA, a global association of information security and assurance professionals. The CISM certification is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage, design, oversee, and assess an enterprise's information security.
To become certified, applicants must have at least five years of professional experience in information security management and must pass a four-hour exam. The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions covering topics such as information security governance, risk management and compliance, incident management and response, business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning.
It typically takes between six months to one year for individuals to prepare for the CISM exam. Preparation resources include self-study materials such as books and online courses as well as instructor-led courses offered by ISACA or third-party providers.
The cost of the CISM exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken. In the United States, the fee is $575 for members of ISACA or $760 for non-members. In other countries, fees may vary from $400-$1,000 USD depending on exchange rates.
2. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is an information security certification issued by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)2. It is a globally recognized standard of achievement that confirms an individual's knowledge in the field of information security.
The CISSP exam consists of 250 multiple-choice questions and takes up to 6 hours to complete. The exam covers 8 domains of information security: Access Control, Telecommunications and Network Security, Software Development Security, Cryptography, Physical Security, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning, Legal Regulations and Compliance, and Operations Security.
To be eligible for the CISSP exam you must have at least 5 years of cumulative paid work experience in two or more of the 8 domains listed above. You can also qualify if you have a 4-year college degree or an additional credential from the (ISC)2 approved list.
The cost to take the CISSP exam varies depending on where you live but typically ranges from $699-$1,199 USD. This fee includes access to online resources such as practice exams and study materials.
3. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a professional certification program that provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to identify, assess, and counter security threats. It is designed to teach ethical hacking techniques and methodologies used by malicious hackers. The CEH certification is offered by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council).
The CEH exam consists of 125 multiple choice questions which must be completed in four hours. To pass the exam, candidates must score a minimum of 70%. The cost of the exam varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD.
In order to become certified as a CEH, you must complete an authorized training course. These courses are offered by EC-Council approved training providers and typically range from 5-7 days in length. After completing the training course, you will receive an official voucher code which can be used to register for the CEH exam at any Pearson VUE testing center worldwide.
Once you have passed the CEH exam, you will receive your official certificate from EC-Council within 8-10 weeks. The cost of these courses vary depending on provider but typically range from $1,000-$2,000 USD.
4. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a professional certification offered by ISACA, an international nonprofit association focused on IT governance. CISA certification is designed to recognize individuals who have the knowledge and skills necessary to audit, control, monitor, and assess information systems within an organization.
It typically takes around 3-6 months to prepare for the CISA exam. To get certified, applicants must pass a four-hour exam that covers five domains: auditing information systems; governance and management of IT; information systems acquisition, development, and implementation; information systems operations, maintenance, and support; and protection of information assets.
The cost of the CISA certification varies depending on where you take the exam. The cost for taking the exam in North America is $575 for members of ISACA and $760 for nonmembers. The cost for taking the exam outside of North America is $765 for members of ISACA and $950 for nonmembers.
5. CompTIA Security+
CompTIA Security+ is an entry-level certification for IT professionals who want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in information security. It is a globally recognized, vendor-neutral certification that validates the baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career.
The CompTIA Security+ exam covers topics such as network security, compliance and operational security, threats and vulnerabilities, application, data and host security, access control and identity management, cryptography, and more. The exam consists of 90 multiple choice questions that must be completed within 90 minutes.
To earn the CompTIA Security+ certification you must pass the exam with a score of 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900. You can take the exam at any Pearson VUE testing center or online through OnVUE. The cost of the exam is $349 USD (plus applicable taxes).
It typically takes about three months to prepare for the CompTIA Security+ exam depending on your experience level. To prepare for the exam you should have hands-on experience with networking technologies as well as familiarity with risk management best practices and other areas covered by the exam objectives. You can also study using books, online courses, practice tests, or other resources available online.
6. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)
GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC) is a certification program designed to demonstrate an individual’s knowledge and skills in the areas of information security. It is an entry-level certification that is intended for IT professionals who are new to the field of information security, or those who want to advance their career by obtaining a more comprehensive understanding of the security landscape.
The GSEC exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete. The exam covers topics such as network security, cryptography, authentication, access control, risk management, system hardening, incident response, and other related topics.
To obtain the GSEC certification you must first pass the GSEC exam. To register for the exam you must create a GIAC account and purchase an exam voucher from GIAC's website. The cost of the voucher varies depending on your country of residence but typically ranges from $1,000 - $1,500 USD. Once your voucher has been purchased you can schedule your exam at any Pearson VUE testing center worldwide.
Once you have passed the GSEC exam you will be awarded with a certificate indicating your successful completion of the program. This certificate will remain valid for 4 years after which time it must be renewed by taking another GSEC exam or completing another GIAC certification program.
7. ISACA Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
ISACA Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) is a certification program that recognizes IT professionals who have the knowledge and skills to identify, assess, control, and monitor information systems risks. It is designed for IT professionals with at least three years of experience in risk management or IT control-related roles.
To get the CRISC certification, candidates must pass an exam that tests their knowledge of four domains: Risk Identification, Assessment & Evaluation; Risk Response; Risk Monitoring; and Information Systems Controls. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes 3 hours to complete.
In order to apply for the CRISC certification, applicants must be members of ISACA and pay a $50 application fee. The cost of the exam itself is $575 for members and $760 for non-members. Once the application has been approved, candidates can register for the exam through Pearson VUE.
The CRISC certification is valid for three years from the date it was awarded. To maintain it, candidates must earn 120 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits during that time period.
8. EC-Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO)
EC-Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO) is a certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and experience of senior security professionals. It is the first of its kind to provide certification for high-level information security executives. The CCISO program provides an understanding of the overall management of information security, including strategic planning, risk management, and compliance.
The CCISO certification requires a minimum of five years' experience in information security management or executive roles. Candidates must also pass an exam that covers five domains: Governance, Risk Management & Compliance; Legal & Regulatory Issues; Security Program Management; Security Infrastructure; and Security Incident Management & Response.
It typically takes about six months to prepare for the exam and complete all requirements. To get started, candidates should review their work experience and determine which areas they need to focus on studying for the exam. They can then purchase study materials from EC-Council or find online resources to help them prepare for the exam.
The cost of obtaining the CCISO certification varies depending on how much preparation is required and what type of study materials are purchased. The cost of the exam itself is $1,199 USD plus applicable taxes per attempt.
9. ISC2 Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
The Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) is a certification offered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2). It is designed to validate an individual’s knowledge and skills in the areas of systems security, risk management, network security, cryptography, access control and other related topics. The SSCP certification is widely accepted as a baseline qualification for those who wish to pursue a career in information security.
To become certified as an SSCP, you must pass an exam administered by ISC2. The exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions that cover seven domains: Access Controls; Security Operations and Administration; Risk Identification, Monitoring and Analysis; Incident Response and Recovery; Cryptography; Network Security; and Systems and Application Security. You must have at least three years of experience in one or more of these domains to be eligible to take the exam.
The cost of the SSCP examination varies depending on your location but typically ranges from $250-$500 USD. The exam typically takes around two hours to complete.
Once you have passed the exam, you will need to submit an application for certification with ISC2 which includes providing proof of your work experience in one or more of the seven domains covered by the exam. Upon successful completion of this process, you will be awarded the SSCP certification which is valid for three years from date of issue.
10. ISACA’s Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT)
ISACA’s Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) is a globally recognized certification that validates an individual’s knowledge and experience in enterprise IT governance. It is designed to recognize individuals who have an extensive understanding of the principles, practices, and tools associated with the governance of enterprise IT.
The CGEIT certification requires applicants to have a minimum of five years’ work experience in information systems auditing, control, security, risk management or IT governance. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours.
To get the CGEIT certification, you must first register for the exam through ISACA's website. Once registered, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online application form. After submitting your application form, you will be required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $575 USD (or equivalent in local currency). You will also need to provide two professional references who can attest to your knowledge and experience related to IT governance.
Once your application has been approved by ISACA, you will be able to schedule your exam date at one of their testing centers around the world. Upon passing the exam, you will receive an official certificate from ISACA and become a Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT).
11. SANS Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)
SANS Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) is an industry-recognized certification program for information security professionals. It is designed to validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of IT security professionals who are responsible for protecting organizations from cyber threats. GIAC certifications are designed to ensure that individuals have a comprehensive understanding of the technologies and processes necessary to protect networks and systems from attack.
To become certified in a GIAC program, individuals must pass an exam that covers topics such as incident response, digital forensics, cryptography, network security, system hardening, and other related topics. The exams are administered by SANS Institute and can be taken at various testing centers around the world. Depending on the certification track chosen, it may take anywhere from one day to several months to complete all requirements for certification.
The cost of obtaining a GIAC certification varies depending on the certification track chosen and whether or not an individual chooses to attend a SANS training course prior to taking the exam. Generally speaking, most GIAC certifications range in cost from $500 USD up to $2,000 USD or more.
In addition to taking the exam and paying the associated fee(s), individuals must also meet certain prerequisites before they can take any GIAC exams. These prerequisites vary depending on the specific certification track chosen but typically include having at least two years of professional experience in information security or related fields.
Do You Really Need a Chief Information Security Officer Certificate?
Yes, having a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) certificate is an important step in ensuring the security of your organization’s data and systems. The CISO is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring security policies and procedures to protect the organization from cyber threats. Having a CISO with a valid certification demonstrates that the individual has been trained on current best practices in information security.
Certified CISOs are educated on topics related to risk management, compliance, and cyber threats. They understand how to identify potential risks and take proactive steps to mitigate them before they become an issue. A certified CISO also knows how to create a secure environment by implementing appropriate controls, such as access control lists or encryption protocols. Additionally, they can provide guidance on developing an incident response plan and training staff on proper cybersecurity measures.
Having a certified CISO is essential for organizations of all sizes because it ensures that the security measures in place are up-to-date and well-maintained. It shows that the organization takes its security seriously and that it is committed to protecting its data from malicious actors. Certifications also help ensure that the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to handle any potential incidents or breaches that may occur. Ultimately, having a qualified CISO with a valid certification helps organizations stay ahead of cyber threats through proactive strategies rather than reactive efforts after an attack has already occurred.
FAQs About Chief Information Security Officer Certifications
1. What is a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Certification?
Answer: A CISO Certification is a professional certification awarded to individuals who demonstrate expertise in the field of cybersecurity and information security management. It is designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a high level of competency in the areas of risk management, information security governance, and technical security controls.
2. What are the benefits of a CISO Certification?
Answer: There are several benefits associated with obtaining a CISO Certification. These include increased credibility within the cybersecurity industry, improved job prospects, higher salary potential, and greater recognition among peers and employers. Additionally, having a CISO Certification can provide assurance that an organization’s information security posture is being managed by someone with the necessary skills and knowledge.
3. How do I obtain a CISO Certification?
Answer: In order to obtain a CISO Certification, you must first complete an approved training program or course from an accredited educational institution or certifying body. After completing your training, you may then apply for certification through the certifying body or organization offering it.
4. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining a CISO Certification?
Answer: Yes, some certifying bodies or organizations may require applicants to have prior experience in cybersecurity or related fields before they can apply for certification. Additionally, some organizations may require applicants to pass certain examinations or tests as part of their application process.
5. How long does it take to get certified as a Chief Information Security Officer?
Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified as a Chief Information Security Officer will vary depending on the certifying body or organization offering the certification program as well as each individual’s background and experience level in cybersecurity and related fields. Generally speaking however, most certifications can be obtained within 6-12 months if all prerequisites are met and all requirements are completed on time.