Cybersecurity Experts In High Demand:
Bridging the Gap

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As the need for strong cybersecurity programs continues to grow in today's business landscape, organizations recognize the importance of including security executives. Cyber risk has become integral to overall business risk, prompting businesses to seek Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) who can contribute to board-level governance conversations. However, a significant gap exists between the demand for qualified cyber experts and the supply of CISOs with the necessary skills and traits to serve as board members. This blog provides insights into the rising trend of cybersecurity experts being targeted for board seats, discuss the skills and traits that enhances their board candidacy.

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The Growing Need for Cybersecurity Expertise

In recent years, the visibility of risk and regulatory compliance within organizations has increased, leading to a greater emphasis on security-related initiatives and controls. Addressing these controls has often fallen under the CISO's responsibility, given their cybersecurity expertise. With security incidents frequently making headlines, boards of directors are pressured to demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity and its importance in safeguarding the organization. Elevating the CISO to a position of responsibility and authority on the board has proven to be an effective way for organizations to address these concerns.

The Demand for Qualified Cyber Experts

While the need for CISOs on boards is evident, the available pool of qualified candidates remains limited. A recent report on CISO board readiness revealed that only 15% of CISOs possess the broader traits required for board-level positions, including a holistic understanding of the business, a global perspective, and the ability to navigate a range of stakeholders. Additionally, 90% of public companies lack a qualified cyber expert, creating a significant supply-demand gap.

Essential Skills for Board-Level Cyber Experts

To enhance their board candidacy, cybersecurity experts at the board level (CISOs) must develop diverse skills beyond technical expertise. Three critical areas for CISOs to focus on include strong soft skills for effective engagement, diversified business experience for meaningful contributions, and effective communication and branding to convey complex security topics. Additionally, understanding risk beyond technology and possessing good business acumen allows CISOs to comprehend the company's revenue generation and overall risk landscape. These skills are essential for successful board-level cybersecurity professionals.

As organizations recognize the significance of cybersecurity in mitigating business risk, the demand for qualified cyber experts on boards is increasing. CISOs have a unique opportunity to function as cyber experts, but they must broaden their skills and traits to meet board-level expectations. Developing soft skills, diversifying business experience, and effective communication are essential for CISOs aiming to become credible board members. By bridging the supply-demand gap and nurturing cyber expertise at the board level, organizations can enhance their cybersecurity programs and protect their assets in an increasingly challenging threat landscape.