They’re jacks of business trades, masters of tech translation. They bring high-level technical expertise, solid sense of leadership, and old-fashioned business savvy to the table with a side order of strong interpersonal skills. Meet the BISO (Business Information Security Officer).
What is a BISO?
The rise of the Business Information Security Officer comes at the heels of ever-growing responsibilities for CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers), who may be feeling the pressure to expand their technical know-how while also forging critical internal communication paths. A BISO’s responsibility is to span the gap between high-level executives, who may not understand the day-to-day of an IT team, and the IT team, who may lack an understanding of the organization’s larger goals, processes, and assets.
While a CISO might implement a long-term strategy to benefit the organization’s profits and expansion, a BISO implements tactical security procedures at the operations level in order to benefit the organization’s business and bring the two spheres closer together. This involves overseeing communication between and across departments, as well as translating IT data into strategic initiatives—and vice versa.
Get serious about cyber defense.
Your BISO should be a team player with a sharp eye for identifying and resolving issues. And, because good IT security spans weak points from the mailroom to the executive suite, a BISO needs to be an effective communicator and adaptable enough to work at all levels of your organization. The BISO also takes on the responsibility of being the first point of contact for cybersecurity crises, acting as a sort of “switchboard” to keep everyone organized in case of emergency. Thus, they’ll take a central role in incident response and disaster recovery teams, as well as related preparation via tabletop exercises.
In addition to strong communication, the successful BISO needs a broad skillset. IANS Research notes essential BISO Skills and Experience, ideally including 15 years in cybersecurity, with at least three in business leadership and enterprise-wide endeavors, as well as a blend of personal integrity and interpersonal influence that garner organization-wide confidence. These traits lay the groundwork for an effective BISO, who can manage complex IT projects and assets, while also acting as the go-between between the technical side of that planning and the operational side that delivers.
Above all, the BISO recognizes security objectives as essential to the organization’s advancement and ultimate success. An IT security breach can be the difference between a smooth-sailing year and months of fines, questioning, and repeated blows to an organization’s reputation. By delegating to a BISO who specializes in disaster response, you may significantly reduce the costly impact of a malicious or negative event.
A Day in the Life
You’re a BISO at a high-level healthcare organization, working hard to keep your valuable PHI safe and your lines of communication clear. You’re reviewing a list of security awareness programs and procedures to send out to your employee pool in a training module.
You receive word of a troubling potential security breach: your organization may be unknowingly violating HIPAA standards. It’s time to review, remediate, and report — take stock of the incident, determine the best measures for remediation, and keep your friends in the executives’ circle and the IT security department apprised of the risks and solutions at hand.
BISOs are always spinning multiple plates. The responsibility of ensuring compliance with multiple security standards, on top of dealing with recalcitrant employee teams and communication breakdowns, is a taxing one. But with these duties divided between the BISO and their counterpart in infosec, the CISO, each respective officer can focus on their respective arenas.
BISOs vs. CISOs?
The BISO and the CISO may seem at odds with each other, but a good BISO works as an extension of the CISO and their agenda for corporate security. Whereas the CISO heads up an organization’s cybersecurity program, and implements security initiatives in line with business objectives, it’s on the BISO to demonstrate the value of those initiatives in the organization’s growth and take charge of an overall push towards innovation. Still, each can take a page from each other’s dos and don’ts.
The BISO can review and adapt new technologies for the organization in pursuit of this success, showing the corporation how compliance and security will ultimately secure their long-term goals. If your executives understand the importance of IT security implementation and remediation, and take an active role in approving new initiatives and assessments, you have a great BISO on your side.
BISOs can also help to alleviate the strain of adapting to new security standards and tracking a slew of vendors, layered IT projects, and costly assets. IT security is made of complex processes, and it never hurts to have a translator who speaks the language of information security and corporate success alike. That’s where the BISO can streamline processes and give key departments in your organization a newfound appreciation for each other.
To BISO or Not To BISO
An exhaustive IT Security Assessment is a key method for assessing gaps in your security posture—gaps which may justify an additional officer to bridge departments.
With a dedicated force of exceptional in-house IT security experts who have worked for top-level security organizations worldwide, our team at BAI Security utilizes independently validated assessment tools for comprehensive, highly accurate results.