CISO Salaries are looking good for 2014

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CISO Salaries are looking good for 2014

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Chief Information Security Officers or CISOs are doing pretty good for themselves in 2014. We talk to a lot of consultants and IT security professionals here at Concise Courses and this post is a reflection of several conversations we have had this year.

Certifications typically taken by CISO’s or those wishing to become a CISO



Certified Chief Security Officer (C|CISO)

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Certified Security Leadership Officer (CSLO)

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Certified Systems Security Officer (CISSO)

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Certified Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

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In fact, when researching this post we discovered that so far this year, CISOs seem to be making as much as other C-Level executives. In some instances, senior information security executives are expected to earn almost as much as IT Directors, and IT Departmental Heads. In 2013, the CISO salary ranged between £72,000 and £130,500 in the UK whilst in the USA the salary ranges are expected to rise by 3.5% this year. It is much the same story elsewhere in the world. Please do chime in with a comment below if you feel that you can share your salary and whether the remuneration packages are indeed a fair reflection of your skills.

According to [but not limited to] the Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research, InfoSec departments are expected to grow the fastest in 2014 – in terms of budgeting – that naturally reflects higher CISO salaries. Our opinion is that the rise in InfoSec recruitment spending can be attributed to a better overall economic climate, and, for the obvious fact that information security (cyber security) has now become a fixed item on the agenda. By ‘fixed-item’ we mean that it has now finally secured the attention of senior management. As a result, senior execs and boards are OK with higher CISO salaries – for the right candidates.

There’s a huge demand for quality CISO professionals and quality cyber professionals. We have noticed, whilst speaking to our Hacker Hotshots, that there really is a strong demand for security professionals, but, there remains a shortage of truly qualified pro’s.

Survey Results Reveal Higher CISO Salary
SecureWorld and the Ponemon Institute recently carried out a survey of security professionals working in 140 large-sized businesses. The results of their surveys are not really that surprising – but they do show a generous salary bracket which should influence many grads to a start a career in Cyber Security.

The surveys do outline that the average Chief Information Security Officer salary was between $250,000 and $300,000 with a few very senior and experienced executives earning more than $1 million a year. The lower range of CISO salary is around $185,000, while the top range is around $1.2 million.

Of course, CISO’s are very happy not only with their status within the organization being enhanced, but also with their now ‘entrenched’ high salaries. 43% of the respondents in the survey said that their jobs are among the most difficult ones in IT, and, as a result they deserve the higher pay-scale. We agree! Of course we would – we work in the infosec world!

The SecureWorld and Ponemon Institute survey also reported that one significant reason why CISOs are earning more is because of the fact that many of them are reporting to CEOs directly. Those who do are making 36% more money than others that do not report to their CEO. On the other hand, the CISOs who are reporting to the CIOs, COO or the CFO are earning average salaries.

There’s another thing!
There’s a third factor that is determining pay: it was reported that the CISO’s who have organization understanding, and those who are business savvy are making more money than the industry average. Of course, the technical aspects remain very important – but – increasingly, businesses are valuing people with a keen business mind more than others. That might seem a simple point but it is nonetheless an important one, i.e. whilst wearing your Security Hat try to think what it is that the organization itself is trying to achieve as a corporate entity.

The findings of SecureWorld and Ponemon are in line with the results of another survey that was carried out recently by Robert Half Technology (and their 2014 Salary Guide). Their much anticipated yearly report stated that the CISO salary range is expected to grow by 5.9% in 2014 – a figure higher than all the other reports mentioned above. So, the CISO salary outlook is even better according to them!

In Summary
Let us know your thoughts! If you are a CISO or a senior Cyber guy or gal, then we’d love to know your thoughts to the salary you are receiving – is it fair, should it be a genuine reflection of your experience, and do you feel that the market is growing and has plenty of opportunity?

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