CSO: An Interesting Guide For 2021

Ajay Ohri


In our current reality, where rampant cybercrime is costing organizations and companies millions of dollars consistently, the CSO or Chief Security Officer is a necessary guardian of intellectual property, information systems, digital assets, etc.

Since digital technology has revolutionised and the global network has expanded, security breaks happen every now and then that only the biggest ones stand out as headlines. In the past several years, the IRS, the NSA, Uber, Target, Yahoo, eBay, Equifax and endless others are only a couple of high-profile organisations and offices that have been hit by hackers.

In this article let us look at:

  1. Definition
  2. How to become a CSO?
  3. Who does the CSO report to?
  4. Sample CSO job description
  5. CSO Responsibilities
  6. CSO Qualifications
  7. CSO Duties
  8. Chief security officer salary
  9. CSO vs CISO

1. Definition

The CSO is the organization’s chief answerable for the security of physical, personnel assets, and information in both digital and physical form. The significance of this position has expanded in the time of IT or Information Technology as it has gotten simpler to take sensitive organization information.

2. How to become a CSO?

Chief Security Officer can emerge from technical backgrounds with previous work experience as an architect or engineer working with systems and tools that cover present-day security disciplines like threat intelligence, identity management, and SIEM, or from functional backgrounds where they managed security experts answerable for those controls and actually were more associated with compliance, risk, and governance.

In any case, Chief Security Officer needs to show qualifications that go beyond specific work trajectories and technical competencies.

Numerous organizations actually don’t have Chief Security Officer, which can make a way to the executive level for employees. In IT environments where security is a competency inside the office and not its own specialization, the kind of individual who might accept the Chief Security Officer role would basically be whoever has the deepest knowledge of security at the association.

3. Who does the CSO report to?

As per the 2018 Global State of Information Security survey, as many as 40% of Chief Security Officer and Chief Information Security Officer reports to the organization Chief Executive Officer, and 27% report straightforwardly to the board; just 24% are siloed under the Chief Information Officer. Domo’s Browne sees positives and negatives for the two courses of action. “Putting the Chief Security Officer under the Chief Information Officer helps ensure strong arrangement with the specialized delivery model,” he says. “But there can be a division of obligations issue.”

4. Sample CSO job description

The CSO will administer and coordinate security endeavors across the organization, including facilities management, legal, communications, human resources, information technology and other groups, and will distinguish security activities and norms.

5. CSO Responsibilities

  • The lead operational risk management activities.
  • Administer a network of security chiefs.
  • Distinguish security objectives, targets and metrics reliable with the corporate vital arrangement.
  • Manage the implementation and development of worldwide security procedures, guidelines, standards and policy to guarantee continuous support of safety.
  • Work with different executives to focus on security activities.
  • Keep up relationships with the federal, state and local law enforcement.
  • Manage occurrence reaction planning just as the examination of security breaches and help with a legal and disciplinary issue related to such breaches as necessary.
  • Work with outside specialists as appropriate for autonomous security audits.

6. CSO Qualifications

  • Must be a persuasive, articulate and intelligent leader who can fill in as a viable individual from the senior supervisory team.
  • Should have experience with risk management, auditing, and business continuity planning.
  • Should have a strong working knowledge of relevant law.
  • Should have a strong understanding of information security and information technology.

7. CSO Duties

  • Implement and develop vital security procedures and protocols.
  • Give vital vision and course in security parts of an association.
  • Create protocols and policies for protecting and securing sensitive information.
  • Recruit and hire the best ability in developing the security of an association.

8. Chief security officer salary

CSO average salary for C-level executives can fluctuate wildly, relying upon the experience, the organization, and the industry and tenure of the candidate. However, we can at least suggest you a rough picture of what you can anticipate: 

  • As per Payscale.com, the CSO average salary is USD 1,31,314, with anything from USD 68,208 to USD  2,01,789.
  • As per Salary.com, the CISO average salary is USD 2,15,739, somewhere in the range of USD 1,88,510 and USD 2,49,063.

9. CSO vs CISO

The difference between a CISO vs CSO is that the CISO has been liable for the protection of data and may have an engineering or IT systems background, while the CSO has been answerable for the actual security and the safety of facilities, assets, and employees, and may have a law enforcement background.


Numerous specialists say there is a little pool of ability from which organizations can pick while employing a Chief Security Officer. There simply aren’t sufficient to go around. In any case, it will end up being a position that will keep on being popular since numerous organizations are encountering threats and breaches to their security.

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give them an edge in this competitive world.


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