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The Top 10 Skills CISOs Need in 2024

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posted on 2024-03-13, 22:55 authored by Gregory TouhillGregory Touhill

The role of the chief information security officer (CISO) has never been more important to organizational success. The present and near-future for CISOs will be marked by breathtaking technical advances, particularly those associated with the inclusion of artificial intelligence technologies being integrated into business functions, as well as emergent legal and regulatory challenges.  Continued advances in generative artificial intelligence (AI) will accelerate the proliferation of deepfakes designed to erode public trust in online information and public institutions. Furthermore, these challenges will be amplified by an unstable global theater in which nefarious actors and nation states chase opportunities to exploit any potential organizational weakness. Some forecasts have already characterized 2024 as a pressure cooker environment for CISOs. In such an environment, skills are critical. In this post I outline the top 10 skills that CISOs need for 2024 and beyond. These recommendations draw upon my experience as the director of the SEI’s CERT Division, as well as my service as the first federal chief information security officer of the United States, leading cyber operations at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and my lengthy military service as a communications and cyberspace operations officer. 


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This material is based upon work funded and supported by the Department of Defense under Contract No. FA8702-15-D-0002 with Carnegie Mellon University for the operation of the Software Engineering Institute, a federally funded research and development center. The view, opinions, and/or findings contained in this material are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Government position, policy, or decision, unless designated by other documentation. References herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Carnegie Mellon University or its Software Engineering Institute. This report was prepared for the SEI Administrative Agent AFLCMC/AZS 5 Eglin Street Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-2100. NO WARRANTY. THIS CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY AND SOFTWARE ENGINEERING INSTITUTE MATERIAL IS FURNISHED ON AN "AS-IS" BASIS. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY MAKES NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, AS TO ANY MATTER INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR PURPOSE OR MERCHANTABILITY, EXCLUSIVITY, OR RESULTS OBTAINED FROM USE OF THE MATERIAL. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY DOES NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO FREEDOM FROM PATENT, TRADEMARK, OR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. [DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A] This material has been approved for public release and unlimited distribution. Please see Copyright notice for non-US Government use and distribution.

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