Evolution of the CISO Role
Jaye TillsonJaye Tillson

Evolution of the CISO Role

By Jaye Tillson, Director of Strategy, Axis Security

Evolution of the CISO Role

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role is relatively new in the corporate world, with its origins dating back to the late 1990s. The role has evolved significantly since then, and it now plays a crucial role in the success and security of organizations.

History of the CISO Role

The CISO role can be traced back to the late 1990s when businesses began to realize the importance of securing their digital assets. As the use of the internet and digital technologies increased, so did the risks associated with cybersecurity threats.

In response to these threats, organizations created roles dedicated to information security management. These roles were initially known as Information Security Managers (ISMs) which were often part of the IT department. They were responsible for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the organization’s information.

Over time, the role of the ISM evolved to include broader responsibilities, such as risk management and compliance assurance, the title changed to Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) which reflected the growing importance of the role and the increasing responsibilities associated with it.

Evolution of the CISO Role

The role of the CISO has evolved significantly since its inception. Initially, the CISO was responsible for technical aspects of information security, such as implementing firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security technologies. However, as cyber threats became more sophisticated, the CISO’s role expanded to include risk management, compliance, and incident response.

Today, the CISO plays a critical role in the success of an organization. They are responsible for ensuring that an organization’s information is secure, that the organization is compliant with relevant regulations, and that it is adequately prepared for and can respond to cyber incidents.

Importance of the CISO Role

The importance of the CISO role cannot be overstated. Cybersecurity threats are increasing in frequency and sophistication, and organizations must be prepared to defend against them. A data breach can have severe consequences for an organization, including loss of reputation, loss of revenue, as well as legal and regulatory consequences.

The CISO is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s data is secure and ensuring that the organization complies with relevant regulations and that it can respond to cyber incidents effectively. However, it should be noted that the CISO cannot do their job alone, and it is essential to have a team of people who can help implement and manage information security management systems effectively. The team should consist of professionals with diverse skills and expertise, including risk management, compliance, and incident response.

Effective teamwork is crucial to the success of the CISO. It is essential to have clear communication channels, well-defined roles and responsibilities, and a culture of collaboration to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

Where the CISO Should Report

The reporting structure of the CISO can vary depending on the organization. In many cases, the CISO reports to the Chief Information Officer (CIO). However, there is a growing trend toward having the CISO report directly to the CEO or the Board of Directors.

Reporting to the CEO or Board can give the CISO more influence and authority, which can ensure that the organization’s cybersecurity posture is taken seriously. It also highlights the importance of the role and ensures that the CISO has the necessary resources to carry out its responsibilities effectively.


The role of the CISO has come a long way since its inception in the late 1990s. Today, the CISO plays a critical role in the success and security of an organization. As cyber threats continue to evolve, the importance of the CISO role will only continue to grow. Organizations must have a dedicated and well-resourced CISO to protect their digital assets and prepare for cyber incidents.

The CISO is critical in ensuring that organizations are protected from cyber threats. With the increasing frequency and sophistication of these threats, it is more important than ever to have a dedicated and well-resourced CISO and team in place. By working together, they can develop and implement effective information security management systems to protect organizations’ digital assets and respond to cyber incidents efficiently.

About the Author

Evolution of the CISO RoleJaye is a technology leader with a proven track record in delivering global strategic and enterprise-wide programmes totaling over $1billion. He provides technical advisory to global mergers and acquisitions across multiple countries and cultures, large scale global transformation programs, enterprise-wide cyber security governance, digital strategic planning, and the creation of operational efficiencies.

He has spent over 20+ years understanding the challenges of defining and implementing enterprise strategies and translating these into the design and deployment of enterprise-wide platforms and infrastructures. His expertise includes the globalisation of IT platforms to create cost and resource efficiencies, resilience, and improved information flow to support executive decision making.

Jaye has led multiple large strategic technology programmes and is a critical asset for the success of organisations undergoing global transformation. He has built and trained several globally reaching teams, capable of successful execution of strategic plans. He is currently responsible for the budget, costing, fiscal planning, cost reduction and global people management at a large technology manufacturing organisation.

He is recognised as a mentor and coach in his area of expertise and observes industry and market trends to ensure his technology recommendations fit the business strategy. He is a senior technical lead, is seen as the go-to person within the business for all technical questions and is seen as a role model in the organisation.

June 13, 2023

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