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May 2017, Vol. 19, No. 4

Challenging role of CISO presents many opportunities for change

By its most recent measure, the Ponemon Institute shared research in 2014 that indicated that the average tenure of CISOs is 2.1 years. Why so short? There were two proposed rationales. The "wanderlust theory" held that qualified candidates for the role of CISO were in such high demand, according to Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the research group, that they were lured to another company that paid more for the position. Ponemon said some CISOs likely made two or even three jumps to higher-paying positions if they were really qualified. The other theory behind the two-year tenure: When security problems occurred, the affected companies needed someone to blame, which resulted in the CISO's departure. The research data was compiled over several years and based on numerous surveys from mainly U.S. sources. There's not always a CISO on hand to play the scapegoat, though. Ponemon found that in organizations of more than 1,000 employees, 40% had a fully dedicated CISO, 16% had a partially dedicated CISO and 44% had none. The ...

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