Press Release

New Survey Reveals Expanding CISO Influence Within Challenging InfoSec Environment

November 9, 2021

Coalfire and Dark Reading publish the state of CISO influence 2021

WESTMINSTER, Colo. – November 9, 2021 – Today Coalfire, in partnership with cybersecurity media thought leader, Dark Reading, released the state of CISO influence 2021 report, finding that chief information security officers (CISOs) have found their rightful place within the greater organizational management sphere of influence. The report takes a pulse on the value and influence the CISO role holds and identifies where challenges still exist from the perspective of top security leaders.

The study highlights an increase in CISO influence with 27% of top security leaders reporting to CEOs, an uptick from previous studies, and 97% of security leaders providing some level of visibility to executive leadership, the C-suite, and the board. Additionally, four out of five respondents reported that security is an integrated part of annual business planning, a practice that was nearly nonexistent years prior.

“While the study shows that most security leaders have some level of visibility to executives, they still lack the proper tools or staff to deliver metrics and return on investment (ROI) in a meaningful way,” said Michael Eisenberg, the vice president of strategy, privacy, and risk at Coalfire. “Over half of the respondents need to show ROI to justify security spend, however, only 18% of them have access to a dashboard that continually delivers metrics, leaving a gap between expectations and reality to influence business decisions,” Eisenberg added.

The survey identifies that the top reason why CISOs leave an organization is an inability to garner support for security initiatives. CISOs want to contribute to growing the business, so when they aren’t valued, they begin seeking out other opportunities where they will have more influence.

“CISOs who demonstrate added value to the business will be more likely to receive support,” said John Hellickson, cyber executive advisor of Coalfire. “We see positive organizational change when the CISO aligns their security program to business objectives.”

The report highlights the rise in CISO influence; however, there is still a long way to go to ensure cybersecurity initiatives align with the business. When that integration finally happens, cybersecurity technology will enable digital transformation and find true integration within the organization.

To read the state of CISO influence 2021 report that includes Dark Reading’s research and Coalfire’s analysis and takeaways, click here.

About Coalfire

The world’s leading technology infrastructure providers, SaaS companies, and enterprises – including the top-five cloud service providers and eight of the top-10 SaaS organizations – rely on Coalfire to strengthen their security posture and secure their digital transformations. As the largest firm dedicated to cybersecurity, Coalfire delivers a comprehensive suite of advisory and managed

services, spanning cyber strategy and risk, cloud security, threat and vulnerability management, application security, privacy, and compliance management. A proven leader in cybersecurity for the past 20 years, Coalfire combines extensive cloud expertise, advanced technology, and innovative approaches that fuel success.


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