Chief Information Security Officer: A CISO’s Roles, responsibilities, and challenges

Every company must make sure that their data about customers, plans, staff, services, and much more are always secure. Particularly since the era of digitalization and online data storage, the company’s focus on data security has become a crucial part of its responsibilities.

Chief Information Security Officer  A CISO’s Roles, responsibilities, and challenges

To make sure that this job is done well, hiring a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) can be an option. This could be an important step, because as the online world is constantly evolving, so are malware and phishing software.

A CISO will make sure that your company is protected from those threats in the best way possible. Basically, CISO responsibilities include:

  • Cyber Risk Management
  • Security Operations
  • Cyber Intelligence
  • Prevention of Data Loss and Fraud
  • IAM (Identity and Access Management)
  • Security Architecture
  • And much more

By taking care of these areas, a CISO protects the company by discovering and getting rid of risks. One of the ways a CISO works is with software and systems like SAP: Therefore, in the following article, we will talk about a CISO’s role in SAP, shed light on CISO challenges and goals regarding his or her responsibilities mentioned above.

CISO – goals and aims

Providing a solid security base for the company is a good start. However, in the long run, a CISO must make sure to keep the system running, taking into account the company’s goals and strategies.

To implement a successful long-term security strategy, a CISO aims to:

  • Implement cybersecurity measures to crucial applications like SAP
  • Be aware of security patches and scan the system for possible risks
  • Map crucial compliance frameworks
  • Implement gained knowledge about cyber risks into the company’s security software
  • Prioritize tasks and report risks to the management

For this, it is crucial to understand what using SAP means for the company and for the CISO.


Managing the SAP system is one of the responsibilities a CISO has. Since some parts of SAP systems are not subject to constant security monitoring, a CISO must make sure these areas are nevertheless well protected. This makes CISOs responsible for SAP ERP, which is the SAP system that the company’s security measures are based on.

But there are additional challenges too, which include:

  1. Language barriers, since the German software company might use different terminology in their technology.
  2. The SAP software’s complexity. Other than a common system, which is made up of 60 million lines of code, SAP Business Suite contains 320 million lines of code – this is a massive amount of complex and technical information, which might make it hard to monitor the entire system.
  3. The technology SAP use since it’s different from regular operating systems when it comes to storage and exchange of data. This requires special security tools that must be implemented to secure the company’s database.
  4. The high cost for SAP-specific security measures might give CISOs a hard time when arguing in favor of a suitable security strategy. It must be found out whether it is more cost-efficient to fix a security breach or deal with a cyber-attack, or to implement SAP security measures right from the start.
  5. Corporate Structure. SAP systems used to be seen as separate entity that was not run by the IT department. This is sometimes still the case today, although a complex system like SAP must be implemented and connected with all areas of the business. To ensure maximum security, the SAP department must be closely connected with the IT department and common efforts must be taken to deal with cyber risks. This is often not the case, which makes it hard for the measures to work perfectly.

These reasons are obstacles for a CISO in his task to implement idea security measures. However, although SAP systems are difficult to implement and require smooth communication between departments, they’re an important step towards cyber security.

CISOs role in fixing challenges

To ensure a functioning security system, the IT department must work together with the SAP department and consider the company’s security a common responsibility. This way, the company’s CISO can make sure that risks are identified and removed. To ensure smooth communication, however, the CISO takes up the role of a communicator that mediates between the departments, shareholders, and customers, which is another of his or her roles and crucial responsibilities.

Conclusion: what roles, responsibilities, and challenges do CISOs face?

As the digital world grows, so do a CISO’s roles and responsibilities. By taking the role of the security expert, a CISO must know how the underlying systems and software work. Additionally, however, a CISO cannot only rely on his or her own efforts but is also responsible for smooth communication between the departments. Furthermore, CISOs are in constant exchange with the upper management, which makes them crucial mediators.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Chief Information Security Officer: A CISO’s Roles, responsibilities, and challenges