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Information Security Forum Research Demonstrates Importance of the Next Generation CISO

October 2020 by The Information Security Forum (ISF)

The Information Security Forum (ISF) has published Becoming a Next Generation CISO, the organizations latest digest which sets out the range of disciplines a next-generation Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) can be expected to master. These findings highlight how those leading the information security function can react, grow and ultimately prosper when confronted with today’s uncertain times.

Today, more than ever, CISOs are coming under pressure to secure organizations as they embark on ambitious digital transformation programs in an increasingly hostile and turbulent world. These demands are bringing about the rise of the next-generation CISO, a security professional who is adapting to the evolving environment, mastering new skills and advancing the discipline of information security. Becoming a Next Generation CISO will help organizations to better understand the forces at play that have prompted the emergence of the next-generation CISO, and learn how to develop the novel characteristics and capabilities that this demanding role will require now and in the future.

“As digital transformation drives organizations to become more agile and responsive, the CISO faces demands to quickly prove their worth as an enabling force, while protecting the business in an increasingly turbulent risk environment,” said Steve Durbin, Managing Director, ISF. “Becoming a next-generation CISO requires an individual to embrace and master new skills and disciplines, making themselves indispensable, future-proof and highly sought after.”

Building on interviews with more than 40 CISOs, and extensive survey results, the ISF’s research into the changing role of the CISO has revealed six core characteristics that next-generation leader’s exhibit. These six do not stand alone – there are many other factors in the make-up of the next-generation CISO, however, they stand out as key differentiators of forward-looking professionals.

The six differentiating characteristics include:

• Balancing Opportunity with Risk
• Demonstrating Leadership
• Managing Incidents and Crises
• Finding Their Own Voice
• Dealing with Regulatory Volume
• Handling Technology

“The CISO is coming under pressure from many different directions. Whether this is external, internal or personal, these forces have combined to create a situation that demands a new approach – one that the next-generation CISO is pioneering,” continued Durbin. “Being a next-generation CISO is an extremely rewarding position that allows an individual to become a pivotal member of their organization, involved in and advising on almost every level. This role will be welcomed almost anywhere as more and more organizations turn their focus to the risks and opportunities of the evolving digital world.”

Findings from Becoming a Next Generation CISO will be featured at ISF World Congress (Digital 2020), which takes place November 15-19, 2020. Now in its 31st year, the annual event provides the setting for attendees to discuss and find solutions to today’s most significant cyber security challenges. For the first time, the event will be held virtually, providing a unique online, interactive global event experience, available in multiple time zones, allowing attendees to watch and participate in the full show at times that best suit their schedules. For more information about Digital 2020, please visit the ISF website. If you are interested in attending this year’s event, please email the Congress Management Team at or visit

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