NASCIO: Raise the CISO profile

State chief information security officers need increased visibility to ensure enterprise security.

That’s one finding of a National Association of Chief Information Officers research brief issued this month. NASCIO examined the role of state CISOs amid an increasingly complex threat environment and homeland security concerns.

“The CISO position must be elevated to a level that will allow the CISO to properly carry out his or her duties,” according to NASCIO. That elevation is important for “developing solid relationships with state agencies,” the report states.

NASCIO said CISOs typically report to a state’s chief information officer, but that relationship may generate conflict. “Questions have been raised about whether this reporting structure creates an inherent conflict of interest by having those who manage an organization’s IT also oversee the security of it.”

NASCIO said the position would become more independent if CISOs reported to other top-level executives. The report states that Colorado’s CISO reports to the governor’s chief of staff, while California’s CISO post is in the state’s Finance Department.

Potential benefits of increased independence include an increased ability to have an enterprisewide view and the ability to advocate security measures, according to NASCIO.

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