core-competencies

CISO Core Competencies

Domain 4: Information Security Core Competencies

This domain includes the breadth of information security knowledge combined with strong technical knowledge.

Access Control


  • Identify the criteria for mandatory and discretionary access control, understand the different factors that help in implementation of access controls and design an access control plan.
  • Implement and manage an access control plan in alignment with the basic principles that govern the access control systems such as need-to-know.
  • Identify different access control systems such as ID cards and biometrics.
  • Understand the importance of warning banners for implementing access rules.
  • Develop procedures to ensure system users are aware of their IA responsibilities before granting access to the information systems.



Social Engineering, Phishing Attacks, Identity Theft


  • Understand various social engineering concepts and their role in insider attacks and develop best practices to counter social engineering attacks.
  • Design a response plan to identity theft incidences.
  • Identify and design a plan to overcome phishing attacks.

Physical Security


  • Identify standards, procedures, directives, policies, regulations and laws for physical security.
  • Determine the value of physical assets and the impact if unavailable.
  • Identify resources needed to effectively implement a physical security plan.
  • Design, implement and manage a coherent, coordinated, and holistic physical security plan to ensure overall organizational security.
  • Establish objectives for personnel security to ensure alignment with overall security goals for the enterprise.
  • Design and manage the physical security audit and update issues.
  • Establish a physical security performance measurement system



Risk Management


  • Identify the risk mitigation and risk treatment processes and understand the concept of acceptable risk.
  • Identify resource requirements for risk management plan implementation.
  • Design a systematic and structured risk assessment process and establish, in coordination with stakeholders, an IT security risk management program based on standards and procedures and ensure alignment with organizational goals and objectives.
  • Develop, coordinate and manage risk management teams.
  • Establish relationships between the incident response team and other groups, both internal (e.g., legal department) and external (e.g., law enforcement agencies, vendors, and public relations professionals)
  • Develop an incident management measurement program and manage the risk management tools and techniques.
  • Understand the residual risk in the information infrastructure.
  • Assess threats and vulnerabilities to identify security risks, and regularly update applicable security controls.
  • Identify changes to risk management policies and processes and ensure the risk management program remains current with the emerging risk and threat environment and in alignment with the organizational goals and objectives.
  • Determine if security controls and processes are adequately integrated into the investment planning process based on IT portfolio and security reporting.



Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning


  • Develop, implement and monitor business continuity plans in case of disruptive events and ensure alignment with organizational goals and objectives.
  • Define the scope of the enterprise continuity of operations program to address business continuity, business recovery, contingency planning, and disaster recovery/related activities.
  • Identify the resources and roles of different stakeholders in business continuity programs.
  • Identify and prioritize critical business functions and consequently design emergency delegations of authority, orders of succession for key positions, the enterprise continuity of operations organizational structure and staffing model.
  • Direct contingency planning, operations, and programs to manage risk.
  • Understand the importance of lessons learned from test, training and exercise, and crisis events.
  • Design documentation process as part of the continuity of operations program.
  • Design and execute a testing and updating plan for the continuity of operations program.
  • Understand the importance of integration of IA requirements into the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
  • Identify the measures to increase the level of emergency preparedness such as backup and recovery solutions and design standard operating procedures for implementation during disasters.



Firewall, IDS/IPS and Network Defense Systems


  • Identify the appropriate intrusion detection and prevention systems for organizational information security.
  • Design and develop a program to monitor firewalls and identify firewall configuration issues.
  • Understand perimeter defense systems such as grid sensors and access control lists on routers, firewalls, and other network devices.
  • Identify the basic network architecture, models, protocols and components such as routers and hubs that play a role in network security.
  • Understand the concept of network segmentation.
  • Manage DMZs, VPN and telecommunication technologies such as PBX and VoIP.
  • Identify network vulnerabilities and explore network security controls such as use of SSL and TLS for transmission security.
  • Support, monitor, test, and troubleshoot issues with hardware and software.
  • Manage accounts, network rights, and access to systems and equipment.


Wireless Security


  • Identify vulnerability and attacks associated with wireless networks and manage different wireless network security tools.

Virus, Trojans and Malware Threats


  • Assess the threat of virus, Trojan and malware to organizational security and identify sources and mediums of malware infection.
  • Deploy and manage anti-virus systems.
  • Develop process to counter virus, Trojan, and malware threats.

Secure Coding Best Practices and Securing Web Applications


  • Develop and maintain software assurance programs in alignment with the secure coding principles and each phase of System Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
  • Understand various system-engineering practices.
  • Configure and run tools that help in developing secure programs.
  • Understand the software vulnerability analysis techniques.
  • Install and operate the IT systems in a test configuration manner that does not alter the program code or compromise security safeguards.
  • Identify web application vulnerabilities and attacks and web application security tools to counter attacks.


Hardening OS


  • Identify various OS vulnerabilities and attacks and develop a plan for hardening OS systems.
  • Understand system logs, patch management process and configuration management for information system security.

Encryption Technologies


  • Understand the concept of encryption and decryption, digital certificates, public key infrastructure and the key differences between cryptography and steganography.
  • Identify the different components of a cryptosystem.
  • Develop a plan for information security encryption techniques.

Vulnerability Assessment And Penetration Testing


  • Design, develop and implement a penetration testing program based on penetration testing methodology to ensure organizational security.
  • Identify different vulnerabilities associated with information systems and legal issues involved in penetration testing.
  • Develop pre and post testing procedures.
  • Develop a plan for pen test reporting and implementation of technical vulnerability corrections.
  • Develop vulnerability management systems.

Computer Forensics And Incident Response


  • Develop a plan to identify a potential security violation and take appropriate action to report the incident.
  • Comply with system termination procedures and incident reporting requirements related to potential security incidents or actual breaches.
  • Assess potential security violations to determine if the network security policies have been breached, assess the impact, and preserve evidence.
  • Diagnose and resolve IA problems in response to reported incidents.
  • Design incident response procedures.
  • Develop guidelines to determine whether a security incident is indicative of a violation of law that requires specific legal action.
  • Identify the volatile and persistent system information.
  • Set up and manage forensic labs and programs.
  • Understand various digital media devices, e-discovery principles and practices and different file systems.
  • Develop and manage an organizational digital forensic program.
  • Establish, develop and manage forensic investigation teams.
  • Design investigation processes such as evidence collection, imaging, data acquisition, and analysis.
  • Identify the best practices to acquire, store and process digital evidence.
  • Configure and use various forensic investigation tools.
  • Design anti-forensic techniques.