Associate C|CISO: The Next Step for a Certified Information Security Manager​ 

January 4, 2024
| Leaman Crews
| Executive Management

In today’s workforce, information security workers are more important than ever. Most companies have undergone a digital transformation to stay competitive, and many business processes now take place online. Data is an asset, and security personnel represent the first line of defense. The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is valuable for professionals following a cybersecurity career path.

However, a CISM certificate may only take you so far. If you want to take your career to the next level, the Associate Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO) certification is a logical next step. This is especially true if you hope to become a Chief Information Officer (CIO) one day, as the Associate C|CISO prepares you for leadership.

A Career Path for Certified Information Security Managers

The Associate CCISO certification is a globally recognized credential that helps cybersecurity professionals prepare for a leadership role. If you are a CISM who hopes to make it to the C-suite one day, pursuing an Associate C|CISO cert is a strategic choice. The course is designed explicitly for the CIO career path — even if you don’t have the minimum five years of experience in three of the Certified CISO domains.

1. Transitioning Between Technical and Business Expertise

The Associate C|CISO certification goes beyond the technical aspects of information security and into business leadership. This well-rounded perspective equips the CISM-certified person with the skills required to articulate the value of information security to C-suite peers.

2. Preparation for Executive Leadership

Aspiring CIOs often face stiff competition when vying for upper management roles. The Associate C|CISO certification signals upper management that you possess the requisite leadership and strategic skills to thrive in an executive leadership position.

3. Learning How to Govern IT Effectively

If you’ve been through CISM training, you’re already well-versed in information security governance. The Associate C|CISO course builds upon this knowledge to show you how to create robust and effective IT governance frameworks. These skills can pay dividends as you move ahead on your career path.

4. Staying on Top of the Ever-Evolving Security Landscape

As an Associate Certified Information Security Officer, you’ll gain insight into emerging technologies and industry trends. Your new understanding of information security will help you stay ahead in our dynamic technology landscape. As you progress into management roles, you will be better prepared to make informed decisions about future cybersecurity tools and methodologies.

5. Demonstrating Commitment to Continuous Improvement

Earning the Associate CCISO certification demonstrates a commitment to continuous professional development. It shows you are ready, willing, and able to learn complex information security topics and lead the organization into the future. This cert is also a stepping stone to many other career paths, including earning a Certified CISO certification or taking on management roles.

Starting a Path to Certified CISO Certification

If you want full Certified CISO status, the Associate C|CISO is your first step. While maintaining the Associate C|CISO, you must gain five years of experience in at least three of the five C|CISO domains. 

The next step is to fill out a form detailing your experience, which will be verified. After approval, you will take the C|CISO exam, with the option to retake training beforehand. Finally, you will be granted the Certified CISO certification after passing the exam.

The Benefits of a CISM Pursuing Associate C|CISO Certification

While there are many paths to the C-suite, if you want to build upon a CISM certificate and work up to a leadership role, the Associate C|CISO course offers some benefits you won’t get elsewhere.

First, an Associate C|CISO certification prepares you to work with other company leaders. The course emphasizes integrating information security with critical business functions like finance, legal, and operations teams. 

This holistic approach deeply explains how cybersecurity aligns with a company’s business objectives. Explaining technology’s strategic value is one of the most critical functions of a CIO (CIO Magazine, 2023). The course teaches you strong communication and interpersonal skills. This is key to helping you articulate complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders in the C-suite and the rest of the company.

Your company’s security posture is part of what you have to share as a CIO (BuiltIn, 2023). The Associate C|CISO certification gives you valuable insights into risk management strategies and incident response planning. This knowledge equips you to proactively identify potential security threats and how to implement practical risk mitigation efforts with company buy-in.

Gaining that trust from your colleagues requires deep knowledge of the cybersecurity industry. An Associate C|CISO certification teaches you about compliance with industry standards and government regulations. This is essential for any organization that works with sensitive data, and having this knowledge shows the real value of a CISO. The Associate C|CISO course covers various compliance frameworks, providing you with the expertise to ensure your organization remains in line with customer and government requirements.

Holding the Associate C|CISO certification can lead to better salary and compensation packages. Today, more than ever, businesses are willing to invest in skilled cybersecurity professionals (Security, 2023). An Associate C|CISO credential carries a weight that can positively impact your career prospects.

Since cybersecurity is a significant concern for businesses today, there are many excellent job opportunities at various companies. Earning additional certifications after your CISM training shows you are an expert. Moreover, your Associate C|CISO certification signifies dedication to your cybersecurity career.

How to Get Started with the Associate C|CISO Certification

Candidates wanting to enroll in the Associate C|CISO program must have at least two years of technical or management experience in any of the following domains:

  • Governance and Risk Management
  • Information Security Controls, Compliance, and Audit Management
  • Security Program Management and Operations
  • Information Security Core Competencies
  • Strategic Planning, Finance, Procurement, and Vendor Management


Hold any of the following certifications: CISSP, CISM, or CISA.

To get started, visit: Associate CCISO

You can join the elite Certified Associate C|CISO community by Grandfathering as an Associate C|CISO.

The Associate C|CISO Grandfathering Program

Cybersecurity professionals with 5 years of cumulative experience in the Associate C|CISO domains can apply for the Associate C|CISO Grandfathering program to obtain the Associate C|CISO certification without needing to sit for the Associate C|CISO exam.

The Associate C|CISO process, through grandfathering, offers recognition and credibility, supporting candidates on their journey to take influential cybersecurity leadership roles.

Please visit the Grandfathering Program page to enroll.

BuiltIn. (2023, July 18). 3 easy ways for cybersecurity leaders to improve a business’s security posture.

CIO Magazine. (2023, July 7). Key skills tech leaders need to secure a board seat.

Security. (2023, July 17). How to hire & retain future cybersecurity leaders. 

About the author

Leaman Crews

Leaman Crews is a former newspaper reporter, publisher, and editor with over 25 years of professional writing experience. He is also a former IT director specializing in writing about tech in an enjoyable way. 
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