Vendor Risk Management

9 Critical Responsibilities Of The Cybersecurity Manager

Melissa Stevens | July 19, 2016

In a nutshell, a cybersecurity manager serves as the expert on cybersecurity protection, detection, response, and recovery.

The larger the organization, the more narrow the focus becomes. For instance, if you were the only one running the show in the cybersecurity department for your organization, you would be tasked with everything from the technical aspects of security to security policy (and everything in between).

In a larger organization, cybersecurity managers often play one of two roles: 

  1. A technical security manager is typically in charge of the systems and the team that manages those systems—these are your typical sets of controls like firewalls, international business systems, data leakage protection systems, patching, encryption, vulnerability scanning, pen testing, and much more.
  2. A program security manager is highly engaged in the world of risk management and mitigation. Typically, this individual is involved in evaluating vendor risk, examining vendor contracts or terms of service, helping different teams around the organization understand third-party risk and data privacy issues, and more.

Looking to streamline your vendor risk management process? Take a look at these tools and techniques.

Of course, a cybersecurity manager’s responsibilities are going to vary tremendously based on the size of the team and the industry. But there are still a number of critical functions tasked to this individual at nearly any organization—and we’ve organized those roles and responsibilities below.

9 Critical Responsibilities Of The Cybersecurity Manager

  1. Monitor all operations and infrastructure. This could be something you do by yourself, or you could be leading a team—either way, your daily bread and butter involves going through alerts and logs (which are the computer security equivalent of video surveillance) in order to keep an eye on your organization’s digital security footprint.
  2. Maintain all security tools and technology. This could be a shared responsibility or completely required of the security manager and their team.
  3. Monitor internal and external policy compliance. You want to ensure that both your vendors and employees are working within the framework of a policy you’ve laid out and that the policy is clearly laid out for them. The security manager is the living embodiment of policy—and while they aren’t always in charge of enforcement, they do often try to make sure things are in line internally.
  4. Monitor regulation compliance. This is particularly important if you’re in a heavily regulated industry and are dealing with things like credit card, health care data, or other personally identifiable information.
  5. Work with different departments in the organization to reduce risk. From technical controls to policies (and everything in between), you’ll likely be tasked with working across the aisle of departments in your organization to get everyone on the same page.
  6. Implement new technology. If your organization is looking at a new technology, as the cybersecurity manager, you will be evaluating it and helping implement any controls that might mitigate the risk of its operation.
  7. Audit policies and controls continuously. Cybersecurity is a circular process—and as the manager, you have to drive that process forward. In order to do that, you will need to regularly audit the policies and controls you put into place. These audits will tell you if there’s anything you need to improve, remediate, or quickly fix.
  8. Ensure cybersecurity stays on the organizational radar. Does it seem as though the organization you’re with isn’t being proactive about cybersecurity? As the cybersecurity manager, your job is to make the benefits clearly visible and champion all efforts going forward.
  9. Detail out the security incident response program. Every organization should have a well-defined and documented plan of action to put into place if a security incident does occur. The cybersecurity manager should ensure that this program is tested throughout the organization and that every high-level manager knows his or her duties during such an incident. This may be a responsibility that is the cybersecurity manager’s alone, or it could be a shared responsibility.

One Final Cybersecurity Manager Responsibility

In many large organizations, the chief information security officer is involved in briefing the board members on cybersecurity—but depending on the size and maturity of the security program in your organization, this may fall on cybersecurity manager. If this falls within your scope of work, you should focus on communicating the state of your information security program, including your successes and failures. The free ebook below gives you a deeper look at how to do so effectively.


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