What is the Chief Security Officer (CSO)? The title Chief Security Officer (CSO) was first used inside the information technology department and function to identify the person responsible for IT security. At many enterprises, the term CSO is still used in this way.
The CSO title is also used in many enterprises to describe the leader of the "corporate security" function, which includes the physical security and safety of employees, facilities and assets. This individual often holds a title such as Vice President or Director of Corporate Security. Historically, corporate security and information security have been handled by separate departments.
The CSO is the executive responsible for the organization's entire security posture, both physical and digital. CSOs also frequently own or participate closely in related areas such as business continuity planning, loss prevention and fraud prevention, and privacy.
At a tactical level, technology is being infused into physical security tools, which are increasingly database-driven and network-delivered. At a strategic level, CEOs and corporate boards, motivated in part by regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA, and ISO 27000 (formerly ISO 17799) 27001 & 27002 standards, desire an enterprise-wide view of operational risk.
Chief Security Officer - Position Purpose
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) is responsible for overall direction of all security functions associated with Information Technology applications, communications (voice and data), and computing services within the enterprise. At the same time the CSO must be aware of the implications of legislated requirements that impact security for the enterprise. This includes but is not limited to Sarbanes Oxley Section 404 requirements.
The CSO has the responsibility for global and enterprise-wide information security; he/she is also responsible for the physical security, protection services and privacy of the corporation and its employees.
The CSO oversees and coordinates security efforts across the enterprise, including information technology, human resources, communications, legal, facilities management and other groups, to identify security initiatives and standards. The CSO works closely with the chief information officer and must have strong working knowledge of information technology.
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