The Rising Role of the BISO

April 17, 2024

Today’s corporate security environment is more complex than ever. As digital transformation initiatives grow, shifts to remote and hybrid workforces increase and cyber threats evolve, CISOs and CIOs face increasing challenges. Part of those challenges? Aligning security initiatives with different business objectives across an organization — an effort that is particularly difficult as organizations grow. How can security initiatives continually be promoted as complexities arise?


Introducing the business information security officer, commonly referred to as the BISO. Though the role of the BISO may be relatively new, the position is rapidly growing in demand as security information needs grow. A BISO often reports to a CISO or CIO to serve as a liaison between a business unit and the security team to drive security initiatives within an organization. This allows a CISO and CIO to prioritize the technicalities of security and information strategies, without engaging in ongoing security counsel.


While a BISO might sound like a cross between a CISO and a CIO, there are a few key differentiators. CISOs and CIOs are overtly security forward in their background and overall responsibilities, but a BISO’s background is accustomed to relationship building within an organization, like those of a sales engineer or even a marketer. This relationship building helps them connect business and IT and constructively drive security protocols and standards within an organization.



Emerging factors that will grow the demand for a BISO

As security teams and leaders focus on preventing cyber threats and vulnerabilities, organizations will turn to BISOs to combine security and IT with business teams to drive operations securely. There will be several factors that will ensure a BISO’s role is instrumental to your organization, including:


  • Increasing cybersecurity legislation and frameworks
    Federal and state governments are increasingly proposing and enacting legislation to protect business entities and citizens from cyber threats. As CISOs and security leaders navigate the complexities of cybersecurity legislation, BISOs will be called upon to disseminate required protocols across the organization to ensure other teams understand and adhere to new standards.
  • Eliminating blind trust and compliance
    Business leaders are aware of the importance of protecting sensitive data and information, but blind trust can cause gaps in understanding the "why" behind security protocols and the breadth of what they should be protecting. BISOs can ensure business units understand different aspects of security strategies and why following them can improve business growth.
  • Resource allocation versus business growth
    Strengthening an organization's business posture is challenging, especially as budgets and resource constraints endure. And while business leaders are locked into increasing their digital infrastructure and growth, a BISO can properly guide them in understanding where to effectively allocate resources to strengthen security posture while increasing SaaS and cloud initiatives.


Understanding where cybersecurity and business continuity can strengthen will be key factors in the demand for BISOs. Asking questions to evaluate your organization’s security culture and operational needs will ensure your organization is ready for one.



Does your organization need a BISO?

Several factors will determine if your organization needs a BISO, including size, goals and operational needs. A good place to start is by assessing how aligned your security and business units are. Ask questions to help identify where gaps exist between security, IT and business and how a BISO could fill them. A few examples include:


  • How siloed are the security and business units?
    Employees and teams often work in silos, but when it comes to driving business processes securely, business and security teams need to be aligned. If your teams are overtly siloed, a BISO serves as a strong link between the two to represent the needs of a CISO (or security team) and business operation teams to identify and manage security gaps that may be overlooked or unknown.
  • Is communicating the ROI of your security initiatives difficult?
    Demonstrating the value of your cybersecurity program is challenging, especially when breaches are not a matter of if, but when. A BISO can help align security strategies with business objectives in a way that resonates with executives or other key stakeholders. For example, if technical and threat-centric conversations get lost in translation, a BISO can provide business-level context to help define key performance indicators (KPIs) and translate security strategy success and value.
  • Are security measures considered or implemented when establishing new business objectives or initiatives?
    Remote and hybrid environments have caused disruptions in managing the security of bring-your-own-device policies and unmanaged devices, access controls and more. Additionally, as business pressures increase, cybersecurity best practices can often weaken in an effort to get things done. BISOs act as cybersecurity advocates within your organization, ensuring risk, compliance and security protocols are followed when moving business operations and initiatives forward.


It’s important to note a BISO complements the responsibilities of a CISO by working as an extension of the security team across different business units. While not all organizations need a BISO, if the link between your security and business teams is weak within your organization, a BISO can strengthen it.

Allie Byers
Content Writer | Axonius
Allie Byers is a content writer with five years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for storytelling and a knack for simplifying complex topics.

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