Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification showcases an IT professional’s expertise in information security governance, program development and management, incident management, and risk management.

CISMs are responsible for monitoring and checking all the components that comprise computer security in a business. They plan for and implement security measures to protect the organization’s data from cyber attacks, unauthorized access, corruption, and theft.

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In general, IT professionals on their journey toward a management role choose between two paths—becoming a CISM or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

What Is the Difference between CISM and CISSP Certification?

CISM certification validates an IT professional’s knowledge and expertise in managing enterprise information security teams. CISM-certified pros are in high demand worldwide since they have comprehensive knowledge and technical competence in understanding business objectives surrounding data security.

CISSP certification, meanwhile, proves that the pro is an expert in designing, implementing, and managing a cybersecurity program.

What Is the Importance of Obtaining CISM Certification?

Most companies make CISM certification a must for IT managers, and that’s probably why many IT practitioners get CISM-certified if they hope to go up the corporate ladder. Of the millions of IT professionals worldwide, however, only a handful (46,000) hold CISM certification.

The pay rise isn’t bad at all either. From an average salary of US$62,571 a year, a CISM-certified IT professional stands to gain thrice that (US$118,000 annually).

CISM Certification Domains

CISM certification test-takers will get tested on four domains, namely:

  • Information security governance: A CISM should be able to give IT teams direction on setting up IT security controls. It determines who should make IT security-related decisions based on an accountability framework. IT governance ensures that risks are appropriately mitigated. The CISM thus recommends security strategies that are aligned with business objectives and consistent with regulations.
  • Information risk management: A CISM should also have the capability to strike a balance between resources, compliance, and security. That includes classifying and assigning values to information assets, determining legal and governance requirements related to risk management, and quantifying risk elements. CISMs also know how to conduct risk assessments and analyses. They should continuously learn to discover risk response options and how these are implemented, measured, and reported.
  • Information security program development and management: CISMs should know how to identify required resources to achieve business goals. They must understand how a security program is developed from inception. That requires knowledge of the many aspects and requirements of effective program design, implementation, and management.
  • Information security incident management: Finally, a CISM should be an expert in monitoring and detecting security events and how to execute the proper responses to them.

CISM Certification Prerequisites

We have to admit it, the huge pay rise and opportunity for growth that becoming a CISM offers are very tempting. Sadly, not every IT professional can take the exam.

IT professionals aspiring to become CISM-certified must have at least five years of experience with information security and at least three years of information security management experience in three or more of the CISM domains. And all that experience should have been gained within 10 years before the IT professional’s CISM certification application or five years after passing the exam.

Only after passing the exam can applicants apply for CISM certification, which should not exceed five years.

Tips and Tricks for Exam Preparation

  • Visit the ISACA website to get the latest information about the exam.
  • Do CISM practice tests.
  • Create your study plan or attend a CISM training course.
  • During the exam, think like a manager since CISM is management-focused.

Like most certifications, CISM-certified IT professionals need to maintain their qualification every five years.