Cybersecurity Management vs IT Management

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Cybersecurity – More than ever before, decision makers in businesses at all levels rely on having the information they need right at their fingertips. Computer and information systems managers, also called Information Technology (or IT) managers, do the work of making information accessible. It for this reason that most small and medium businesses mistake IT managers for cybersecurity experts.

For a fact, cybersecurity is no longer just an information technology problem; it is a business risk for businesses of all sizes. However, many organizations rely on information technology (IT) staff for cybersecurity, leaving them at risk of a data breach that can have a significant negative impact on their finances and reputation.

IT management and cybersecurity each require very different sets of skills, services, and responsibilities. And with new cybersecurity threats appearing all the time, IT departments cannot just add security responsibilities on top of their already demanding roles.

The job responsibility of an Information Technology (IT) manager is to lead computer related initiatives across an organization in order to meet business needs. Quite often, IT managers plan projects, coordinate with stakeholders, and manage staff working on those projects. They are ultimately responsible in ensuring their staff or department completes projects successfully.

The IT manager of every business establishment must prioritize a business’s technology goals and assign projects to staff and oversee that those projects were completed successfully and within the needed timeframe. In this regard, an IT manager should have project management skills. They would also look at a company’s IT budget and ensure technology requirements stay within that budget or make recommendations to increase that budget. They also interact with others in the business to gather company needs. This also includes working with vendors and contractors when necessary. IT managers generally oversee a highly technical staff. They must also ensure their staff are trained and receive ongoing training so they can support business needs.

However, a cybersecurity manager is an IT professional who oversees security systems and teams, identifies potential network vulnerabilities and devises strategies to counter the methods cybercriminals use to infiltrate information systems. Doing so can help the organization to prevent the loss of important data such as employees’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII), valuable trade secrets and customers’ credit card information.

In addition, the cybersecurity manager also saves time and money when information systems come to a standstill. To prevent a halt, he or she deploys necessary security controls on all information systems and networks.

Though a cybersecurity management program is one of the crucial factors in organizations’ overall success, there is no universal standard to design and implement this framework.

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In the event of a data breach, the cybersecurity manager will monitor the forensic investigation conducted by the forensic analysts. He will keep himself abreast of the latest cybersecurity trends and discuss security matters with law enforcement professionals and his company’s attorney. Additional responsibilities include identifying security gaps, designing proactive solutions, designing firewalls and providing reports to executive staff and management.

The roles and responsibilities of an IT security manager, however, can vary depending on the size of the organization. In smaller organizations, the IT security manager may be the one running the show and could be tasked with everything from setting security policy to managing the technical aspects of security (and everything in between). But in a larger organization, the role of the IT security manager typically assumes a narrower focus and you can be expected to play one of two roles:

A technical security manager – In this role, the person would be in charge of security systems, such as firewalls, data protection controls, patching, encryption, vulnerability scanning, pen testing, and so on. Also, the manager will supervise the team that oversees the proper deployment, configuration, and functioning of these systems.

A program security manager – This is a more strategic role that would see the individual more 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.

Of course, an IT security manager’s role and 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. These critical job functions are what keeps the organization’s information assets secure from malicious agents. The IT security manager ensures that there are adequate controls to safeguard organizational resources in a rapidly evolving IT and cyber environment.

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Cyberattacks on big corporations flood the headlines, but small and medium businesses are also big targets too. One in every five small businesses fall victim to a cyberattack and of those, 60% go out of business within 6 months. 

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