November 11, 2022
by Hacker Valley Studio
Michael Piacente, Managing Partner & Cofounder at Hitch Partners, answers the essential question on many cybersecurity professionals’ minds: Where do CISOs find CISO jobs? As it turns out, Michael helps many cybersecurity teams find their perfect CISO match with the assistance of his own team at Hitch Partners. In this episode, Michael clarifies what the role of a CISO really is, explains the compensation and benefits, and reveals the many responsibilities a CISO may take on during their team in the role.
[00:00] Defining the role of CISO & finding the right homes for each CISO
[05:21] VCISO & fractional CISO as an alternative to a full-time CISO
[11:49] CISO annual income, benefits, & non-monetary incentives
[16:37] Explaining additional responsibilities & tasks taken on by the CISO
[25:11] Giving advice to future CISOs looking for the next cyber executive opportunity
Thank you to our sponsor Axonius and NetSPIfor bringing this episode to life!
The Axonius solution correlates asset data from existing solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory, uncover gaps, and automate action — giving IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity. Learn more at axonius.com/hackervalley
For more than 2 decades, NetSPI has helped companies discover and remediate critical security issues through its platform-driven, human delivered security test. NetSPI is much more than a pentesting company, bringing you the most comprehensive suite of offensive security solutions. Visit netspi.com/HVM to learn more.
In your own definition and experience, what is a CISO?
Although there’s many definitions of the role, Michael clarifies that defining CISO should always include being an executive. To have a CISO who makes a positive impact and fulfills an organization’s needs, that CISO has to be properly placed, properly sponsored, and be in an environment where they have the proper reporting processes. Michael also believes the CISO should always be looking over their shoulder to be diligent of the next threat.
“In my version of it, a CISO is the executive— and that's the key term here— that has been properly placed, properly sponsored to handle all of the business information and data risk policy execution and operations in the company.”
What is the difference between a fractional CISO and a VCISO?
In Michael’s opinion, a VCISO (virtual CISO) and fractional CISO can be used interchangeably in a situation where a company does not need a full-time CISO executive. Unless they’re looking to support a strong security program, Michael understands that many companies don’t need a full-time CISO in order to be successful. A VCISO makes an impact on an organization’s security without being an overwhelming role in a smaller organization.
“Bringing in your starter package to implement the baseline or foundational building blocks of what will become a security program, in the form of a consultant or consulting firm, is often a wiser choice than going in building a security program around a full-time CISO role.”
Are there different types of CISOs, and have those types changed over time?
Previously, Michael defined 3 different types of CISOs in his search for CISOs with Hitch Partners. However, a fourth type has emerged in recent years: the BISO, or Field CISO. This fourth type joins the ranks alongside other impactful CISO types, including the client (or governance) facing CISO, highly technical CISO, the IT-focused CISO, and now, our fourth type, the BISO, who focuses on the business side of the risk.
“It's amazing that all of our CISO searches contain all these different types of CISOs. The fun part of that we get to figure out is: What's the priority [for the role]? What's the order? What does everyone in the organization think the priority should be?”
How would you direct someone to take that first step after realizing they want to be a CISO?
Discovering the CISO role exists and being the right person for the role is an important distinction, and Michael encourages potential CISOs to take some time to research the job before getting involved in a job search. However, once someone knows they want to be a CISO, Michael advises finding a CISO mentor and diving into a passion. Each type of CISO needs an expertise and passion to propel them into the superpower status needed to be a CISO.
“I think it’s about finding a passion. I'm a big believer that you just have to know where your superpower is, or what your superpower wants to be. In other words, that thing that's passionate to you, that you probably know better than 99% of the population out there.”
Keep up with our guest Michael Piacente on LinkedIn
Learn more about Hitch Partners on their website
Purchase a HVS t-shirt at our shop
Continue the conversation by joining our Discord
In this episode of Hacker Valley Studio, Rob Wood, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at CMS, discusses the challenges of data silos within organizations. Rob explains that security teams often operate in silos, with different departments focu...
Taylor Lehmann, Director of Office of the CISO at Google Cloud, has made it his mission to make healthcare and life sciences more secure and strategic for everyone. Joining our security podcast this week, Taylor talks about how security and strategy ...
Maxime “Max” Lamothe-Brassard, Founder of LimaCharlie, brings a tech-focused community perspective and a history of working at Google to the Hacker Valley security podcast this week. Inspired by the internal motivation to empower others and build wha...
Brian Haugli, Founder and CEO of SideChannel, brings his CISO expertise to the security podcast this week for a discussion about strategy and leadership in cybersecurity. Working alongside CISOs and fractional VCISOs, Brian has seen his share of lead...
Allison Minutillo, President of Rebel Interactive Group and Host of the Rebel Leadership podcast, joins the Hacker Valley team this week to talk about her journey from individual contributor to company leader. With a leader’s mind and a rebel’s heart...
Cody Wass, VP of Services at NetSPI, brings his near-decade of experience to the pod to talk about longevity, development, and leadership. It’s no secret that cybersecurity is in need of people. Cody’s journey from intern to VP at NetSPI has shown hi...
Brad Liggett, CTI Intel Engineer Manager at Cybersixgill, puts on his improv hat and joins the pod ready for anything. After COVID pressed pause on daily life, Brad kept himself sane and gained some new skills by returning to his improv roots (a hobb...
Richard Rushing, CISO at Motorola Mobility, brings his decades of experience to the show this week to talk about leadership, communication, and perhaps most importantly of all: prioritization. After joining Motorola through a startup acquisition, Ric...
Kenneth Ellington, the Senior Cybersecurity Consultant at EY and Founder of the Ellington Cyber Academy, achieves his goal of being on the Hacker Valley Studio this week. From working at Publix in college to becoming an online course instructor, Kenn...
Lesley Carhart, Director of Incident Response at Dragos, takes some time off mentoring cybersecurity practitioners, responding to OT incidents, and training in martial arts to hop on the mics this week. Named Hacker of the Year in 2020, Lesley’s impa...