Certified Information Security Manager

Definition of Certified Information Security Manager

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a professional certification for individuals specializing in managing, designing, and overseeing an organization’s information security. It is globally recognized and awarded by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The certification validates a candidate’s expertise and commitment to developing effective security strategies and managing cybersecurity risks.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Certified Information Security Manager” can be broken down as follows:Certified – /sərˈtī-fīd/Information – /ˌin-fərˈmā-shən/Security – /səˈkyo͝orədē/Manager – /ˈma-ni-jər/Putting it all together:/sərˈtī-fīd/ /ˌin-fərˈmā-shən/ /səˈkyo͝orədē/ /ˈma-ni-jər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a globally recognized certification that validates an individual’s expertise in managing, designing, and overseeing an enterprise’s information security program.
  2. The certification can enhance career opportunities and advancement, as it demonstrates a high level of commitment, knowledge, and proficiency in information security management to employers and clients.
  3. Obtaining the CISM certification requires the candidate to pass a comprehensive exam that covers four main domains: Information Security Governance, Information Risk Management and Compliance, Information Security Program Development and Management, and Information Security Incident Management.

Importance of Certified Information Security Manager

The term “Certified Information Security Manager” (CISM) is important because it represents a globally recognized professional certification that showcases an individual’s expertise in managing, designing, and overseeing an organization’s information security program.

By obtaining the CISM certification, professionals demonstrate their commitment to staying current on industry best practices, mitigating cybersecurity risks, and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical data.

As organizations become increasingly reliant on technology and face rapidly evolving cyber threats, the demand for highly skilled and certified information security managers has grown, making the CISM credential both a valuable and sought-after qualification within the technology field.


The primary purpose of a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is to ensure that an organization’s information security systems and processes are maintained at the highest level of effectiveness. This requires a thorough understanding of the risks and vulnerabilities that may be encountered in various types of information systems, as well as the ability to develop comprehensive plans for overcoming these challenges and continuously safeguarding the infrastructure.

As a recognized and respected certification in the field of information security, CISM professionals play a crucial role in the overall management and governance of the organization’s security program. This includes policy development, incident response planning, and compliance management, ensuring that valuable information assets are adequately protected from potential threats.

CISMs are typically responsible for establishing and maintaining a robust information security strategy that is aligned with the organization’s business objectives. They work collaboratively with other stakeholders, such as executives, IT personnel, and legal teams, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s risk appetite and create security policies that prioritize the protection of critical assets.

By implementing controls, mitigating vulnerabilities, and overseeing ongoing security monitoring activities, CISMs help to minimize the likelihood of a data breach or other security incidents that could result in severe financial and reputational damage. Ultimately, the expertise provided by a Certified Information Security Manager serves as a vital pillar of support for organizations in the complex and ever-evolving landscape of information security.

Examples of Certified Information Security Manager

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credential is a professional certification offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) that focuses on information security management, risk management, and governance of information systems. Here are three real-world examples of CISM holders:

Security Manager at a Bank: In this role, the CISM holder is responsible for managing the information security policies and procedures for the institution. They may oversee various security measures, including network access controls, vulnerability assessments, and incident response management. Additionally, they ensure that the bank remains in compliance with all applicable regulations, standards, and guidelines, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, PCI-DSS, and GDPR.

IT Auditor at a Healthcare Organization: In this capacity, a CISM holder conducts regular audits and assessments of the organization’s information security measures, ensuring that patient data is kept safe and secure. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of security controls, identifying vulnerabilities, and ensuring that the organization adheres to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), GDPR, and other regulatory requirements. The IT auditor will also be responsible for providing recommendations to improve the organization’s overall security posture.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for a Technology Company: A CISO provides strategic direction and leadership for the company’s information security initiatives. As a CISM holder, they are responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive information security program to protect the company’s assets and safeguard sensitive information from breaches. This may involve developing and maintaining corporate security policies, collaborating with other departments to ensure compliance with security measures, and responding to security incidents. The CISO may also play a role in managing vendor relationships, ensuring that third-party service providers meet necessary security requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions for Certified Information Security Manager

What is Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)?

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a globally recognized certification offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). It validates a person’s ability to manage, design, and oversee an organization’s information security program.

Who should consider obtaining a CISM certification?

The CISM certification is suitable for experienced information security professionals, particularly those in managerial or leadership roles, who are responsible for developing and managing an organization’s information security program. This may include roles such as Information Security Manager, IT Security Consultant, or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

What are the requirements to take the CISM exam?

To qualify for the CISM examination, candidates must have at least 5 years of work experience in information security, with at least 3 years in information security management across at least three of the four ISACA CISM domains. There are certain waivers available for substituting the required work experience based on education or other relevant certifications.

What are the four CISM domains?

The four CISM domains cover the critical skill areas that are essential for effective information security management:

  1. Information Security Governance
  2. Information Risk Management
  3. Information Security Program Development and Management
  4. Information Security Incident Management

How many questions are on the CISM exam, and what is the passing score?

The CISM examination consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, and candidates have four hours to complete it. The passing score for the exam is 450 out of 800.

How can I prepare for the CISM exam?

To prepare for the CISM exam, you should start by studying the official CISM Review Manual provided by ISACA. Additionally, you can join CISM exam preparation courses or online classes and participate in CISM exam discussion forums to get study tips and advice from fellow candidates. Many professionals also recommend taking practice exams to evaluate your understanding of the material and identify areas that need improvement.

How often is the CISM certification valid, and how can I maintain my certification?

The CISM certification is valid for three years. To maintain the certification, you must earn and report 120 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits within the three-year period and comply with ISACA’s Code of Professional Ethics and Information System Auditing Standards. A minimum of 20 CPE credits should be reported each year.

Related Technology Terms

  • Information Security Governance
  • Risk Management and Compliance
  • Incident Management
  • Security Program Development and Management
  • Information Security Management

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents

More Terms