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What is CISM certification, and how does it work?

CISM certification

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credential is intended for experienced and knowledgeable information security professionals. 

This certification demonstrates your abilities in one or more of the four areas listed below:

  1. Information security incident management.
  2. Information risk management.
  3. Information security governance.
  4. Information security program development and management.

According to ISACA, there are over 48,000 CISM-certified experts globally. According to one job portal, CISM is one of the most in-demand qualifications in information security. While it takes time to obtain the credential, it could be an excellent way to advance your career. Let’s take a closer look at CISM certifications and their benefits.

What is CISM certification?

Earning a CISM certification can help you demonstrate your expertise in information security, advanced skills, and knowledge of how shield fits into business goals. As a CISM-certified professional, you can design, deploy, and maintain an organisation’s security network. You’ll also be entrusted with identifying potential threats and mitigating harm in the event of a security breach. ISACA, a global organisation with over 165,000 members in 188 countries, provides CISM certification. ISACA has been assisting information security and information technology professionals in staying on top of all the latest advances in this fast-paced, ever-changing technical landscape for more than 50 years.

The Benefits of Obtaining a CISM Certification

CISM certification provides several professional and personal benefits, including increased knowledge and abilities, job advancement, and global recognition for professional experience. Being CISM-certified is essential if you are active or want to be involved in a government’s information security efforts. It initially provides you with a fundamental understanding of management, information technology, and security principles. Second, CISM certificates typically lead to a pay raise. As you weigh your options, keep an eye on the future and the potential benefits this qualification may give. One of the significant benefits is joining a club of elite infosec professionals. Because this certification is tough to achieve, it indicates your dedication to your work and the field of information security.

Increased career opportunities and higher earning potential are two other benefits. According to the ISACA website (last accessed on June 15, 2022), CISM holders often benefit from the following:

70% better on-the-job performance

Teams that are 90% more efficient

70% more knowledge and efficiency

This certification could boost your performance, credibility, and confidence in your cybersecurity job path. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of CISM, which go beyond increased employment and income opportunities, before deciding if it is the best course of action.

Who should take the CISM examination?

The training creates experienced information security managers and those in charge of a company’s security posture. To become a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), you must have at least five years of security experience, three of which must be in the information or network security management. To obtain a CISM certification, you must demonstrate that you understand information security’s commercial and technological levers. You have five years after passing the test to retake it with accompanying documents. The CISM may be a good option if you want to move from working in a team to managing one and have infosec experience and expertise. Because it is ANSI-accredited, you may be confident that it meets all integrity and consistency criteria internationally. The CISM is valuable if your employment entails making cybersecurity-related business decisions, purchasing decisions, and working with or joining your company’s leadership.

CISM certification requirements

To become certified, you must complete five criteria, beginning with passing the CISM certification exam. This examination covers four topics:

  • Management of information security incidents.
  • Development and management of information security programs.
  • Management of information risk.
  • Governance of information security.

The exam is multiple-choice with 150 questions and a time limit of four hours. Your score will only be valid if you meet the four standards below. You must also seek certification within five years of passing the exam. Other considerations include the following:

  1. You were complying with ISACA’s “Code of Professional Ethics,” which requires you to maintain stringent standards and your knowledge of information systems.
  2. Completing at least 20 hours of continuing professional education per year and at least 120 hours in three years.
  3. Your employer must verify your employment experience. You must have at least five years of experience in information security, including three or more years in information security management, within five years after passing your certification exam.
  4. Submission of your CISM application and payment of the application fee. Before issuing you the certification, ISACA will confirm all of your information.

Work experience  required for CISM certification

You must have at least five years of expertise in information security. At least three of those years must be spent in at least three different job practice areas, with one year or more in each. 

These are some examples:

  1. Management of information security.
  2. Management of information risk.
  3. Program development for information security.
  4. Governance of information security.

Several qualifying circumstances may lower the quantity of work experience required. Holding a CISA certification, for example, cuts it by two years, while any skill-based security certification, such as CBCP or GIAC, cuts it by one year.

Cost of CISM Certification

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) exam can cost up to $760 for qualified applicants. Existing ISACA members must pay $575 to the non-profit organisation that administers and maintains the certification. Notably, following initial enrollment, candidates must pay the exam cost and take the exam within the following 12-month qualifying term. If they do not schedule or skip the exam during this time, they forfeit the money and must pay it again if they wish to proceed.

To keep their CISM certification, candidates must submit at least 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits per year and at least 120 CPE credits across the three-year reporting cycle. CPE credits can be obtained through continuing education or, more typically, significant professional experience. This must maintain the current certification in the ever-changing information security sector. Candidates must also pay an annual maintenance fee of $85 if they are not members. The price for ISACA members is only $45.

Salary for CISM-certified professional

According to PayScale data, a CISM-certified professional can expect to earn between $52,402 and $243,610 yearly (updated on June 21, 2022). Candidates who have successfully handled complex projects and are ready for a senior level might fetch a substantially higher five-figure or six-figure salary in the market. Entry-level positions often pay at the lower end of the pay scale. According to Payscale, the average wage is $126,525.

Depending on a CISM-certified professional’s skill level, region, and years of experience, there may be several prospects for career advancement and increased income, as the usual compensation range for a CISM varies significantly (by as much as $50,000) dependent on these criteria. Recent job postings indicate that the CISM employment market in Chicago, Illinois, and the surrounding region is highly active. A CISM in these areas can expect an annual salary of $134,897, more significant than the net.

CISM Job in 2022

While CISM certificates are often associated with management positions, there are chances to investigate at the entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level levels. Two entry-level CISM positions are information security officer and security consultant (for computers, networking, or IT). The information security manager, security manager (IT), and chief information security officer are the highest mid- and senior-level jobs (CISO). According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime losses will top $6 trillion globally in 2021 and $10.5 trillion by 2025. With the rising cost of cybercrime, there will likely be an ongoing need for experienced, skilled cybersecurity personnel. Among the critical employment roles you could obtain with CISM are:

  1. Information system security officer
  2. Information and privacy risk consultant
  3. Information security manager
  4. Chief information security officer (CISO)


ISACA is one of the world’s most well-known cybersecurity training organisations, offering a wide range of courses and certifications that can help technical workers advance in their careers. In addition to CISM, there are several more possibilities, all of which are reasonably priced but need extensive preparation. Because they are held a high level, CISM-certified experts are highly respected. You must follow correct conduct while staying current on issues, methodologies, and information security concerns.

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