The CISO Handbook: A Practical Guide to Securing Your Company, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The CISO Handbook

A Practical Guide to Securing Your Company, 1st Edition

By Michael Gentile, Ron Collette, Thomas D. August

Auerbach Publications

348 pages | 49 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780849319525
pub: 2005-08-24
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pub: 2016-04-19
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The CISO Handbook: A Practical Guide to Securing Your Company provides unique insights and guidance into designing and implementing an information security program, delivering true value to the stakeholders of a company. The authors present several essential high-level concepts before building a robust framework that will enable you to map the concepts to your company’s environment.

The book is presented in chapters that follow a consistent methodology – Assess, Plan, Design, Execute, and Report. The first chapter, Assess, identifies the elements that drive the need for infosec programs, enabling you to conduct an analysis of your business and regulatory requirements. Plan discusses how to build the foundation of your program, allowing you to develop an executive mandate, reporting metrics, and an organizational matrix with defined roles and responsibilities. Design demonstrates how to construct the policies and procedures to meet your identified business objectives, explaining how to perform a gap analysis between the existing environment and the desired end-state, define project requirements, and assemble a rough budget. Execute emphasizes the creation of a successful execution model for the implementation of security projects against the backdrop of common business constraints. Report focuses on communicating back to the external and internal stakeholders with information that fits the various audiences.

Each chapter begins with an Overview, followed by Foundation Concepts that are critical success factors to understanding the material presented. The chapters also contain a Methodology section that explains the steps necessary to achieve the goals of the particular chapter.

Table of Contents



Foundation Concepts

Critical Skills

Consultative Sales Skills

Critical Knowledge

Understanding Your Business

Understanding Risk

Understanding Your Enterprise Differentiators      

Understanding Your Legal and Regulatory Environment    

Understanding Your Organizational Structure       

Understanding Your Organizational Dynamics     

Enterprise Culture         

Understanding your Enterprise’s View of Technology        

Assessment Methodology         

Identifying your Program’s Primary Driver

Why Are You Here?                  


Identifying your External Drivers              

Other External Drivers   

Identifying your Internal Drivers   

Assessment Checklist  



Foundation Concepts    

Critical Skills    


Strategic Planning         



Talent Assessment       

Critical Skills Summary 

Critical Knowledge        

ISC2 Common Body of Knowledge [CBK] 

Other Security Industry Resources         

Planning Methodology   

Understanding your Program’s Mandate              

Determining Your Program’s Structure    

Centralized vs. Decentralized     

Security Pipeline           

Size of Your Program    

Security Program Structure Summary     

Determining Your Program’s Staffing       

Planning Summary        

Planning Checklist        




Foundation Concepts    

Critical Skills    

Critical Knowledge        



Security Document Development

Project Portfolio Development     

Communication Plan Development          

Incorporating your Enterprise Drivers       


Gap Analysis    

Building Security Policies, Standards, Procedures, And Guidelines           

Build Security Documents Summary      

Building the Security Project Portfolio     

Annual Portfolio Review 

Build the Communication Plan               

Chapter Summary         

Design Checklist           



Foundation Concepts    


Critical Skills    

Critical Knowledge        


Project Execution         

Administrative Cleanup  

Chapter Summary         



Foundation Concepts    

Critical Skills    

Critical Knowledge        



Report Construction Process     

Determine Target Audience        

Delivery Mechanisms    

Chapter Summary         


The Final Phase         


Back To the Beginning  

Parting Thoughts           


Appendix A      Design Chapter Worksheets    

Appendix B      Report Creation Process Worksheet   

Appendix C      Requirements Sample

Appendix D      SDLC Checklist           

Appendix E      Recommended Reading         

About the Authors

Mike Gentile is on a mission to change the status quo in Information Security as we know it. His goal is to translate the discipline from one that is often misunderstood, inefficiently applied, and painful to one that is seamless, collaborative, and repeatable in organizations across the globe. Delphiis is the encapsulation of this mission. Mike brings balance of business acumen and technical skill-set anchored by years in the field and his core focus over the past 15 years has been his practice, Coastline Consulting services. As the Founder and President, Coastline has developed enterprise security programs for countless leading public, private, and government organizations, including many within the Global 1000 and Fortune 500. During that time he also became Co-Founder and Editor for, the leading portal for security leaders. As a researcher, Mike has contributed numerous publications within the Information technology, project management, and security communities. He is also a senior researcher with Computer Economics in the Information Security domain and has written articles for the ISSA Journal, Computer Economics, RSA Conference and Secure World Expo.

As a writer he is the co-author of The CISO Handbook: A Practical Guide to Securing Your Company as well as CISO Soft Skills: Securing Organizations Impaired by Employee Politics, Apathy, and Intolerant Perspectives. The CISO Handbook is used as course material for numerous advanced education and Master’s programs on security leadership around the world. Mr. Gentile serves on multiple advisory boards, including being on the Board of Advisors for Savant, a malware protection company, as well an active member of the RSA Program Committee since 2009.

Mr. Gentile is a sought after speaker on security, project management, and information technology topics. For the last 3 years he has been a top rated speaker at RSA, the most prestigious security conference in the United states and has been keynote speaker for the CXO Summits conference series. He has also presented over the years for the Project Management Institute, Secure World Expo, ISSA, Symantec, and many more. Mike lives in Southern California with his wife Tiffany and their two boys.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
COMPUTERS / Security / General