How Do I Get CISM Certified?

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Every company’s views regarding cybersecurity are different. Some do not invest properly into securing their business data, while others take it so seriously that they are ready to pay millions of dollars to a person who can point out a harmful bug in their application. You may ask, are the former facing any repercussions? Well, it is a myth that hackers only try to compromise the sensitive information of large companies where they can ask for a huge ransom. Even the startups aren’t spared, and everything available online is under threat.

It’s high time that companies realize the importance of cybersecurity and hire talented professionals who can save them from any kind of cyberattack. Some of the popular job roles in this field include ethical hackers, information security analysts, security consultants, forensic analysts, incident responders, and security administrators. But what about a managerial position? Well, those who are seeking a managerial role in cybersecurity have the option of becoming an information security manager. And there is a globally recognized credential that can prove your credibility for this role – the CISM certification.

Are you curious to know what CISM certification is all about? If yes, then this article is for you. Read on to know the details and how one can become CISM certified.

CISM Certification – What is it?

Have you heard of ISACA – Information Systems Audit and Control Association? It is a worldwide acknowledged institution that aims to advance the best talent, expertise, and learning in technology. It equips professionals with knowledge, education, credentials, and community to help them advance their careers and transform their organizations. One of the important credentials offered by ISACA is the popular CISM certification – Certified Information Security Manager. The credential is ideal for those who have technical expertise in the field of IS/IT security and control but is seeking a managerial role in this domain. 

As ISACA describes, the CISM certification demonstrates your skills and knowledge in information security governance, incident management, risk management, and program development. It boasts of being accredited under ISO/IEC 17024:2012. Other interesting things about CISM are – the certification holders have seen a 42% increase in salary in managerial roles, 70% on-the-job performance improvement, and there are over 46K CISM certification holders across the world.

The CISM exam is a lengthy 4 hours test in which you need to solve 150 multiple-choice questions. The exam validates your understanding of the following four work-related domains:

  • Information security governance – 24%
  • Information risk management – 30%
  • Information security program development and management – 27%
  • Information security incident management – 19%

Don’t be under the impression that anyone can appear for the CISM exam and pass it in an initial attempt. ISACA allows only those candidates to appear for the exam who have at least 5 years of work experience in the field of information security management. Experience waiver is available for a maximum of 2 years out of the total 5 years, and you can check out those details on the ISACA website. 

How to Get Certified?

Knowing about the CISM certification and exam is one thing; passing it is entirely another thing. First off, make sure that you are eligible to take the CISM exam as you need to fulfill certain criteria. Once this thing is checked, it’s time to go through the exam syllabus thoroughly. Though the exam domains are mentioned above, all of them are elaborated in the exam guide document available on the ISACA website. This will make you aware of the topics you will be tested on during the exam. 

You have two options to prepare for the exam – independent study or an online training course. For the former, you will have to create a study prep toolkit yourself. For the latter, you can rely on the training provider to give you all the study materials and teach you everything that is covered in the exam. The second option is better for working professionals who have to manage to study in their already hectic schedule.

Next, you should start thinking like a manager. CISM isn’t a memory-based test where you learn something, and it will be asked directly in the exam. You will be given a problem statement, and you will have to solve it by applying the concepts that you have learned. You have to act like a risk advisor and ensure that security supports the business. After you are thorough with your preparation, you should assess your knowledge by taking a mock test or CISM practice quiz. Based on your performance, you can find out what domains you are strong at and which are the weaker ones. Put your focus accordingly, improve your weaker areas, and try to eliminate any gaps in your knowledge.

When you are finally ready, register for the exam and pay the fee. Become an ISACA member and avail of significant exam-related discounts. The exam can be taken via online remote proctored or at an in-person testing center. If you pass the test and have the required experience, submit the CISM certification application, including the Application Processing Fee. This will complete your CISM certification process.

With all the information about CISM in hand, when are you starting your CISM journey?

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