Guide to CISM Certification

Shamim Ahammed
5 min readFeb 17, 2023

Want to know what a CISM certification is and if it’s right for you? This information security certification requires a combination of experience and expertise in protecting networks and systems from cybercrime. See our guide for more information.

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification is for information security professionals with existing experience and expertise. The certification is designed to demonstrate competence in one or more of her four areas:

  • Information security incident management
  • Information risk management
  • Information security governance
  • Information security program development and management

There are over 48,000 CISM certified professionals worldwide, according to ISACA, an international association that provides certifications. In fact, one recruiting board notes that CISM is one of the world’s most popular certifications in information security. Earning a CISM certification takes time and effort, but it can be an effective way to advance your career, especially if you aspire to demonstrate leadership in cybersecurity.

Take a closer look at the CISM certification and its benefits to help you decide.

What is CISM certification?

Earning a CISM certification helps you demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge not only of your knowledge of information security, but of how security fits your business goals. As a CISM certified professional, you can design, implement and manage your organization’s security network. It is also tasked with identifying potential threats and mitigating damage in the event of a security breach.

CISM certification is provided by ISACA, an association with over 165,000 members in 188 countries. For more than 50 years, ISACA has helped information security and information technology professionals keep up with the latest changes in this fast-paced, ever-evolving technology environment.


The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification is another in-demand certification offered by (ISC)² Enterprise Solutions, which provides public records and data registration and information management services.

Both certifications are aimed at information security professionals, but the CISM also requires you to demonstrate an understanding of information security from a business perspective as well as a technical one. If you are in a managerial position or want to pursue a career in management, CISM certification is a good option.

CISSP certification requires demonstrating technical understanding and assuming management responsibility for a large list of security domains. Both certifications complement each other and can be achieved, but CISM is the number one choice if you want to advance to leadership positions.

Benefits of CISM certification

As you consider your options, it’s helpful to keep an eye on the future and the potential benefits this certification offers. One of the greatest benefits is being part of a community of elite information security professionals.

Earning this certification can be difficult, so it demonstrates your commitment to your career and information security. Two additional benefits are increased employment opportunities and increased earning potential.

Job potential

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is estimated to cost the world $7 trillion in 2022. With the cost of cybercrime skyrocketing, there can always be demand for knowledgeable and skilled information security professionals. Cybersecurity Ventures also predicts that the cybersecurity market will grow 12–15% by 2025, with cybersecurity spending increasing from small businesses to large enterprises and governments to better defend against security breaches.

Job opportunities depend on your current role and the role you are interested in. Indeed advises that earning the CISM certification will give her a competitive edge in all levels of IT positions.

Salary outlook

The median salary for US CISM holders is over $149,000, with a 42% increase in salaries for senior positions. According to InfoSec, the average salary range for CISM certified professionals is up to $232,000.

Is CISM right for me?

If you have experience and expertise in information security and are looking to transition from working in a team to leading a team, CISM is for you. It is ANSI certified, ensuring it meets international standards of consistency and completeness. ISACA estimates that CISM holders will see:

  • 70 percent increase in on-the-job performance
  • 90 percent more effective teams
  • 70 percent efficiency and expertise increase

Pros and cons

This suggests that earning this credential will increase your credibility, performance and confidence. Before deciding whether CISM is the right option for you, consider the pros and cons beyond the potential for increased employment and income.

Requirements for CISM certification

To become certified, you must meet five criteria, starting with passing the CISM certification exam. This test includes his four topics:

  • Information security incident management
  • Information security program development and management
  • Information risk management
  • Information security governance

This test is a multiple choice test with 150 questions to answer in 4 hours. Scores are invalid if the following four requirements are not met: Additionally, she must apply for certification within five years of passing the exam. Other criteria are:

Adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics, which requires you to maintain strict standards and govern your information systems

Completion of at least 20 hours of professional development per year and at least 120 hours within 3 years.

Proof of professional experience from your employer. Within 5 years from the date of passing the certification exam, she must have at least 5 years of experience in the field of information security and he must have at least 3 years of experience in the field of information security management.

Submission of CISM application and payment of application fee. ISACA will review all information prior to awarding certification.

Do I need a degree?

There are no ISACA requirements requiring a degree, but work experience in information security is a must. Many information security employers are looking for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, information security, computer science, or related fields.

However, due to the demand for information security professionals, it is possible to enter this field without a degree. Some popular alternatives are to attend an information security her boot her camp or obtain another certification such as: B. Certification as a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) issued by ISACA. This certification also requires that she have at least 5 years of professional experience, passed exams and completed further education.

Required work experience

At least 5 years of professional experience in the field of information security is required. At least three of these years, each of which is more than one year, he must complete in three specialties. These areas are:

  • Information security management
  • Information risk management
  • Information security program development
  • Information security governance

There are some eligibility requirements that may reduce the required work experience. For example, earning a CISA certification saves you two years, while earning a competency-based security certification such as CBCP or GIAC saves you one year.

Complete continuing education.

There’s a reason why CISM-certified professionals are highly regarded, as there are strict criteria. You must adhere to good conduct and stay abreast of the latest information security issues, technologies and threats.

Attending corporate training courses, vendor sales presentations, and college courses are many ways to meet your requirements. ISACA also hosts vocational training conferences and activities that can meet continuing education requirements. She can also take self-paced courses that include a Certificate of Completion stating how many CPE hours she has earned in each course.

Getting started

Start building the skills needed for entry-level information security roles with the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate. If you want to advance your career in leadership, consider the Managing Cybersecurity Specialization at the University System of Georgia.



Shamim Ahammed

Forty percents marketers+Forty percents designer+Twenty percent's writer= dudes; It’s me😎