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Understanding ISACA CISM Certification: What You Should Know

  • Published by: André Hammer on Feb 01, 2024
Blog Alt EN

Seeking recognition as an expert in information security? The ISACA CISM certification might be a smart move for you. It's highly respected in the industry and can open new opportunities. But what is the CISM certification, and what does it entail? Let's delve into the details and what you should know before pursuing it.

The Essentials of ISACA CISM Certification

Definition and Relevance of CISM in 2022

ISACA websiteCISM, or Certified Information Security Manager, is a well-known certification. It shows that someone can manage, design, and assess an organization's information security.

In 2022, the CISM certification still focuses on managing and governing information security. Its importance in today's cybersecurity world is clear. It emphasizes managing risks, responding to incidents, and following regulations.

As cyber threats become more complex, CISM helps security professionals. It gives them the skills to spot and lessen risks, and create security plans that match business goals.

CISM also helps professionals grow. They can keep learning and make connections in the field. This helps them stay updated with the newest ideas and practices in information security. It makes them useful to their organizations.

Primary Focus of CISM on Security

CISM focuses on security in relation to risk management, incident response, security governance, and program development and management.

These areas help organisations to implement effective security measures and protect sensitive information.

CISM enhances security measures by implementing best practices in risk management and ensuring compliance with regulations.

It also addresses primary concerns in security, such as cyber threats and aligning security strategies with business objectives.

CISM equips security professionals with the knowledge and skills to navigate security threats and challenges.

Benefits of a CISM Certification

Advantages for Professionals in the Security Field

Obtaining a CISM certification offers many advantages for security professionals. It showcases expertise in information security management and can lead to career growth. Many employers look for certified individuals for leadership roles.

Having a CISM certification provides a competitive advantage in the job market. The demanding exam and ongoing education ensure a strong grasp of the latest trends and technologies in the field. This is appealing to employers who value digital asset and data security.

CISM versus CISSP: A Comparative Analysis

The CISM and CISSP certifications have different focuses and content.

CISM is about management-oriented information security, risk management, and governance.

On the other hand, CISSP focuses on technical security implementation, operations, and architecture.

CISM certified professionals often work as IT security managers, security consultants, and CISOs, with higher salaries.

CISSP certified professionals usually work in technical roles, but may have more opportunities for hands-on security positions.

When choosing between CISM and CISSP, consider your level of experience and interest in management versus technical security roles, as well as the level of study and exam difficulty.

CISM may be better for those aiming for managerial roles, while CISSP may be more suitable for technical professionals looking to specialize in security.

The Job Potential for CISM Certified Professionals

Roles and Career Opportunities

Professionals with CISM certification have many career opportunities available in the security field in 2022. These include positions such as security consultant, security manager, information security analyst, and chief information security officer. The certification benefits professionals by increasing their marketability and demonstrating their expertise, leading to career advancement.

In terms of salary, certified professionals tend to earn higher salaries compared to non-certified peers, with the potential for even more lucrative opportunities as they gain more experience. This certification provides professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the ever-evolving cybersecurity, making them valuable assets to organizations in need of protecting their sensitive information and systems.

Salary Outlook for CISM Professionals

Recent data shows that the average salary range for CISM professionals in the UK in 2022 is between £60,000 and £90,000 per year. This makes the CISM certification one of the top-paying credentials in the security field. Compared to other certifications like CISSP or CompTIA Security+, CISM professionals tend to earn higher salaries due to the specific focus on information security management.

Industries or sectors that offer higher salaries for CISM professionals in the UK include financial services, healthcare, and technology. The demand for skilled professionals who can effectively manage and oversee information security in these sectors has led to higher compensation packages for CISM holders.

Examining the ISACA CISM Exam

Structure and Components of the Exam

The ISACA CISM exam has 150 multiple-choice questions. These are divided into four domains:

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

Each domain tests the candidate's knowledge and skills in managing an enterprise's information security program. The exam covers topics such as information security governance, risk management, incident management, and program development and management. Thoroughly reviewing the course curriculum can help candidates understand the exam's structure and prepare for its components. This ensures they are well-prepared to demonstrate their understanding and expertise in information security management.

Course Curriculum Overview

The CISM certification course covers important topics like Information Security Governance, Risk Management, Information Security Program Development, and Information Security Incident Management. These topics are meant to help professionals effectively manage and oversee information security in organizations. Practical examples and case studies are used to prepare professionals for real-world challenges, trends, and best practices in the security field.

The curriculum aims to equip professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the ever-changing nature of information security in today's digital age.

Understanding the Requirements for CISM Certification

Educational Background and Degree Prerequisites

Candidates who want CISM certification must have at least five years of experience in information security management. This experience should be within the ten years before the exam and verified by employers. They also need to have completed a degree in information security, IT, or a related field from an accredited institution. This can be substituted with more work experience. Completing an ISACA training course is also required before taking the CISM exam.

These requirements ensure candidates have the necessary experience and education to be successful security managers.

Essential Work Experience in Security

Successful CISM certification candidates have:

  • A minimum of five years of verified work experience in information security.
  • 3 years in the role of an information security manager.
  • Work experience in three or more job practice analysis areas is required.
  • Relevant experience in implementing and managing information security programs, security risk management, incident management, and compliance is important.
  • Additional beneficial experiences include roles in threat management, identity and access management, security architecture and engineering, and cybersecurity.
  • It's important to gain experience in security governance and the ability to develop and manage a program to protect an organization's critical information assets.
  • Experience in business process analysis, risk management, and project management can also be advantageous.

The Cost of Obtaining CISM Certification

Exam Fees and Additional Expenses

The fees for taking a CISM certification exam can vary, ranging from a few hundred to over a thousand pounds.

When pursuing CISM certification, individuals should also budget for study materials, training courses, and exam preparation resources.

After obtaining the certification, there are ongoing costs to consider, such as continuing education, membership fees, and exam retake fees if needed.

It's important to take these expenses into account when planning for CISM certification, as they can greatly affect the total cost of getting and keeping the certification.

Continuing Education and Maintenance Costs

Continuing education and maintenance costs for the CISM certification can include expenses such as annual certification maintenance fees, exam and preparation costs, and ongoing education and training.

These costs are comparable to other professional certifications in the security field, such as CISSP or CEH. They are a necessary investment for professionals seeking to maintain their expertise and up-to-date knowledge in the industry.

In the long term, individuals holding the CISM certification may experience potential financial implications, such as increased job opportunities and higher earning potential.

It is important to consider the ongoing costs associated with maintaining the certification, as well as the benefits it can bring in terms of career advancement and professional development.

The Pros and Cons of ISACA CISM

Benefits of Certification for Career Advancement

Getting CISM certification can help advance your career in security. It shows expertise in information security management, leading to better job opportunities and job security. CISM is tailored for those wanting to advance in security, giving an edge in the job market. But, consider the time and resources needed for certification and ongoing education. Still, the benefits for career growth are clear, making it a valuable investment for thriving in the security industry.

Potential Drawbacks and Considerations

Pursuing CISM certification has potential drawbacks. The process involves rigorous study and exams. There are also ongoing requirements to maintain the certification. Security professionals need to consider the time and financial commitments required. It's crucial to factor in the need for continuous professional development and staying updated with industry changes. Professionals should assess if CISM certification aligns with their career goals and benefits their job responsibilities.

Individuals must weigh the certification's benefits against potential drawbacks for their career advancement in cybersecurity.

Getting Started with CISM Certification

Step-by-Step Guide to Prepare for Certification

To prepare for ISACA CISM certification, follow these steps:

  1. Review the exam content outline to understand the domains that will be covered.
  2. Establish a study plan to allocate enough time to review each domain.
  3. Take regular practice exams to assess your progress.
  4. Use a variety of study resources such as official ISACA review manuals, online practice questions, and review courses.
  5. Join study groups or forums to discuss difficult topics and gain insights from others' experiences.
  6. Seek mentorship from certified professionals for guidance on studying and exam strategy.

Is CISM Right for Me?

To get a CISM certification, you need a good understanding of information security management. You should also have experience in creating and managing information security programs. It's important to have strong knowledge in risk management, governance, and incident response too. These skills are important for people who want to move forward in careers as information security managers, IT consultants, or chief information security officers.

When you have a CISM certification, you can find job opportunities at top companies. You'll be able to help keep important data and information systems safe. This certification is a good start for professionals who want to gain the expertise needed to handle the increasingly complex world of cyber threats and security problems.


The ISACA CISM certification is a well-respected credential for information security professionals. To earn it, you need to pass an exam and meet experience and education requirements.

The certification shows that you are skilled in overseeing, designing, and evaluating an organisation's information security program. Professionals with a CISM certification are sought after and can greatly improve their career opportunities.

It's crucial to understand the certification process and its value if you're thinking about pursuing it.

Readynez offers a 4-day CISM Course and Certification Program, providing you with all the learning and support you need to successfully prepare for the exam and certification. The CISM course, and all our other ISACA courses, are also included in our unique Unlimited Security Training offer, where you can attend the CISM and 60+ other Security courses for just €249 per month, the most flexible and affordable way to get your Security Certifications.

Please reach out to us with any questions or if you would like a chat about your opportunity with the CISM certification and how you best achieve it. 


What is ISACA CISM certification?

ISACA CISM certification is a globally recognized credential for information security management professionals. It demonstrates the ability to design, manage and assess an organization's information security program. This certification helps professionals advance their careers in IT security management.

What are the benefits of obtaining ISACA CISM certification?

Obtaining ISACA CISM certification can lead to career advancement, increased earning potential, and greater credibility as a cybersecurity professional. It also demonstrates a commitment to ongoing professional development and keeping up with industry best practices.

What are the eligibility requirements for ISACA CISM certification?

To be eligible for the ISACA CISM certification, candidates must have a minimum of five years of work experience in information security management, with at least three years of experience in three or more of the CISM job practice areas.

What topics are covered in the ISACA CISM exam?

The ISACA CISM exam covers topics such as information security governance, risk management, incident management, and regulatory compliance. It also includes areas like security program development and management, and information security management.

How can I prepare for the ISACA CISM exam?

To prepare for the ISACA CISM exam, you can study the official exam prep materials, take practice exams, and participate in study groups. Additionally, you can use online resources such as review courses and forums to deepen your understanding of the exam content.

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