Frequently asked CISM Interview Questions

ISACA, a non-profit, independent association, offers the CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) Certification. It is an advanced certification that verifies an individual’s expertise in creating and managing an organization’s information security program. CISM is intended for professionals who focus on information security management, such as IT managers, information security analysts, or consultants. These experts undergo training and gain knowledge necessary to comprehend the connection between corporate goals and an information security program.

Candidates are only one interview away from landing their ideal job once they have successfully passed the CISM Exam. In light of this, getting prepared for an interview is an essential stage in the employment process. As a result, we have compiled the top Certified Information Security Manager interview questions to provide applicants with a fair idea of what to expect during the interview. This will enable them to successfully prepare and ace the interview.

This question is intended to determine whether CISM professionals are aware of cyber threats and consider these issues. An internal threat is the possibility that someone working for a corporation may utilize a system to steal information or cause harm. It involves data theft and sabotage activities by employees, unauthorized employee access to secure areas and administrative functions, weak cybersecurity measures and unsafe practices, accidental data loss or exposure, and so on.

Information security and risk management, or ISRM strategy, gives organizations a roadmap for protecting their information and IS infrastructure while ensuring that the capabilities are in line with their business objectives and risk profile. Business awareness, strategy definition, strategy development, metrics and benchmarking, implementation, and operation make up the five phases of ISRM strategy.

Holders of the CISM certification employ financial audits to provide directors, management, investors, and regulators that the financial statements are complete and accurate. It is an independent and unbiased assessment of the organization’s financial reports. Professionals employ audit techniques including interviews, observations, and test work to assess the effectiveness of the controls and systems. In the event that the controls and procedures are in place, it may be said that the financial statements are reasonable and accurate.

The process through which a business distributes and organizes duties within its IT department is known as the information technology (IT) organizational structure. It helps to keep operations efficient by outlining specific roles and duties and optimizing the use of IT policies, systems, and procedures. Additionally, it provides structure and direction to employers who require clearance for a project or IT concept.

The process of outsourcing important organizational data without the necessary authority is known as data leakage. It could be carried out using a variety of methods, including printouts, emails, laptop memory loss, and unauthorized data transfer to other systems. CISM specialists identify and manage data leakage by using an internal encryption solution, restricting mail to the internal network, limiting web uploads, and prohibiting the printing of sensitive data.

Symmetric encryption uses the same key for encryption and decryption, while asymmetric uses different keys for encryption and decryption. Symmetric is usually much faster but is difficult to implement since professionals transfer the key over an unencrypted channel. As a result, CISM professionals build an asymmetric connection first before creating a symmetric one. Symmetric encryption only provides confidentiality. On the other hand, asymmetric provides confidentiality, authenticity, and non-repudiation.

Professionals with CISM Certificates create a secured connection utilizing the SSH (Secure Shell) Protocol, which encrypts data flows to secure a server. Rather than utilizing a conventional password, they use SSH keys to authenticate an SSH server. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption is employed by experts to secure server-client and server-server internet connections in web administrative areas. Professionals also aid in maintaining server security through the use of firewalls, intrusion prevention software, password requirements, and user management strategies.

Identity theft occurs when an attacker impersonates or steals from a victim using their private information. Hacking, phishing, and physical mail theft are some of the most popular methods of identity theft. To avoid identity theft, CISM specialists employ techniques like frequently updated passwords and adding authentication steps whenever feasible. Additionally, they use antivirus software to prevent hackers from using malware to access sensitive data.

Open-source software may be used for anything and by anybody as there are no restrictions on who can modify it. Everyone with access to the source code has the ability to alter it. However, the source code of a closed source is inaccessible to the general public. It does not allow for outside input into its source code. Both closed-source software and open-source software have benefits and drawbacks, thereby allowing CISM professionals use them as per their needs in the organization.

This question is intended to gauge how seriously applicants take the issue since even the advanced practices will not keep the business secure if it is not followed. CISM experts promote best security practices to employees by explaining the significance of each measure taken for security. Moreover, conducting CISM Training sessions also creates awareness about security best practices.

The purpose of encryption is to transform the communication into a new format, whereas the purpose of compression is to make the message shorter. For instance, suppose the line of data is repeated 100 times, the same 100 lines will seem differently when we encrypt it using an encryption technique, yet they will all have the same length. On the other hand, when we compress it, the compression algorithm will take into account that they are distinct lines and it will not shrink the data's size. Therefore, the compression algorithm's capabilities have not been utilized. Due to this, compression should be carried out before encryption.

The interviewer uses this question to assess candidates' technical aptitude. CISM experts are in charge of identifying and implementing security measures in applications through a security risk assessment. They assess information value, recognize and prioritize assets, identify cyber threats, and vulnerabilities, analyze controls, implement new controls, compute the impact of various scenarios on an annual basis, and document results in the risk assessment report.

The purpose of this question is to determine whether CISM Certification holders has expertise in working with stakeholders. It also helps them to identify whether he/she is able to collaborate with them to develop an information security risk management program that meets their demands. CISM certified might respond, that he/she had meetings with high-level stakeholders to identify our goals and the various methods in which data protection required to be achieved.

Network security includes hardware and software technologies and is designed to respond to the full range of potential threats targeting your network. Network security tools include access control, anti-malware software, anomaly detection, application security, data loss prevention (DLP), email security, endpoint security, firewall, intrusion prevention systems, and network segmentation.

Professionals with CISM select metrics depending on the organization's current state of maturity for risk management and information security practices. They develop the selected metrics by incorporating all of their relevant info in a template that has been pre-defined to guide metrics collecting, analysis, and reporting operations. Finally, professionals implement the metrics, evaluate the derived metrics values, and create an action plan for ongoing information security and risk management.

The interviewer may ask CISM professional this question to see if he/she has the necessary knowledge and experience to perform their job duties. He or she can respond to this query by outlining some of the most common cyberattacks and describing their nature, mode of operation, and severity. The common cyber security attack types are Malware, Denial-of-Service, Cross-Site Scripting, phishing, session hijacking, and brute force.

Two-factor authentication is a security technique that requires users to confirm their identity using two distinct authentication factors. This process is conducted to secure the user's login information and resources. A password or passcode is typically used for single-factor authentication which offers a lower level of protection than two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds an additional degree of protection to the authentication process, knowing the password is insufficient to pass the authentication check. This makes it more challenging for attackers to access a person's devices or online accounts.

Holders of the CISM certification employ system hardening to manage vulnerabilities in a company's systems, applications, firmware, and other components. It is utilized to lessen security concerns by reducing possible assaults and compressing the system's attack surface. The system hardening techniques include Hardening of databases, Hardening the server, and Hardening the network.

CISM experts should stay current with the new procedures, technologies, and best practices created in response to fresh threats to cybersecurity. Keeping up with new technologies might seem like an immensely challenging task. Candidates can respond that he/she read blogs or newsletters on cybercrime and join user groups or professional organizations to keep updated. In addition, he or she uses social media, podcasts, and webinars to learn more about cybersecurity.

Black hat hackers access networks and systems without authorization for malicious or exploitative purposes. So this kind of hacking is illegal. On the other hand, white hat hackers are employed to assess the system's vulnerabilities. This type of hacking is legal since it is done with the consent of the targets. Grey hat hackers may look for system flaws without authorization, but rather than using the flaw to their advantage, they may offer to remedy the problem for a price. Therefore, this hacking is considered unethical and illegal since the intrusion was not authorized.

CISM professionals can monitor for vulnerabilities within the network. This involves conducting ongoing security assessments on all systems and applications. Certified CISM professionals employ secure authentication techniques, such as two-factor authentication, that require users to submit a special code or token along with a username and password to access particular system areas. Additionally, they develop an incident response strategy so that we can react rapidly in the event of a breach.

Basic Input or Output System (BIOS) is a firmware that is often found on a memory chip in a computer's system board or motherboard. A user password is required to boot up a device with the BIOS security feature. CISM experts can reset a password-protected BIOS configuration by turning on the device without the jumper plug, finding a password reset jumper on the system board, and removing the jumper plug from the password jumper pins. The BIOS will be restored to its factory settings using this method.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn about candidate’s experience with developing and implementing information security policies. This can help them understand how much experience he/she has in this field. Prepare the response by considering the procedures he/she follows while developing an information security policy. If there are any particular policies that he/she helped develop or execute, consider highlighting such scenarios.

Candidates may demonstrate their knowledge of the most latest information security technologies. They can provide an illustration of how machine learning or artificial intelligence can be used to assist identify security concerns. For instance: Artificial intelligence and machine learning, which I consider to be the finest example of new technology, are used to identify and handle security issues. There are several machine learning techniques available, including support vector machines, neural networks, and random forests.

This question is used to evaluate candidates’ communication skill and their capacity to make complicated information understandable to others. He/ she can share a previous experience where he/she had to impart knowledge to a person who was unfamiliar with a technical procedure or problem. For example, the response can be, "I presented the fundamentals of cybersecurity to a non-technical person in terms he/she could comprehend, including the various types of attacks and how we safeguarded against them."

An SLA is a contract or agreement that specifies the quality of service that a client may anticipate from a service provider. These contracts include specific metrics, responsibilities, and expectations related to the cybersecurity services being provided.

A vulnerability assessment is a systematic review of security weaknesses in an information system. It aids in identifying, categorizing, and ranking vulnerabilities in computer systems, applications, and network infrastructure. Vulnerability assessment determines if the system is vulnerable, rates the seriousness of those vulnerabilities, and, if necessary, suggests mitigation or solution.

The five stages s of an ISRM strategy are business awareness, strategy definition, strategy development, metrics and benchmarking, and implementation and operation

Cryptography is a fundamental building block of cybersecurity, which uses codes to secure communications and information so that only the intended recipient can decipher and process it. It guarantees the privacy of sensitive data.

The different types of SLAs are:
  • Corporate Level
  • Customer Level
  • Service Level

Organizations use Disaster Recovery Plans (DRPs), which are organized and recorded procedures, to recover and restore their business operations and IT systems in the case of a disruptive occurrence or disaster. It lessens the financial impact, data loss, and downtime following a calamity.

A Customer Level Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between a service provider and a specific customer or group of customers. These SLAs are customized to meet the unique demands, standards, and specifications of a single client or a group of related customers.

In cybersecurity, the procedures and plans implemented to efficiently address and lessen the effects of a cyberattack are referred to as consequence management. It includes measures taken to lessen the effects of a security breach, handle their consequences, and make it easier for impacted systems and data to recover.

A cyber risk audit is a procedure used to determine and evaluate any threats to the data and information systems of an organization. It delves deeply into an organization's internal IT systems to identify risks and weaknesses.

  • Open-box pen test
  • Closed-box pen test
  • Covert pen test
  • External pen test
  • Internal pen test

SLA document typically consists of an introduction to the SLA, Service description, Mutual responsibilities, Scope of SLA, Applicable service hours, Service availability, Service performance and Security.

Deep understanding of information security management, Risk Management, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning, Information Security Incident Management, Adaptability, Communication skills, and Leadership skills are the key skills needed for CISM professionals.

Business Impact Analysis, or BIA is the process of assessing the criticality of business activities and the corresponding resource needs to maintain operational resilience and continuity of operations both during and after a business interruption. BIA evaluates the potential risks and consequences of a breach.

The policies, practices, and technology that an organization uses to lessen the risks, weaknesses, and potential outcomes of not protecting data is known as information risk management. Information assets' availability, confidentiality, and integrity are safeguarded by information risk management.

A threat is the potential harm to one's reputation or breaches that might result from a vulnerability being exploited. Cybersecurity threats can include malicious software (malware), phishing attacks, hacking attempts, denial-of-service attacks, and insider threats.

A vulnerability is a danger that an attacker may use to perform unauthorized actions. Vulnerabilities can be found in software, hardware, network configurations, and even in organizational processes. An attacker needs a tool or method that connects to a system's flaw in order to exploit a vulnerability.

Candidates can share their past experience in penetration testing. If not they can explain about their experience in how it is conducted. Penetration testing is the process of identifying and taking advantage of security vulnerabilities in computer systems. It evaluates the system's security and offers information on any vulnerabilities attackers may exploit.

A cyber risk report is a written summary of the threats to an organization's cybersecurity. It includes Potential threats, vulnerabilities, and the efficacy of current security procedures. Report gives organization's present cybersecurity condition and help informing decisions about risk-reduction tactics.

A stakeholder register includes information about stakeholders such as their names, titles, roles, interests, power, requirements, expectations, influence and impact, potential risks and engagement strategy.

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It can be used to clarify the roles and responsibilities of individuals or teams involved in various cybersecurity-related tasks.

The key components of an ISMS are risk assessment, performance measurement, risk treatment, security controls, and continual improvement.

Cybersecurity risk is the likelihood that the company may be exposed to or suffer a loss as a result of a cyberattack or data breach. Cybersecurity is a technology, procedures, and policies created to prevent cyber criminals from illegally accessing a company's confidential data, customer information, and other intellectual property.

Brute force attacks are a type of hacking technique where passwords, login credentials, and encryption keys are cracked through a process of trial and error. The process entails "guessing" passwords and usernames to obtain illegal access to a system.

The Key components of Information Risk Management include
  • Risk Identification
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Risk Monitoring

Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations that have an interest in the project and can be affected by its outcomes. Stakeholders are Top-level executives, Chief Information Security Officer, IT Department, End Users, and Shareholders.