Data security is important for most businesses and even home computer users. Client information, personal files, bank account details, payment information, — all of this information can be difficult to substitute and probably dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Data lost due to natural disasters such as a flood or fire is overwhelming, but losing it to hackers or a malware infection can have a much greater disaster. Therefore it is understood why organizations are now in demand for information security managers.
The skill gap is encouraging cyber-crimes more than ever. Therefore organizations looking to hire people who perceive the priority of the matter and have the technical expertise that would satisfy the business requirements of an enterprise. Enterprises are not only looking for such employees but also integrating these skills into their present employees by inspiring them to achieve ISACA’s CISM Certification.
As the expertise level expected of senior security experts remains to change and increase, organizations are having a difficult time seeking qualified professionals. One of the best approaches to look forward to such career opportunities is earning high-level certifications such as ISACA’s CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) to present evidence of both knowledge and expertise level.
In comparison to other related certifications, for example, CISSP is more of technical certifications, while the CISM Certification comes off as being primarily management focused. For a better understanding of international security practices, ISACA designed CISM Certification. To develop the required skills to manage, oversee, design, and evaluate an enterprise’s information security program.
CISM Exam Details
The CISM exam is a multiple-choice exam administered on a computer. The exam comprises of 150 questions, all of which have four answer options, which must be completed in 4-hour time duration. Scores are calculated on a 200–800 point scale, and you must get a minimum of 450/800 to pass the exam. There’s no negative marking for wrong answers; your score is determined by calculating up the number of right answers you give.
The CISM exam cost for ISACA members is $575 and for non-members $760. You’ll have to pay this fee when you register for the exam.
The CISM exam comprises four essential areas of information security management, each area almost weighted on the exam and defined by ISACA as follows:
Domain 1: Information Security Governance (24%)
ISACA explains Domain 1 as follows: “Establish and maintain an information security governance framework and supporting processes to assure that the information security approach is associated with organizational goals and objectives.”
Domain 2: Information Risk Management (30%)
ISACA narrates Domain 2 as follows: “Manage information risk to a satisfactory level based on risk desire to accomplish organizational goals and objectives.”
Domain 3: Information Security Program Management and Development (27%)
ISACA explains Domain 3 as follows: “Develop and maintain an information security program that identifies, maintains and secures the organization’s assets while harmonizing to information security strategy and business goals, thereby supporting an active security state.”
Domain 4: Information Security Incident Management (19%)
ISACA defines Domain 4 as follows: “Plan, organize and manage the capability to identify, investigate, respond to, and recover from information security incidents to reduce business impact.“
A CISM certified applicant comprehends the relationship between an extensive business objective and an information security program. As said before, this distinct skill set is in incredibly high demand and is an outstanding choice for career advancement.
Here are a little guide and best approach to triumph over the CISM Exam.
1) Get ISACA’s Exam Candidate Information Guide
If you are planning to sit for the CISM Exam, first and foremost obtain the ISACA guide first thing. ISACA publishes an updated version of its candidate guide yearly. It provides a ton of practical information for the CISM exam. It presents all the information you need to know about; you can review important topics such as exam registration, deadlines, and critical details for exam-day administration. It even contains useful information such as the exam domains, the number of exam questions, exam length, and languages.
2) Adopting a managerial mindset
As mentioned earlier, CISM Certification is focused more on the managerial side, unlike all the other security certifications. So, train your mind to think like a manager before you answer the exam questions along with the technical aspect. It is essential to think like a manager and is important to take into consideration factors such as company policy, the costs included, and how a security control may adversely affect the business procedure. Developing a manager frame of mind and practicing a holistic, business-oriented approach is the best way for solving CISM questions.
3) Make Good Use of Right Study Resources
As with any other ISACA’s top certification, reviewing the official Resources should be a top priority. The CISM Review Manual, can be obtained both as hard copy or in e-book format, is thorough and easy-to-handle, as it is designed according to CISM’s four domains: Information Security Governance, Information Risk Management, Information Security Program Development and Management and Information Security Incident Management.
The CISM Review Manual emphasizes essential items such as task and knowledge statements, self-assessment questions, recommended resources for further reading, and a comprehensive glossary covering all the exam concepts. Its latest version has also been updated to include new features like “in-practice questions,” knowledge checks designed to strengthen and improve the learning process, and case studies, making it more accessible to gain a practical outlook on the CISM exam content.
4) Get Engaged In an Exam Prep Course
Deciding to adopt a self-study-only approach may seem like a brave choice, but it may not be the best way for CISM exam preparation. Going through a certification preparation course helps you spend time with an experienced tutor, with concrete knowledge on how to pass the exam. It is an excellent chance to get all your questions answered, share experiences and exam techniques, and even network if it is in-person training. This ends in a higher success rate on any certification exam.
5) Take CISM Practice Exams
As mentioned earlier, the CISM Review Manual adequately comprises every inch of the exam content, but there is no alternate for practice questions when studying for the CISM exam.
You should start practicing by answering the free 50-question self-assessment from ISACA, and then proceed to the official CISM Review Questions, Answers & its explanations. It is accessible both as a hardcopy or as a web-based subscription service. Anyway, the content is the same: 1,000-question pool, with answers, explained thoroughly. Keep in mind while questions are not actual exam questions, structure, the type, and level of difficulty fully represent what is expected of candidates during the real test. Along with official ISACA Review questions, there is plenty of practice tests available online.
The online practice tests can be given with an Internet connection and allow the creation of custom sample exams. Its record-tracking feature helps the task of recognizing both strengths and weaknesses based upon specific domains or subjects, assisting applicants in focusing study efforts accordingly.
6) Clear Your Mind
Use these tips to clear your mind and stay directed during the exam:
Be aware of the time. During the exam, you may reach a high level of concentration. This means a greater center, which is great for problem-solving but can cause you to miss track of time. What may look like just a few seconds can be precious minutes; time tends to pass at a brisk pace, so make sure you have time to go through each question on the exam.
Take your time reading the questions. Even with limited time, it is essential not to rush. Take your time, give attention to each question and answer option, and make sure you understand what is being asked. Watch for deviations (options that are false) in multiple-choice questions that can be easily removed. It is also essential to give close consideration to terms such as MOST, LEAST, NOT, ALL, NEVER and ALWAYS since they can completely change a sentence.
Try to relax. Remember to stretch and relax your muscles during the exam. A calm mind can help you to answer difficult questions.
Remember, there is no reason to freak out. Remaining calm and composed will increase your concentration. If you followed your study plan strictly, your results would likely be excellent; if not, you will have a lot more experience for the next try!
What’s next after clearing the CISM exam?
- Five years of professional experience in at least two of the five domains
- Adherence to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics
- Conform to the CISM Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Policy
Once you’ve passed the exam, ISACA requires you to fill a CISM Application for Certification. In this application, you will need to list at least five years of cumulative work experience in at least three CISM domains. Applicants who do not satisfy the experience requirements have five years, from the date of passing the exam, to gain the relevant experience. You can read more about the certification process here.
To maintain the CISM certification, applicants must earn and submit a certain number of CPE points yearly and every three years. In addition to CPEs, Annual Maintenance Fees also needs to paid annually.
We have shared some information about the CISM exam, and we are sure that you’d make use of this information to study for CISM certification.