The Differences Between CISM Or CISSP For Your Business

If you want to be one of the best IT personnel and stand out from the rest, you need to have the CISM and CISSP certification. These two certifications are highly sought after in the cybersecurity industry, particularly in the information security sector, and can be attained through recognised independent institutions around Singapore. The qualifications show that you have extensive knowledge of security networks, cyber-attacks and how to manage them.

However, both of them have a whole bunch of prerequisites. You will have to make the choice of which course to do, or if you are planning to do both, which to do first. To make an informed decision, you first need to know the differences between these certifications.


CISM stands for Certified Information Security Manager. This certification proves that an individual has an in-depth understanding of how to respond to and manage information security threats. The course provides comprehensive training on the management of such risks, including preventive strategies and crisis management.

Some of the topics covered in the CISM course are:

  • Risk management and compliance: What to do in response to a potential threat and how to get people to adhere to the preventive measures.
  • Incident Management: How to protect the company’s sensitive information and help them recover in the event of an information security breach.

Other topics include information security infrastructure, information security governance, regulatory issue, and security programme management administration.

With a CISM certification, you can work comfortably in several information security management positions such as a chief information security officer, IT manager or even auditor and consultant.


CISSP stands for Certified Information Systems Security Professional. It is offered by (ISC)2, an internationally recognised cybersecurity training organisation. The CISSP certification, similar to CISM, proves you have the skillset to design and carry out cybersecurity programs.

If you decide to go for a CISSP certification, you can expect to encounter the following topics similar to CISM, such as risk assessment and management as well as identity and access management. However, there is more of a focus on planning and execution of security operations, though management is still covered.

CISSP accreditation will significantly benefit you if you plan on pursuing the following careers – security consultants, system engineers, network architects, and so on.


In terms of course content, a significant difference is each course’s particular focus on management or operations. CISM focuses more on managing and strategising while CISSP goes deeper on security measures and tactics to ensure the safety of the systems. As such, those hoping to pursue executive or managerial positions often attend the CISM course, while security engineers go for CISSP. That being said, many go for both anyway.

The decision of which course to attend could also be a matter of practicality. You need a minimum of five years of information security work experience to participate in either course, but each has different ways to substitute these requirements. For example, for CISM, information and general security management experience, or a post-graduate degree in an information security-related field of study can be used to fulfil the prerequisites. As for CISSP, a 4-year college degree equivalent can be used instead.

As for the cost, both courses have hefty original price tags. If you take the courses, CISM costs above $2,500 per person, and CISSP $1,800 per person. However, if you are a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, the price drops to around $300 if you are over 40 years old. It also drops to about $200 if you are 35 years old and above and earning not more than $2,000 per month. If you are above 25 years old and a Singaporean citizen, you can even use SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) funding or your Post-Secondary Education Account for both courses. You will also be eligible for a Small and Medium Enterprises sponsorship.

Both courses are, of course, beneficial for cybersecurity professionals already in the industry. CISSP certification is also an excellent way for freshly graduated university students to get ahead of the curve. If you can afford to do both courses, it would be a significant boon. Otherwise, you can take into account the practicality and career prospects that you prioritise. Regardless, do not get too hung up over the choice between either course. Most of the time, it is a win-win decision.

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