In the dynamic world of information technology and cybersecurity, certifications play a pivotal role in validating the skills and expertise of professionals. Two prominent certifications in the field of information security are the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification and the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) qualification. While both certifications are offered by ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), they serve different purposes and target distinct skill sets. We discuss more about these certifications below.

What is CISA certification?

The CISA designation is a globally recognized professional qualification in cybersecurity that helps develop the skills of candidates in the field of IS Audit procedures. It is issued by ISACA and is highly demanded by employers around the world for the important skills that it teaches CISA-certified professionals. Maintaining your CISA qualification requires you to gain ongoing professional education and adhere to the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics.
The CISA designation also provides several other benefits to its holders such as recognition among peers and higher salary potential among others. Read our blog “What is CISA certification? Is CISA Certification worth it?” to find out more about how the CISA certification can benefit you.

What is CISM certification?

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) qualification as the name suggests develops a candidate’s skills in ensuring daily security of their Information Systems. Those who gain the CISM qualification will have to maintain it with the help of Continuing Professional Education (CPE). However, the benefits of CISM certification are also many. Along with the extensive knowledge and expertise that candidates gain while preparing for the CISM exam, they also gain access to networking opportunities and better job prospects that help them advance their careers.
However, for a cyber security professional interested in advancing your career, identifying which of the 2 professional qualifications aligns better with your career goals can be confusing. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the top differences between the CISM and CISA certifications.


1. Specialization:

  • CISA: The CISA certification primarily focuses on auditing, control, and assurance. This means a focus on the protection of information assets through Internal Controls and therefore builds business resiliency. The CISA exam syllabus covers topics like auditing, risk management, and IT governance and offers a broader view of information systems and their controls.
  • CISM: On the other hand, the CISM certification concentrates on information security management and strategy. This means an in-depth understanding of managing, designing, and assessing an enterprise’s information security program and incident response. In addition, the CISM designation also focuses on developing leadership skills in addition to technical expertise.

2. Job Roles:

  • CISA: The CISA designation is suitable for professionals involved in audit, control, and assurance which leads to roles like IT auditors, consultants, or security analysts among others.
  • CISM: This is geared towards individuals in information security management and governance with CISM certification job opportunities including roles such as information security manager, security consultant, or security strategist.

Expertise Level:

  • CISA: There are no minimum CISA eligibility requirements however, professional experience is recommended. This is why the CISA designation is ideally suited for entry to mid-level IT professionals.
  • CISM: On the other hand, the CISM certification eligibility requires at least five years of work experience in information security management, with a minimum of three years of experience in three CISM domains. This is why the CISM qualification is best suited for mid to advanced-level professionals.

4. Exam Structure:

  • CISA: The CISA exam structure includes multiple-choice questions testing the knowledge and application of the CISA syllabus.
  • CISM: The CISM exam includes multiple-choice questions as well as scenario-based questions assessing the real-world application of concepts taught during your CISM training.

In conclusion, choosing between CISA and CISM depends on your career aspirations and the specific area of information security you wish to specialize in. Understanding the key differences between CISA and CISM certifications is essential for information security professionals seeking to advance their careers.
While both of these certifications are offered by ISACA and are well-known in the field of information security, they have separate focuses, experience requirements, and career paths. While the CISA qualification is aimed at professionals involved in auditing and assurance of information systems, the CISM certification is better suited for those involved in information security management and strategy. By carefully understanding these differences, professionals can make better-informed decisions about which professional qualification better aligns with their career goals and can help them advance in their chosen field of expertise.
However, if neither of these certifications suits your professional needs, you can also check out our blog on “Best Cyber Security Certifications in 2023 to Boost your Career”. But, if you decide to go for any one of the above certifications, then gaining the right training is essential. This is best accomplished with the help of CISA and CISM certification online training.

Why Delphi?

At Delphi, we understand that different IT professionals may have different dreams and aspirations which may require them to follow different career paths. This means gaining different professional qualifications depending on where your interests lie.
This is why we offer both CISA course training and CISM course training programs. You can choose to go for Physical, Online Training, or Self-paced learning to suit your needs. We provide thousands of practice questions and mock exams to help you prepare for the exam day. Our experienced trainers are always ready to answer any doubts you have and motivate you to keep improving. All of this together proves to be an excellent learning environment for our students that motivates them to bring out the best in themselves.
Enroll in our CISM certification training course or CISA online course and get started on your journey toward career advancement in your chosen IT field!

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