CRISC vs CISM: Which Cyber Security Certification to Choose?

CRISC vs CISM Certification

Professionals working in the information securities domain often wonder which certification to pursue to enhance their knowledge and skills for career development. Of many, two of the most popular are CISM – the Chief Information Security Manager, and CRISC – the Certified Incident Response and Security Consultant.

Like other cyber security certifications, these two also focus on their different aspects. Hence, to clear their confusion, professionals must understand the differences to help them make the best choice. This article is about CRISC vs CISM and everything one must know about these certifications.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security refers to protecting the online digital world. It is a vast field with different professions managing systems, information, and devices from becoming a victim of cyber attack. Cyber attacks can occur in various ways, such as phishing scams, malware, and hacking attempts.

A cyber security expert is responsible for preventing these attacks, identifying them if they occur, and trying to minimize the damage by responding adequately. It may seem complex, but this domain has immense job opportunities. There’s a cybersecurity certification for everyone, regardless of their interests—network security, criminal investigation, or even ethical hacking systems to find weaknesses.

Why Cyber Security Certifications?

Cybersecurity certifications

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Cybersecurity is an ever-growing and demanding field with many exciting opportunities to offer in the IT industry. As per a report, by 2025, around 3.5 million positions will be available in the cybersecurity domain. Moreover, the pandemic, civil unrest, and elections have increased cybersecurity crimes and incidents.

This is another factor that puts cybersecurity professionals in demand. As per a report, between 2022 and 2023, there were only 72 people for 100 cybersecurity jobs. Although there are many cyber security jobs, getting them is not easy. Most employers look for experienced, qualified, and skilled candidates for the position.

Hence, you must choose the proper certification to showcase your skills and expertise to distinguish and progress in this area. Let’s learn more about CRISC and CISM – the two popular cybersecurity certifications.

What are CRISC and CISM Certifications?

These certificates are comprehensive cyber security certificates, including the below-mentioned elements:

What are CRISC and CISM Certifications
  • Technical knowledge: Demonstrating your ability to implement security plans and procedures practically.
  • Strategy: Verifying your capacity for wise decision-making in IT environment security management.
  • Governance: Ensure everything you do complies with all applicable legal requirements, best practice guidelines, and organization-specific regulations.

What is CRISC Certification?

CRISC certification is best for people who work specifically in IT risk management. After completing this course, you will be certified in risk management and controlling information systems.

Some of the job opportunities that you can get post-completion of this course are:

  • CIO
  • Project manager
  • Business Manager
  • IT professional

The job description of these designations involves IT risk management, assurance, controlling activities, etc.

CRISC certification can be used in the below-mentioned domains:

  • Risk and control monitoring
  • IT risk assessment
  • Risk reporting
  • IT risk identification
  • Risk response and mitigation

To be certified in this course, you must have at least three years of work experience in information security. Moreover, you should have worked in at least two domains of the five mentioned above. This course offers lucrative salary options post-completion. On average, you can make $107,968 annually, higher than other certifications.

Here are some perfect candidates for this course:

  • IT managers/auditors
  • Project and compliance manager
  • Security manager/consultant
  • Business analyst
  • IT director/manager
  • Risk and control professional
  • Systems analyst/engineer
  • Anyone interested in learning IT enterprise risk management

Some advantages of CRISC certification are:

  • The salary prospect of CRISC certification is higher than that of certifications such as CISA.
  • This course will help you become an expert in risk management.
  • You can learn the strategic elements of the company’s information system’s security.

You can enroll in the CRISC certification course that we offer to understand everything related to this domain. ISACA, the global association known for its IT risk, governance, and information systems control standards, awards this certificate. This certification is available in four languages – English, Korean, simplified Chinese, and Spanish.

What is CISM Certification?

CISM – the Certified Information Security Management course is one of the most regarded cyber security courses. It focuses on managing and establishing information security programs.

ISACA also administers it, and you will have to clear an exam that checks the knowledge on the below-mentioned domains:

  • Information security governance – 17%
  • Information security incident management – 30%
  • Information risk management – 20%
  • Information security program development and management – 33%
CISM Domains

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After you clear the exam and get the certification, you must continuously upskill yourself to retain your CISM certification. This course is perfect for people in the information security domain who wish to advance their careers. This certification will be a great way of demonstrating your skills and expertise to your potential employer.

This certification is primarily aimed at data security and management. It ensures that information security and global cybersecurity administrators are equipped to provide protection and assurance to their respective companies. An internationally recognized ANSI certification in information assurance management is the CISM.

The exclusivity of the CISM certification stems from ISACA’s deliberate limitation to specific dates and places each year.

Listed below are some career options for people who complete this course:

  • Information security manager
  • Chief information security officer
  • IT security consultant 
  • ISSO analysts
  • Business process engineers
  • Infrastructure support engineers
  • Internal control consultants

Why Choose CRISC Certification?

CRISC is the only certification that is focused on enterprise risk management. This certification verifies your expertise in aligning and implementing mitigation measures to guard against significant cybersecurity outcomes. It is intended for mid-career IT, risk, and security professionals and teams.

This certificate will also demonstrate your experience building an effective agile risk management program based on the best practices to analyze, identify, assess, evaluate, respond to, and prioritize risk. Therefore, its exam also focuses on four essential practice areas – resilience and corporate governance, business continuity, protection, and data privacy.

It is difficult to clear this exam, so you must adequately prepare yourself. In addition, you must familiarize yourself with the exam structure to clear it on the first attempt. As per a report, 41% of companies in the USA are unable to find a qualified and skilled risk management expert.

Why Choose CISM Certification?

CISM is needed to create a relationship between the company’s business objectives and information security. This course is perfect for people who are required to manage, oversee, design, and assess the information security of any company. This certificate is also challenging when compared with other cybersecurity certificates.

The reason is that it focuses more on risk management, governance, and compliance. You must have at least five years of information security management experience to qualify for its certification. To pass the exam, you must follow the code of professional ethics. Once certified, you can demonstrate your expertise in designing, managing, and overseeing information security programs.

A CISM certification attests to the learner’s mastery of all technical skills and deep comprehension of the strategic objectives of data security. This certification also adds credibility with colleagues, employers, and regulators.

How to Maintain Your CRISC and CISM Certifications?

It is necessary to continuously educate and upskill yourself to stay ahead in your career and competition. Professionals who obtain CRISC and CISM certifications must work hard to maintain and recertify themselves. One must have a specific CPE or continuous professional education points to keep the certificate.

You will need at least 20 CPEs to maintain it annually and a total of 120 CPEs in more than three years.

How to Prepare for CRISC and CISM Certifications?

To be eligible for the exam and certification, you must comply with the work experience requirements mentioned for both courses.

Here are some ways you can prepare for these certification exams:

  • You can enroll in online classes, such as the CISM certification course from CCSLA.  
  • Take as many practice tests as possible to understand the exam structure and concept.
  • Practice the different questionnaires available online.
  • Be a part of groups and communities and engage in combined study groups.

How are the CRISC and CISM Exams Scored?

A universal scale of 200–800 is used to transform exam applicant results into scaled scores. It needs a scaled score of 450 or above to pass.

Listed below is some more information on the scoring part:

  • The ISACA certification working groups have defined a minimal, consistent standard of knowledge, represented by a scaled score of 450 or higher for passing.
  • A perfect score of 800 indicates that every question was answered correctly.
  • A score of 200 is the lowest that may be obtained, suggesting that few questions were successfully answered.

CRISC vs CISM – Similarities

Listed below are the similarities in these courses:

  • ISACS offers both of these courses.
  • The cost of these certifications is the same – $575 for members and $760 for non-members.
  • Both exams are four hours long and have 150 multi-choice questions.
  • CRISC and CISM are valid for three years, and the certificate expires afterward. You will have to renew it to keep it.
  • For recertification, you will need 20 CPE annually and 120 CPE in three years.

CRISC vs CISM – Comparison Table

Listed below are the similarities in these courses:

  • ISACS offers both of these courses.
  • The cost of these certifications is the same – $575 for members and $760 for non-members.
  • Both exams are four hours long and have 150 multi-choice questions.
  • CRISC and CISM are valid for three years, and the certificate expires afterward. You will have to renew it to keep it.
  • For recertification, you will need 20 CPE annually and 120 CPE in three years.

CRISC vs CISM – Comparison Table

Listed below are the key differences of these two certification courses:

FocusThe operational and technical components of IT risk management are given increased attention by CRISC. CRISC might be better appropriate if you aim to work as an IT risk analyst or practitioner.The strategic and management elements of information security are the main focus of CISM. CISM would be a good option if your objective is to work as an information security leader or consultant.
DifficultyCRISC exams are complex and require extensive planning and research. Because CRISC emphasizes technical elements and computations related to IT risk assessment and mitigation, some candidates may find it more difficult than CISM.CISM offers difficulties and needs careful planning and research. The CISM test is more demanding because of its more extensive topic coverage and demand for more information security management experience.
PopularityAccording to ISACA’s website, more than 29,000 people had earned the CRISC certification as of June 2021.According to the ISACA website, over 50,000 people globally have the CISM certification as of June 2021. These figures imply that CISM is more well-liked and acknowledged within the sector.
SalaryEarning potential can be significantly increased, and new job opportunities in the cybersecurity field can be opened with CRISC certifications. A CRISC expert makes, on average, $150,462 per year.Obtaining a CISM certification can significantly increase your earning potential and lead to new employment opportunities in the cybersecurity industry. The highest-paid professional in this area may receive up to $152,500 a year.

CRISC vs CISM – What to Choose?

CRISC and CISM are both advanced certifications in the cybersecurity field. CISM certification is an excellent choice if you want to go into managerial aspects of information security. However, if your preference is risk identification, managing, and mitigation of your company, you should go with CRISC certification. Eventually, the choice between the two depends on your career goals and aspirations.


Understanding the differences between CRISC and CISM certifications is imperative for people to advance in their careers. ISACA issues these certificates in the information security domain; they have distinct exam content, focus, career path, and experience requirements. CRISC is about risk management, while CISM is for people in information security management.
Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly understand the differences between the two certifications, align them with your career objectives, and choose the one that best suits your professional aspirations. If you wish to go with any of the above two certifications, you can opt for CRISC certification or CISM certification provided by CCSLA. We recommend consulting with one of our experts to gain a comprehensive understanding of each course, ensuring you select the best fit for your career goals.