HomeBlogSecurityCISA vs CISM - Comparison Based on Various Factors

CISA vs CISM - Comparison Based on Various Factors

19th Jan, 2024
view count loader
Read it in
7 Mins
In this article
    CISA vs CISM - Comparison Based on Various Factors

    Choosing between CISA and CISM can be overwhelming. While the CISM certification trains you in Information Security Programs, the CISA certification teaches you how to best monitor, manage and defend the information system in your business. Making a wise choice out of such perplexity can be more daunting than it appears. Besides, any uninformed choices will leave you with a heavy loss of time and money.

    If you are confused about choosing between CISA and CISM, we are here to help. Here is a comprehensive guide that will shed light on the difference between CISA and CISM and all the important aspects of both certifications, helping you cut through the dilemma.

    What Is CISA?

    The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) has a designation called Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). The certification is the gold standard for IT professionals who work in auditing, control, and security. Employers recognize that CISA holders have the necessary knowledge, technical skills, and ability to cope with the complex difficulties that modern businesses face. CISA training online is the most favourable way of getting these skills.

    What Is CISM?

    The Certified Information Systems Manager (CISM) is an ISACA-sponsored professional credential for information security program managers or those who want to run one. The CISM is designed for current or aspiring managers, and it is becoming increasingly important as cybersecurity is now every board's priority. This certification is predicated on the premise that as programs and needs grow, professionals will require management credentials in addition to the numerous technical degrees that a company's cybersecurity operation would require.

    CISA vs. CISM

    Domain Comparison


    ISACA has defined five CISA domains that you will be tested on:

    • Domain 1 - Information System Auditing Process
    • Domain 2 - Governance and Management of IT
    • Domain 3 - Information Systems Acquisition, Development, and Imp.
    • Domain 4 - Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience
    • Domain 5 - Protection of Information Assets


    The four domains are:

    • Domain 1- Information Security Governance
    • Domain 2- Information Risk Management
    • Domain 3- Information Security Program Development and Management
    • Domain 4- Information Security Incident Management

    CISA vs CISM - Salary


    CISA ISACA graduates earn an average of Rs. 30.5 lakhs, with the majority earning between Rs. 24.0 lakhs and Rs. 50.0 lakhs.


    Employees with CISM earn an average of 26 lakhs per year, with the majority earning between 10 lakhs and 50 lakhs per year. Employees in the top ten percent make more than 37 lakhs per year.

    Job Comparison And Career Paths


    The CISA certification isn't just for IT auditors (although it is for them, too). The following is a comprehensive list of occupations that you can achieve with a CISA certification:

    • Internal auditor
    • Public accounting auditor
    • IS analyst
    • IT audit manager
    • IT project manager
    • IT security officer
    • Network operation security engineer
    • Cyber security professional
    • IT consultant
    • IT risk and assurance manager
    • Privacy officer
    • Chief information officer


    The CISM covers a wide range of abilities and can be applied in both technical and managerial roles, all the way up to the executive level of a company.

    • Information System Security Officer
    • Information/Privacy Risk Consultant
    • Information Security Manager

    CISM along with CISA are the top cybersecurity certifications today.

    The differences in exam requirements


    ISACA, the organization that produced the CISA, notes that persons interested in information systems auditing, control, and security will be awarded the certification if they meet the following criteria:

    • Pass the CISA certification exam. 
    • Obtain the required job experience 
    • Fill out a CISA certification application. 
    • It is not mandatory that you meet the experience criteria before passing the CISA exam. Regardless of the order in which you complete these requirements, you must pass the exam and gain job experience before you can receive the CISA certification.

    Once you've acquired your CISA certification, you must maintain it by doing the following: 

    • Following the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics. 
    • Fulfill the prerequisites of Continuing Professional Education programs. 
    • Be mindful of Information Systems Auditing Standards when performing your audit. 

    The CISA certification standards, as you can see, are not overly complicated. However, obtaining them takes time, effort, and money, as with any qualification. By understanding each of these needs more, you may evaluate if the commitment is worthwhile. 


    Candidates for the CISM certification must follow ISACA's Code of Professional Ethics and have five years of experience working in the field of information security. Work experience must be achieved within ten years of the certification application deadline or within five years of the first exam passing. Three of the five years of experience must have been as an information security manager. 

    Every year, the CISM exam is offered twice a year, in June and December. The CISM Exam is a four-hour exam that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. In four separate areas of information security, candidates are put to the test. 

    Target Audience


    Anyone with interest in IS auditing, control, or security is eligible to take the CISA exam. It lasts four hours and includes 150 multiple-choice questions organized into five job practice domains: The Auditing of Information Systems Process IT Governance and Management. 


    In the field of information security, the CISM certification is a widely recognized professional prerequisite. The best candidates for this certification are security consultants and managers, IT directors and managers, auditors and architects, security system engineers, CISOs, information security managers, and risk officers. 

    Job Roles And Responsibilities


    A CISA's key responsibilities include: 

    • Creating and implementing a risk-based information system audit plan (IS). 
    • Audits are being planned to determine whether IT assets are appropriately protected, maintained, and appraised. 
    • Executing audits following the organization's established criteria and goals. 
    • Making recommendations based on audit results and sharing them with management. 
    • They are expected to collaborate with management to confirm organizational procedures and plans for system deployment and operation and to support the organization's goals and strategy. 


    A Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) monitors and audits all aspects of a company's computer security. Planning and executing security measures to protect a company's data and information against deliberate attack, illegal access, corruption, and theft is part of the job description. 

    There are several hazards to electronic data, and an information security manager would be required to deal with the following risks:

    • Attacks on withdrawal services, in which systems are overwhelmed with useless data and brought to a halt. 
    • Unauthorized access to a computer system is known as hacking. 
    • Phishing is when people are persuaded to give their personal information to bogus websites. 
    • Pharming is the misuse of authorized system users' permissions, in which users are sent to fraudulent websites after specific websites have been hacked. 

    What Are the Similarities Between CISA And CISM?

    The CISM and CISA certificates give you different sets of abilities, even though they are both Information Security courses. 

    However, they do share the following similarities: 

    • Both courses cover universal security principles and best practices. 
    • Both were created using Job Task Analysis to guide professionals down certain career routes. 
    • To be certified as a CISM or CISA, you must have a minimum of 5 years of experience in information security or professional information systems auditing, control, or security. 
    • Job practice comprises task and knowledge statements organized by domains and serves as the foundation for both tests and experience requirements to achieve the CISM and CISA. 

    Wrapping Up

    If you want to learn how to manage and adapt security technology for your company, then the CISM program is ideal. The certification validates your ability to build and manage an information security program for aspiring Information Security Managers, IS Consultants, IT Consultants, and Senior Directors.

    CISA is the ideal certification for you if you're presently working in or want to certify in audit, control, monitoring, and analyzing information technology and business systems. It is aimed at information security and IT auditors and consultants, audit managers, and non-IT auditors. Know more about the KnowledgeHut CISA training online program.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Which certification offers a high-paying job, CISA or CISM?

    It depends upon the designation you will have. Both have an equal chance of hikes and are paid well. 

    2How long does it take to study for CISA?

    For people with a history in auditing or IT security, the best preparation period is four months, and six to eight months for those who are new to these fields. 

    3What does a CISA auditor do?

    Implementing a risk-based audit plan for information systems (IS) is one of the major responsibilities. Audits are being planned to determine whether IT assets are appropriately protected, maintained, and appraised. 

    4What is the CISM salary in India?

    CISM earns an average of 26 lakhs per year, with most earning between 10 lakhs and 50 lakhs per year. Employees in the top ten percent make more than 37 lakhs per year. 

    5Which is better, CEH or CISSP?

    The CEH is more concerned with demonstrating a candidate has the necessary "knowledge" to undertake ethical hacking activities. A minimum of two years of work experience in a single Information Security domain is required. The CISSP certification is regarded as the "Gold Standard" of the industry for its multi-faceted, experience-driven, and member-validated approach.


    Vitesh Sharma

    Blog Author

    Vitesh Sharma, a distinguished Cyber Security expert with a wealth of experience exceeding 6 years in the Telecom & Networking Industry. Armed with a CCIE and CISA certification, Vitesh possesses expertise in MPLS, Wi-Fi Planning & Designing, High Availability, QoS, IPv6, and IP KPIs. With a robust background in evaluating and optimizing MPLS security for telecom giants, Vitesh has been instrumental in driving large service provider engagements, emphasizing planning, designing, assessment, and optimization. His experience spans prestigious organizations like Barclays, Protiviti, EY, PwC India, Tata Consultancy Services, and more. With a unique blend of technical prowess and management acumen, Vitesh remains at the forefront of ensuring secure and efficient networking solutions, solidifying his position as a notable figure in the cybersecurity landscape.

    Share This Article
    Ready to Master the Skills that Drive Your Career?

    Avail your free 1:1 mentorship session.

    Your Message (Optional)

    Upcoming Cyber Security Batches & Dates

    NameDateFeeKnow more
    Course advisor icon
    Course Advisor
    Whatsapp/Chat icon