Colonels, Commanders & Cybersecurity

What exactly is prompting India, Inc. to go for these defense personnel as CISOs?

Colonels, Commanders & Cybersecurity - CIO&Leader

Fighting today’s new generation cyber attackers requires not just foolproof systems (there is none) but smart combat techniques. Probably that explains why Indian enterprises have turned to tried-and-tested combat veterans—read ex-defense personnel—for handling their security.

There are close to a dozen CISOs in Indian industry—who have served in Indian the defense forces—namely the Indian Army and Indian Navy.Somehow, we do not see many ex-Airmen in the list.

But what exactly is prompting India, Inc. to go for these defense personnel as CISOs?

On the face of it, many say current cyber threats require a real combat mindset that comes naturally to the defense personnel.

But a more plausible explanation was given by a chief risk officer. He said it is the need to ‘break away from the clutches of enterprise IT’.

Some companies believe the arm’s length distance between CIOs and CISOs—as mandated by regulators in certain sectors like banking and insurance—is the right model to ensure organizational security. Most other competent security professionals are from enterprise IT. It is only the defense personnel who come from outside this domain and yet have the required technical expertise.

Whatever it is, at present fauji CISOs seem to be ruling the CISO-dom. Here is a list of handful of CISOs.






A K Anand

Senior Vice President, Global Practice Head & CISO


NIIT Technologies

Colonel in Indian Army

AJ Vijaykumar


Tata Communications

Lt Colonel in Indian Army



Reliance JioInfocom

Colonel in Indian Army

Kaushal K Chaudhary

Executive Director – Group Head IT & IS


Jt Director Systems (Commander of Indian Navy)

Manish Tiwari


Bharti Airtel

Director – CERT, Indian Navy

Murli Menon


Atos India

Commander at Indian Navy

Mukesh Saini

Head, IT Security

Essel Group

Commander at Indian Navy

Prashant Veer Singh


Bharti Infratel

Officer Commanding Communications (Major) at Indian Army

VikasSingh Yadav


Max Life Insurance

Corps of Signals, Indian Army


Nike React Element

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