The stress activated sigma factor sigma B (sigma(B)) plays a pivotal role in allowing the food-borne bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes to modulate its transcriptional landscape in order to survive in a variety of harsh environments both outside and within the host. While we have a comparatively good understanding of the systems under the control of this sigma factor much less is known about how the activity of sigma(B) is controlled. In this review, we present a current model describing how this sigma factor is thought to be controlled including an overview of what is known about stress sensing and the early signal transduction events that trigger its activation. We discuss the known regulatory overlaps between sigma(B) and other protein and RNA regulators in the cell. Finally, we describe the role of sigma(B) in surviving both saprophytic and host-associated stresses. The complexity of the regulation of this sigma factor reflects the significant role that it plays in the persistence of this important pathogen in the natural environment, the food chain as well as within the host during the early stages of an infection. Understanding its regulation will be a critical step in helping to develop rational strategies to prevent its growth and survival in the food destined for human consumption and in the prevention of listeriosis.