In today’s digital landscape, where cyber threats are constantly evolving, ensuring the protection and security of sensitive information is critical. This is especially critical, considering the various regulations that organizations must be compliant with. From deploying tools to secure sensitive information to hiring cybersecurity experts like a CISO, organizations are leaving nothing to chance. Is your organization looking to bring in a cybersecurity expert? You could be considering bringing on a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). However, this can be a difficult and lengthy process for various reasons. It’s for this reason that companies prefer working with a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO). A vCISO is a solution to an old problem. These executives help organizations access the expertise required to meet their cybersecurity goals without the high costs and hiring complexities that usually come with an in-house, permanent cybersecurity leader.
What is a CISO?
A CISO leads information and cyber security for a company. Being valued members of C-suite, they take on operational and strategic responsibilities. These experts normally play a role in:
- Ensuring cybersecurity goals align with business objectives
- Developing information security policies, guidelines, and procedures
- Optimizing and managing security stack
- Spearheading and representing the cyber team in board or executive meetings
- Various other information and cybersecurity-related tasks.
While they take on a long list of responsibilities, the Chief Information Security Officer is a relatively new role. Based on how large the company is, CISOs may report to a CIO or CEO. Unfortunately, finding and hiring a full-time CISO is not only challenging but also costly, particularly for the SMBs. These SMBs may be unable to offer the benefits, pay, or even other perks to attract the right professionals. Retaining a CISO can also be difficult, even for the largest companies, because of the enticing market and the stress of the job. Recruiting and onboarding an in-house, full-time CISO is costly and may take long. It’s for this reason that many companies instead prefer videos.
What is a vCISO?
A vCISO is an experienced and skilled cybersecurity professional who offers the same guidance and expertise as an in-house CISO, albeit on an on-demand, remote basis. This is a critical way to access cybersecurity services and expertise, particularly for companies without a need or budget to hire an in-house CISO.
What Can a Virtual CISO Do?
VCISOs are akin to outsourced security practitioners. They use their many years of industry experience to help companies bolster their cybersecurity posture. Virtual CISOs offer an unbiased, independent cybersecurity expertise, resources, and methodologies. They can set objectives, develop initiatives and programs, conduct cyber risk assessments, evaluate partners and third-party vendors, and perform other various information security activities aimed at lowering cyber risks. These professionals can help in mapping a company’s strategies and measures to established frameworks and standards, including:
- National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 Revision 2
- National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53
- Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification version (CMMC) 2.0
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
- Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 7012, 7019, 7021
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
A vCISO can help create a cyber and information security culture for your company by ensuring the employees have the right tools and awareness training.
Is a vCISO Right for Your Business?
Deciding whether your business would benefit from an in-house, full-time, or virtual CISO can be challenging. To help you make this decision, below are several reasons a vCISO may be a great choice.
You want help to attain cybersecurity compliance
In recent years, data privacy and information security regulations have heated up. Defense contractors must achieve compliance with various regulations and standards, including the NIST SP 800-171. These regulations are industry-specific. For instance, those in the health sector should be HIPAA compliant. Manufacturers, brokers, importers, and exporters of items under the USML and their associated technical data must achieve ITAR compliance. To bid for DoD contractors, there are several cybersecurity measures that contractors must fulfill, including DFARS 7012, 7021, 7019, and CMMC.
If you’re unsure whether your business is compliant with industry standards or regulations, a virtual CISO can help. CIOs specializing in regulatory compliance can assess a company’s cybersecurity posture. They can also assess your information systems to find areas/ gaps that need change or improvement. CIOs can then develop and implement a remediation plan to help your company become compliant. Thus, you can avoid the hefty noncompliance penalties and fees should your company face a security incident.
You’ve got budget restraints
Cybersecurity is now a top focus for companies everywhere, thanks to data privacy regulations and the rise in cyber-attacks. This means that CISOs are hot in demand. And naturally, businesses require a leader to spearhead the information security objectives and develop measures that meet them. However, the demand for virtual CISOs has outpaced the supply, and because of this, retaining a full-time CISO is highly expensive. They operate on an on-demand and consumption-based model. It means you’ll only pay for what you need. You work with a vCISO to develop a work schedule that aligns with your budget. Since this is a virtual role, you don’t need to recruit someone local or in-house. This drastically reduces or eliminates recruitment, relocation, and onboarding costs.
You need an expert in a particular area
Most vCISO service providers employ a team of experts with diverse backgrounds and experiences working behind the scenes. Thus, a virtual CISO may be a great option if you’re looking for a very particular skill set. For instance, your organization could have a mature cybersecurity program in place but merge with or acquire another company. This would require a vCISO that has specific experience in particular areas to modify or develop the existing policies, frameworks, or guidelines.
When you need to establish a cybersecurity foundation
Getting started is among the most challenging parts of cybersecurity. Organizations must implement the right procedures, policies, guidelines, and standards. After that, it’s only about following the measures in place. CIOs have experience after working for companies, often of varying sizes and industries. It means they are in a perfect position to design a high-quality, mature cybersecurity program that your business can rely on. Are you looking for an expert to get the ground running for your information and cybersecurity efforts? Then, a virtual CISO is your best choice. They can launch and develop privacy and cybersecurity policies and frameworks tailored to your company’s objectives and needs. CIOs can help develop incident response plans, conduct risk assessments, and fortify your long-term cybersecurity.
Your information technology team needs strategic leadership
The other reason you may want to enlist a vCISO is to help you direct, upskill, or manage your existing cybersecurity team. If your team doesn’t require a full-time leader but could use professional guidance for setting objectives, providing training, and mentoring, a virtual CISO could be an ideal choice. They can step in to ensure your team has the necessary resources and budget for successful execution. The vCISO can also act as a liaison for the team, interacting with executive management, boards, investors, and even government agencies as needed.
How we can help
Our vCISO program offers expert cybersecurity services tailored to your needs. We provide:
- Cybersecurity Strategy Development
- Risk Assessment and Management
- Incident Response Planning
- Compliance Management
- Security Awareness Training
- Vendor Risk Management
- Security Operations Center (SOC) as a Service
With our cost-effective approach, your organization’s security is in capable hands. For vCISO services, contact us today.