What Is A vCISO and Why Do You Need One?

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A vCISO is an outsourced security officer who provides strategic insight to your organization remotely and on a part-time basis. A vCISO extends operational and strategic leadership to information security particularly to companies that can’t afford to pay a full-time professional for the job. Chief Information Security Officers are in high demand to the point that good and experienced ones are expensive and hard to come by. Therefore, this is a glaring challenge, particularly when more and more organizations reeling in the wake of CISO-less attacks like TalkTalk and Target, recognize the value and importance of information security officers. Is the on-demand information security officer the solution to your prayers? Here are the top reasons why you need a vCISO.

1. Cost and Availability

Cynics will likely point out that big question: why do you need a vCISO when you could easily hire real security personnel permanently? The answer is quite varied and not similar across the board. Well, for starters, well-rated and full-time CISO experts are hard to come by, often stay in their jobs for less than two years, and for small and medium-sized enterprises, they can demand a six-figure salary. In contrast, the virtual chief information officers ask between 30% to 40% of full-time security experts and are available on-demand.

2. Regulatory Compliance

Many virtual chief information security officers cover myriad tasks and offer different skill sets, tactical and strategic alike. The vCISO helps pull together different security standards, guidelines, and policies. That compliance could involve coming to terms with PCI and HIPAA regulatory compliance and staying ahead of the vendor risk assessment. The virtual security officers also help procure solutions, recruit, remediate incidences, and set security standards for ISO 9001 and 27001 compliances. The vCISO could also help you with bring-your-own-device BYOD policy enforcement which makes it possible to coach new CISOs and manages board relationships.

3. Experience

The virtual chief information security officer has a wide range of experience. This is because the vCISO has installed a wide range of security programs for diverse clients in a wide range of sectors. The virtual chief information security officers add value to organizations by helping them in several aspects of the overall security program including;

  • Organizational and management structure
  • Information security planning and management activities
  • Security risk management
  • Initiatives affecting information and data practices
  • Examination of third-parties with access to organizational data
  • Coordination of audits by regulators

4. Expertise

Due to their experience working with diverse clients in multiple sectors like finance, healthcare, education, technology, and business, the Chief Information Security Officers have developed unmatched expertise. For example, the virtual chief information security officers are highly credited with expertise in creating a mature cybersecurity program for a small enterprise. A virtual chief information security officer also works part-time to extend enterprise-caliber expertise in crafting a security program.

5. Flexibility and Convenience

The vCISO provides on-demand information security assistance particularly when a cyber-incident is detected. Enterprises that have deployed smart artificial intelligence bots sniff out incidents before they attack, thus the vCISO provides on-demand information security services. In addition, given the high spending potential on CISO, organizations are opting for affordable solutions including hiring a virtual information security expert, wherever and whenever needed.

Situations and Circumstances That Demand a Virtual CISO

Let us walk through a few reasons that may guide as to whether a vCISO is a good fit:

  • The organization has sensitive data – This is pretty much a common characteristic for every organization nowadays regardless of size and sector. Sensitive information like credit card information, personally identifying information, and internal information relating to stakeholders are privy to unprecedented threats and unauthorized access. Organizations must be serious enough to hire a professional to protect the data – and put a program in place to keep sensitive data secure and safe.
  • The organization has a limited budgetAccording to trusted sources, the average CISO costs over $250,000 a year. While nearly every organization needs a CISO, not every one of these can afford one. A virtual chief information security officer allows organizations to avoid the cost of hiring in-house, full-time experts, thus only paying for the rendered services and the time used. Indeed, the cost of a vCISO is 30% to 40% that of a full-time CISO.
  • Specific information security needs – It is possible that the intent is not to fully utilize all the services offered by the CISO but to address specific security needs. These needs may include; defining information security needs, classifying data, addressing policies and procedures to meet security objectives, and performing a risk assessment. When the intention is not to develop and implement an information security program, but the subset of it, the vCISO is a perfect choice.
  • The organization needs a specific skill set – Not every CISO has the same set of expertise, experience, and industry or institutional knowledge. This makes finding the right information security officer difficult, particularly for organizations with myriad information security needs. The vCISOs particularly working under the guidance of a consultancy company, either have the skills to address your security needs, or work as part of a larger consulting company and combined, have the necessary experience and skills.

While different vCISOs offer discrete skill sets, Edafio vCISO covers myriad tasks, from tactical to strategic. The vCISO also leads policy formation and implementation and manages board relationships. Naturally, the utilization of experienced vCISO lends itself to SMBs and successful enterprises. A vCISO is the best fit for small and medium-sized enterprises, for supplementing the existing management teams, or simply acting as an interim security solution.

The Edafio Technology Partners have emerged as the leading information security experts with offices across the Arkansas region and the neighboring states. With divisional offices in Little Rock, Central, and Northwest Arkansas areas, Edafio Technology provides virtual CISO with experience in a wide range of areas including; information security planning and management, vendor risk assessment, design, and implementation of a cybersecurity program.

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