Not every business has the resources and revenue for a full time Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), but with the increased number of cyber attacks on global systems, these professionals are a valuable and necessary asset. An alternative to an on-site full-time CISO is a virtual CISO (vCISO) that provides the same benefits but holds meetings and staff collaboration off-site. vCISOs bring the same education, certifications, career background, knowledge and experience as a full-time CISO, but they are contacted and available when needed to save on salary budgets. The way an organization utilizes a vCISO is completely up to the way business is run. A vCISO is flexible with organization demands, and can be available for consultant benefits based on the amount of help required by IT staff. CISOs in general can be used for advice, training, and day-to-day cybersecurity operations and much more. A virtual CISO offers the same benefits.
Most firms have IT personnel with technical skills to set up cybersecurity defenses and perform basic tasks, but these staff members do not have the advanced skills to lead the design of new cybersecurity infrastructure and keep the organization up to date with the latest zero-day attacks. vCISOs are educated on best practices and traditional frameworks from common disaster recovery exercises to incident response procedures.
A virtual CISO can provide an organization with:
CISOs are more than IT staff. They are leaders in the cyber security industry and spend their careers understanding the many facets of cyber crime and the attackers behind it. Virtual CISOs are often heavily experienced with decades of career knowledge. Using this vase level of knowledge, they can provide guidance on the right access controls, cyber security infrastructure, training programs, and IT staff leadership using a certified framework. Even if your intent is not to keep a virtual CISO long-term, the end results of leveraging their knowledge can benefit the organization for many years.
Before working with a vCISO, it’s important to understand that they hold a different role than a CIO, CTO, or COO. A CISO’s role is mainly to provide cyber security guidance and collaborate with other executives on the best ways to design, test and deploy these systems. The role ensures that corporate digital assets are always secure and the right strategies are used to protect future infrastructure as it is added to the corporate network. In addition to cyber security guidance, a virtual CISO can also bring the organization into compliance with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS and GDPR.