With so many organizations focusing on IT implementation and integration, chief information security officers (CISOs) and virtual CISOs (vCISOs) are more important than ever before. But the popularity of these roles means that CISOs are currently in very high demand, which may leave you wondering—are vCISOs in high demand, too?
The Need For vCISOs in the Information Age
CISOs or vCISOs are primarily responsible for establishing and maintaining a long-term IT security strategy and framework. This includes monitoring trends, identifying new threats, and staying up-to-date with regulatory changes. Resultantly, this role is critical to fill.
While smaller organizations may address this need with an existing employee who also performs other tasks, medium and large organizations need a dedicated professional.
Answering the following questions will help you fully understand the need for vCISOs:
- What is a vCISO, and how does the role differ from a traditional CISO?
- Why are CISOs in such high demand? Why are vCISO’s in high demand?
- How can you find a professional vCISO that’s right for your needs?
What is a vCISO?
Modern CISOs and vCISOs share many similar, if not identical, responsibilities revolving around IT security program creation, implementation, and upkeep. However, the most significant difference is that CISOs are generally placed in local, on-premise roles. In contrast, virtual CISOs tend to exist exclusively as remote workers. vCISOs may also operate on a part-time (i.e., “fractional”) basis.
Once the initial setup and implementation is complete, there’s still work to be done. For example, policies and procedures need to be established, staff requires training, and the infrastructure must stay updated at all times. If any of these elements are missing, then aspects of your network remain exposed and susceptible to any number of potential security threats.
Many times, vCISOs are retained on a long-term basis. This enables them to follow through on their initial planning, make changes as necessary, and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the process. Other times, they’re used as consultants when establishing IT security, addressing challenges as they arise (e.g., data breach response and recovery), or filling the role for a known, temporary period (e.g., your full-time CISO is on extended leave).
Why Are vCISO’s in High Demand?
The embrace of digital recordkeeping has organizations in every industry racing to secure their online networks. It’s easy to see why CISOs are in such high demand when this growing need is coupled with the emergence of new threats and vulnerabilities and an increase in attack frequency. As a result, many organizations turn to virtual CISOs to fill any c-level gaps.
Additional Benefits of Hiring or Retaining a vCISO
While some primary advantages of vCISOs are highlighted above, many have more to offer than IT security alone. If utilized correctly, vCISOs can help diagnose other IT issues, standardize internal processes, and strengthen your reputation amongst industry peers.
- Availability and readiness – Generally speaking, vCISOs are more readily available than traditional CISOs—and you’re not bound to geographically proximal applicant pools. With the prevalence of the online workforce and remote employees, many vCISOs can be up and running in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks.
- Meet your specific IT needs – vCISOs tend to work with you and customize their services to cover needs specific to your organization. Some vCISOs—especially when you partner with a managed security services provider (MSSP) such as RSI Security—work with multiple organizations. If you only need their services for a few hours per week or seasonally (e.g., PCI DSS compliance), they can fill that role.
- If your organization expects its vCISO needs to be recurring but not full-time and year-round, partnering with the same service provider will develop increasingly better rapport and familiarity with your specific operations.
- Specialization – Many CISOs provide some type of cybersecurity specialization (e.g., data breach response and recovery, HIPAA compliance). Contracting a vCISO can help you address a specific area of need for as long as necessary.
- Suppose your organization already employs a full-time CISO, but a challenge arises that falls outside of their expertise. In that case, you should consider contracting a vCISO to assist with navigation and guidance.
- Broad expertise – In contrast to specializations, a vCISO who has worked with many organizations brings those experiences along within their advisory. They may be more familiar with navigating common cybersecurity pitfalls or better stay up-to-date on the latest trends and threat intelligence.
- Establish IT leadership and bolster your reputation – Virtual CISOs are great when establishing or reorganizing a clear chain of command for your IT security. They’re also highly effective when building your reputation and portraying a sense of professionalism.
How to Find the Right vCISO For You
Are vCISO’s in high demand in your area or industry? If you want to learn more about CISOs and vCISOs, including their current roles in IT, contact RSI Security today.