In the context of ever-escalating cyberthreats, a dedicated Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) proves to be indispensable. A CISO provides invaluable direction and can help avert potentially debilitating crises. But a virtual CISO (vCISO) offers similar oversight and security program assistance, all at a much lower cost. Does your organization need a virtual CISO?
How to Decide if You Need a vCISO
There are many benefits of virtual Chief Information Security Officers over their conventional, c-suite counterparts. The biggest include cost savings, response times, and expertise. When deciding on whether your organization could use a vCISO, consider these factors:
- Your organization’s size
- Your budget—and its constraints
- Your regulatory compliance requirements
- Your existing cybersecurity architecture
Virtual CISO services offered by reputable cybersecurity services providers (like RSI Security) can help you rethink your approach to security, maximizing cyberdefense ROI.
Factor #1: Organizational Scope
The larger your organization is, the more complex it is to ensure data protection and threat prevention across your data centers and the cloud. A dedicated CISO may seem the logical choice for a large organization, but it may not be for a smaller or growing business.
Another factor to consider? Office politics and dynamics, which scale up with the company.
In a larger organization, bigger and more complex chains of command can create a dynamic wherein it could be in an individual’s best personal interest to not notice or report on an issue in a timely manner. This is true all the way up the chain, including those vying for or currently holding a traditional CISO position. But a vCISO, external to an organization, is unbiased.
Factor #2: Cybersecurity Budgeting
A conventional CISO is one of the most sought-after professionals in the corporate IT world and carries a significant investment on the organization’s part. Courting, signing, onboarding, and retaining a vCISO can easily exhaust or overburden any organization’s security budget.
The most straightforward cost to consider is salary. A traditional CISO will command about $300,000 – $400,000 annually, on average, after accounting for any bonuses and benefits.
But this figure doesn’t account for the more subtle costs associated with filling a CISO role:
- Finding the right CISO can take weeks or months, during which time many of your top cybersecurity experts will need to devote time and energy to the search.
- Onboarding the CISO may require a complete cybersecurity program overhaul, augmenting or optimizing systems and personnel to meet their expectations.
- Retaining a CISO may require contending with offers from contenders trying to lure away your talent through better salaries or bonuses, thus restarting the process.
Plus, if you’re currently operating without a CISO, you may be vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can also cause short-term losses and expounding, long-term reputational damage.
A vCISO will perform all the functions of a CISO, generally at a mere fraction of the cost.
Factor #3: Regulatory Compliance
Most organizations operate under some regulatory restrictions due to industry, location, or client demands. And many have to contend with multiple, often overlapping frameworks. If you operate in or adjacent to a highly regulated industry, a vCISO can facilitate compliance.
For example, if your organization is a covered entity in or adjacent to healthcare, you’ll need to ensure HIPAA compliance. You also may need to become HITRUST CSF certified, depending on the healthcare payers and other stakeholders in your business environment.
Or, if your organization is located in California or processes personal data of Californians, you’ll need to ensure your data privacy practices meet CCPA (and soon CPRA) standards.
Location and industry aside, if you process card payments, you need to be PCI compliant.
A CISO’s experience may be limited by their exposure within a narrow field or a prior context outside of these and other regulatory constraints. However, since vCISOs typically service clients across many industries and locations, they can facilitate all regulatory requirements.
Factor #4: Cybersecurity Architecture
The last major factor to consider when deciding how to fill your CISO role concerns the cybersecurity infrastructure and architecture they’ll preside over once in place.
Depending on the risk and threat environment your organization operates within and any regulatory frameworks you need to follow, your cybersecurity architecture may be incredibly complex. Or, it may be larger or smaller in scale but relatively straightforward in design.
In either case, a vCISO may be preferable:
- A simpler program might call into question the need for a C-suite executive
- A diverse team of experts might be best suited to oversee a complex program
Another consideration? Your organization’s cybersecurity personnel. Staff turnover and retention rates impact all hiring decisions, and it’s no different when deciding between a full-time executive or an outsourced solution. A vCISO provides value by removing the burden of retention. They’re known commodities, there on an as-needed basis.
So, Does Your Organization Need a Virtual CISO?
RSI Security’s virtual CISO services offer the best-in-class security expertise and economic benefits of a vCISO, plus the functionality of an entire team, at a more efficient price point.
Depending on your organization’s size, its cybersecurity budget, your regulatory compliance requirements, and your existing cybersecurity architecture, it may make the most sense to fill your CISO need virtually.
There’s no doubt that most organizations need some form of CISO. But does your organization need a virtual CISO? Contact RSI Security today to find one.
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