It’s 2020 – a new era of digital transformation opportunities. And as organizations enjoy the benefits of productivity software, web services, and the cloud, cybersecurity threats increase. The ongoing pain point for business technology appears to revolve around how to balance cybersecurity with market competitiveness. This friction is forcing several operational changes within IT job descriptions.
Operational changes have extended to new priorities among IT personnel. Cybersecurity teams have grown, and with it, a new genre of IT leadership known as a CISO on demand.
On-demand CISOs are not only empowering businesses to improve cybersecurity, but they are also contributing to lower costs and higher revenues. A stable digital infrastructure shrinks cybersecurity risks and adds credibility to that business’s operations.
CISOs – chief information security officers – are critical to modern cybersecurity. In this quick guide, we’ll discuss chief information security officer qualifications and how a CISO on-demand offers small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to secure their business from disastrous security breaches.
What is a CISO?
A CISO is a chief information security officer for an enterprise. Traditionally, the CISO is a high-level managerial (or executive) role within a larger firm. However, today’s cybersecurity threats require even small organizations to invest in information security officers.
Because small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the same IT budgets as large corporations, CISO roles have expanded and taken different forms. For example, fractional CISOs are part-time chief information security officers who either freelance as CISOs to multiple clients or maintain more than one IT role within the company. The other option is an on-demand or virtual CISO.
How Does One Become a Certified Chief Information Security Officer?
Professional CISOs seek certifications from credible institutions, such as EC Council or college vocational programs. Certified chief information security officer training includes, but is not limited to the following coursework:
- Project Management
- Strategic Planning
Chief information security officer qualifications usually include a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science. CISOs (certified chief information security officers) exhibit proficiency in the topics listed above and possess various IT experience levels.
What Kind of Skills Do You Need in a Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO)?
In addition to formal training, CCISOs must be able to communicate complicated information to non-IT personnel. They are more than cybersecurity experts: they are leaders.
Often, CISOs report directly to a CEO or board of directors. They also coordinate with multiple departments like human resources, legal, and IT to ensure that everyone understands security objectives.
CISOs must possess a strong working knowledge of IT core competencies and motivate employees to take their role in preventing security breaches seriously. Full-time CISOs are among the highest-paid employees on a company’s payroll.
What is a CISO On Demand?
A CISO on demand (or on-demand CISO) is another term for virtual CISO (or vCISO). Virtual and on-demand CISOs serve companies that can’t afford a full-time cybersecurity executive.
Any CISO on-demand carries out duties akin to what their name implies. They assess cyber-risks, create cybersecurity policy, communicate with department heads, perform penetration testing, and suggest cybersecurity solutions.
Even though virtual CISOs are not on the company payroll, they work for the company that they protect. These independently-contracted CISOs take their role very seriously and have a wider view of cyber-threats, thanks to working with a diverse client portfolio.
How Does a CISO On-Demand Help Your IT Team?
If you’re recovering from a security breach or hoping to prevent one, your organization needs more than just a few cybersecurity tools. IT employees may possess some cybersecurity skills and responsibilities, but maintaining your digital infrastructure is bigger than any one department.
A CISO on-demand takes all threats, concerns, and compliance standards into consideration. They can demonstrate how improved cybersecurity directly contributes to your company’s costs and revenues. Without this managerial support, your IT team can’t deliver the kind of cybersecurity protection that your organization needs.
On-Demand CISOs provide cybersecurity leadership.
The greatest benefit to a CISO is that you entrust your cybersecurity to a seasoned leader. They take the initiative to understand your business operations, improve overall security, and engage all relevant personnel with concerns and solutions.
For example, companies that deliver digital products do not always research and develop with cybersecurity in mind. CISOs proactively collaborate early with product development teams to help them create safe digital tools and services.
On-demand CISOs can deliver the same quality of cybersecurity leadership as do full-time CISO executives. As your business grows, vCISOs can seamlessly scale their involvement to maintain your operational integrity.
On-Demand CISOs normalize cybersecurity initiatives.
It isn’t easy for inexperienced information security personnel to convince decision-makers that certain cybersecurity initiatives are vital. The information technology industry is detail-oriented and overflowing with acronyms.
Certified chief information security officers know how to bridge the gap of understanding and communicate effectively to their audience. For example, CISOs present cybersecurity concerns and solutions from an ROI perspective. A well-executed cybersecurity strategy will decrease costs and increase sales. Understanding and synthesizing data to create financial projections accurately is not a skill that most IT leaders and employees have. Further, it’s not a part of their job description as it is for a CISO.
On-demand CISOs have confidence in their ability to normalize cybersecurity initiatives for each of their clients. Because they deal with more than one client and industry, virtual CISO teams understand how gaps in understanding can impede progress. As a result, a CISO on demand can help you and your managers develop a healthy awareness of cybersecurity best practices.
On-Demand CISOs help IT focus on their job.
Virtual CISOs frequently work as a team of cybersecurity experts. As such, they can more effectively oversee and maintain all critical cybersecurity tasks so that your IT team can focus on their job.
When decision-makers assume that IT is responsible for every cybersecurity initiative, IT personnel feel overwhelmed. Additionally, IT managers feel obligated to raise alarms rather than help the company grow. This conflict of interest can sour relationships between IT and the other departments.
Thankfully, on-demand CISOs know how to manage cybersecurity tasks and maintain positive relationships with every department. This approach takes IT off the “chopping block,” raises morale, and helps every employee see their collective role in preventing a security breach.
On-Demand CISOs connect IT with the other departments.
Many non-IT employees assume that their department has little to no responsibility for the company’s cybersecurity. However, the truth is quite the opposite.
For example, the most common security breach is phishing. Hackers and malware can enter an organization when an employee clicks the wrong link in an email, text, or ad. Phishing attacks can lead to large quantities of lost or stolen data.
CISOs oversee cybersecurity training for employees. They also coordinate with every department to listen, inform, and resolve misunderstandings about cybersecurity. Virtual CISOs are familiar with a wider variety of personality types, leadership styles, and departmental objectives. They can help your various departments view cybersecurity with an attitude of unity instead of rivalry.
On-Demand CISOs are more objective and flexible.
Full-time information security executives do not often have flexibility. As payroll employees, they can easily develop tunnel vision and succumb to in-office politics. The best CISOs know how to remain objective, align their leadership style to the company culture, and patiently achieve progress.
But if your organization can’t afford slow change or hiring another full-time executive, you need a different solution. That’s why on-demand CISOs have helped thousands of budget-constricted companies achieve A+ cybersecurity systems more quickly. Virtual CISOs must remain flexible and objective to stay in business. Additionally, they have a portfolio of successful clients to demonstrate their success.
Recap: Is a CISO On-Demand is Right for Your Organization?
Many organizations that thought they couldn’t afford an information security expert felt differently after losing thousands or millions in a security breach. Thankfully, building a cutting edge cybersecurity team doesn’t have to break your budget.
If you’re not a large corporation, then on-demand CISOs can provide you high-level cybersecurity leadership and support that fits your size. As your business grows, virtual CISOs can scale at your pace and maintain your cybersecurity program at each growth stage.
RSI Security virtual CISOs help small to medium-sized businesses enjoy premium cybersecurity services without paying for a six-figure-salaried executive. CISO on-demand services are 24/7. Your business can focus on what it does best while our RSI team protects your digital infrastructure.