Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
Teaching is a tool often undervalued in a fast-paced business environment.
But when it comes to security, you must take your time and understand what is needed; preparation prevents poor performance.
Virtual CISO training is trending because companies like yours recognize the value of virtual training. Investing in the future ensures the best for the security and longevity of your organization.
Learn how vCISOs can make a difference to your organization and how you can conduct their training in this article.
We’ll cover the basics of what makes a vCISO different from a traditional CISO. The business responsibilities they are required to fulfill and the level of training needed to accomplish these responsibilities.
Virtual CISO Training
Virtual Chief Information Security Officers (vCISOs) are a growing service, and many cybersecurity businesses are looking to grow their offerings. Take advantage of this new opportunity by rethinking the role of a CISO in this current and growing remote-working business environment. Retraining your CISO is an excellent first step.
This article will take you through the steps of training as a vCISO or if you are looking for tips in offering vCISO training.
First, we will explore what a vCISO is in more detail and how it differs from a traditional one.
What Is A vCISO And How Is It Different from a CISO
A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is the upper management head of security. They are the part of the c-suite that is responsible for the cyber resilience of an organization. Generally, their responsibilities will involve everything from compliance advisory and strategy to management of the information system.
Nowadays, it can be challenging to find a well-skilled CISO that falls within the company budget. These individuals tend to have a very niche skill set and can be very expensive if they form part of a dedicated security team.
Virtual CISOs (vCISO) fill the market gap. A vCISO is not usually an integral part of the security team and will act as a third-party security provider. Their responsibilities are mostly the same, but they come with some fundamental difference, namely in price.
A vCISO is much less costly than an in-house dedicated CISO. And unlike other CISO, they are dedicated to the security of the organization. Often a regular CISO may be wearing many different “hats,” as they may be responsible for more than one role within the organization. Sometimes they may just be the IT manager and simply fill the role of CISO due to regulatory requirements.
By hiring a vCISO, you can be sure that their sole responsibility is your information security.
Lastly, vCISOs come in many different forms, which means you can find one specializing in your industry. You can expect the best in compliance strategy and other related security because they will have industry knowledge specifically targeted to your needs.
What Qualities Makes a Good vCISO
When it comes to training, sometimes there are qualities that you just can’t teach. These qualities are what separate good vCISO’s from great ones.
A great vCISO will:
- Have the security mindset: the vCISO should live and breathe information security. The great ones will dedicate their time to ensuring best practice, and they will often make observations about your organization’s information system that you may not like. They must remain unbiased as their primary concern is your cyber resilience, which might mean asking the tough questions.
- Adaptable and Quick Learners: The nature of cybersecurity and the online environment means it is in a perpetual state of change. New threats are looming on the horizon, and the vast internet frontier brings in disruptive tech and innovations. This means the vCISO must be dynamic while staying on top of the latest news and updates.
- Excellent Communicator: a vCISO must be great at communication. This quality satisfies a gap that often plagues an organization’s cyber resilience, lacking communication. The ability to communicate clearly will significantly improve the efficiency of the vCISO; without it, achieving the goals set out by the strategy will be challenging to accomplish.
As part of training and a much-needed reinforcement for the industry, you should be working toward defining and solidifying the role of a vCISO. The industry’s current state leaves many potential prospects in the dark of what they are getting from your services.
Lack of clarity is a natural problem that new industries encounter, and once they are past the “teething” phase, they begin to develop a sense of identity. But as a trainer, cybersecurity professional, or subject matter expert, it should be our responsibility to fully define the role that a vCISO will fill for the welfare of both the customers and the industry.
The training environment should also foster a communication ecosystem for other vCISO to come together. It will improve the overall vCISO communities’ security resilience and aptitude and benefit all organizations that employ the services of vCISOs.
Key vCISO Business Responsibilities and What To Train In
vCISO should satisfy the overall security strategy implemented by the organization. If no plan is defined, they should work closely with the team to develop a security strategy.
Within the strategy, the vCISO should understand the organization’s business needs, the industry it is part of, and the organizational culture. With these elements, the vCISO should have all they need to develop a security strategy.
The vCISO critical responsibilities should be reflected within the organization’s security strategy.
These responsibilities are what the training should consist of, and those are:
- Compliance Advisory and Implementation Strategy
- Understanding Information Systems and IT Infrastructure
- Data Privacy and Data Protection
- Threat Intelligence
- Crisis Management
- Security Awareness Training and Culture Building
In the coming sections, we will elaborate on each responsibility.
Compliance Advisory and Strategy
Compliance advisory and strategy should be one of the top priorities of any vCISO. Without intimate knowledge of industry-specific regulations, it will be impossible for the vCISO to do their job correctly.
You will want to find the right tool for the right job. There will be no point in hiring a vCISO for your bulk energy supply business if they do not know the ins and outs of NERC-CIP, for example.
As part of the training, industry-specific regulatory knowledge is a must. There are many benefits to the vCISO to specialize in a particular niche. It may not be evident to many but cybersecurity is a macro niche, and within the market, you can find a plethora of different offerings and services.
The same is true for vCISOs and vCISO training. Sometimes it is better to be master of one than the jack of all trades and master of none.
Understanding Information Systems and IT Infrastructures
The main asset to any data-driven business is its information system and IT infrastructure. No matter what form it comes in, whether it uses a standard operating system or is dependent on SaaS, the vCISO must have in-depth knowledge of an information system’s general mechanisms.
Without adequate training in this aspect of the business the vCISO, would be like a surgeon with limited anatomy knowledge.
Information systems can be incredibly complex, and no one person can truly understand all the gears and cogs that run the machine. Without advanced knowledge, it may be tough to diagnose any problems and apply the correct security strategy.
The importance of high-quality training also applies to IT infrastructure; you wouldn’t want an unlicensed civil engineer to build a bridge, so you can’t expect an untrained vCISO to develop your cyber resilience.
Data Privacy and Data Protection
The vCISO must be well versed in the data privacy and data protection laws and mechanisms. It is one thing to know what the rules say; it is another thing to apply the correct safeguards.
The vCISO responsibility should be to advise the organization on the best approach to data privacy that is right for them. Looking at the cost-benefit analysis of different techniques and comparing them to the available budget.
Lastly, they should be able to guide the organization into privacy by design and default. They promote and foster a security culture, which we will discuss in more detail a little later.
The cyber threats that plague the business world are numerous and are potentially fatal. Being in such a turbulent environment, with bad actors working round the clock exploiting all sorts of vulnerabilities, can be much work just keeping up.
Training in threat intelligence keeps the vCISO up to date on upcoming potential threats. Their job is not just keeping up but remaining one step ahead of the bad actors.
The basic training should cover threat landscape analysis. This analysis will add to the information security risk management framework, another critical responsibility of the vCISO.
The current breach probability is always phrased as a ‘when not if’ scenario; the vCISO should be ready for when disaster strikes.
All the prior training and preparation that has gone into developing a security strategy and risk assessment will significantly mitigate a business-critical crisis.
But in the event of a security breach, the vCISO should be ready and on-call. Incident Response Planning (IRP) and incident response management are required core skills in any worthwhile training exercise.
Learn more about IRPs and how to create one here on our blog.
Security Awareness Training and Culture Building
As we discussed at the beginning of the article, one of the intrinsic qualities of a great vCISO is communicating efficiently and effectively. This quality works exceptionally well in this responsibility. Security awareness training is an integral part of any robust information system.
Human error remains one of the biggest reasons for accidental or malicious data breaches. Addressing this issue is one of the primary roles of the vCISO.
The training should involve them working closely with prospective clients, and more importantly, their teams.
As mentioned in the section on data privacy, this feeds into the culture building within the organization. Maintaining a high level of security awareness in the organization’s people will begin to build a security culture, and it is the vCISO that can manage that aspect of security.
Benefits to Virtual CISO Training
vCISO training and vCISO, in general, may now become the norm in a remote-working business environment. As mentioned previously, traditional CISO’s have a high entry barrier in terms of costs for SMEs. But there are many benefits to hiring and offering vCISOs services:
- Proactive management: change your security environment from a reactive one to a proactive one using the skills of a vCISO. And if you are retraining to become a vCISO, learn the ropes and be one step ahead of the threats and offer your organization a proactive security strategy.
- Scaling with your business needs: a vCISO will scale the security requirements with your business needs. When your organization grows, so do your security needs, and a vCISO will be with you every step of the way.
Conclusions and How We Can Help
Integrating a vCISO into your business can make all the difference to reaching your security goals.
Virtual CISO training is trending to boom in the coming years, for all the reasons mentioned in this article. But if you lack the time and resources to train your own in-house CISO, don’t hesitate to contact RSI Security today.
Our years of experience in the security industry makes us the right choice for you. Leverage our skills and knowledge and make us your virtual CISO today!