As a result of technological advances, the amount of data that organizations must keep secure is increasing. Recent numbers indicate that 91.6 percent of businesses worldwide confirmed a significant increase in investment in big data last year.
After all, better business predictions and relentless data improvements fuel current and future decision-making initiatives, which are both essential in helping the organization outsmart their competition and enhance innovation. According to surveys, data-driven businesses are 23 times more likely to acquire new clients than their competitors.
While the advancement of technology has enabled businesses to find innovative ways to unlock new revenue streams, it has also made it more challenging to acquire customers. Consumers are more educated than ever and no longer connect with heavy-handed marketing strategies and generic advertisements.
Recent studies demonstrated that 70 to 80 percent of customers conduct thorough research of a company online before making a purchase with them or visiting the business. This is because misinformation, fake news, and data breaches have all seeded doubt in the consumer’s mind, making it even harder for organizations to dominate their target markets.
Ironically, the truth is that most of this information breaches can be avoided. An Online Trust Alliance (OTA) survey revealed that 91 percent of the data breaches in the opening half of 2015 could have been prevented if proper security measures were put in place.
One of the most popular ways to ensure adequate security and restore customer confidence is to opt for the services of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). In general, a CISO is responsible for maintenance and establishing the organizational program, strategy, and vision to assure that data technologies and assets are given sufficient protection.
They usually lead the staff in recognizing, establishing, employing, and nurturing processes throughout the organization to minimize the risks related to information technology and data. These individuals are also at the forefront in responding to incidents, managing security technologies, and creating the appropriate controls and standards to ensure information-related compliance.
Other than that, a CISO also performs web application security assessments, penetration tests, and vulnerability scans to make sure that the hardware and software configurations in their organization comply with business and regulatory standards. In other words, CISOs are both leaders and problem-solvers that are significantly involved in all angles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information security.
Although hiring a CISO brings a plethora of advantages, finding a qualified individual can be especially challenging and time-consuming as business leaders need to consider the gaps within their organization before making their choice. It is worth noting that attackers won’t wait for you to find a qualified CISO before trying to exploit the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your organization.
This is why businesses need to opt for a virtual CISO service to have access to near-immediate expertise they need to reduce cybersecurity threats and mitigate the adverse effects if a breach. By hiring a vCiso, organizations can come up with a comprehensive incident response plan, establish a cybersecurity program, conduct penetration evaluations, and review their cybersecurity procedures and policies at lower costs.
More often than not, small and mid-sized businesses stay vulnerable to security risks because they are unable to afford the total compensation of a CISO. On average, hiring a CISO can costs companies as low as $105,177 to as high as $255,135 depending on their qualifications, skills, and industry experience.
On the contrary, opting for vCiso helps organizations slice up the costs of their threat spending without undermining their cybersecurity. Unlike CISO, vCisos are independent contractors who keep themselves updated with the latest technologies and innovations within the security industry to ensure that they are aware of new threats.
On the other hand, CISOs require constant training and certifications to protect business information, which could mean additional expenditure for your organization. On top of the base salaries, organizations will also have to pay for recruiting fees, company-specific training, bonuses, benefits, and everything else related to the full-time employee when hiring a CISO.
If that is not enough, a full-time CISO could also be entrenched in company politics as these individuals are usually going to spend a certain percentage of their time on internal company activities that include HR issues, sensitivity training, and corporate politics.
While these are essential to the organization, these activities do not do anything directly to enhance your cybersecurity position. Meanwhile, opting for a vCiso enables an organization to have this individual solely focus on strengthening the cybersecurity activity and reducing their risk position.
Moreover, vCisos also provide businesses with extreme flexibility to choose the optimal service level from a range of offerings and discontinue the relationship at any point if their needs are not met. Going with a vCiso also eliminates the danger incurred by leaving a senior leadership position vacant as you perform an exhaustive search in today’s digital-driven market.
vCisos require less onboarding time as well and can quickly adapt to almost any setting as security and business demands need. They initially gain a complete understanding of the business model, risk tolerance, company culture, and objectives of each organization before coming up with an appropriate security strategy for a particular environment.
They also relieve internal teams of the daunting responsibilities of maintaining a cybersecurity program, therefore, lowering employee turnover rates. This enables both the cybersecurity professionals and internal teams to stay dedicated to their respective duties and avoid sick leaves, which could further cripple the company’s productivity.
Other than that, vCisos also work with multiple clients, which indicates that they have significant expertise across various industries. In other words, a vCiso can expose your organization to opportunities that are not available to CISOs working in isolated verticals. The security knowledge accumulated by a vCiso from each unique business environment guarantees constant growth and enhanced expertise in tackling the evolving business threats.
Even though the specific tasks managed by vCisos differ depending on the job requirements and contractual requirements, they will usually provide these core duties:
- Provide threat intelligence to each risk and maintain organization security
- Perform continuous risk assessments on operational security
- Engage with executive management to define threats based on risk levels and priorities
- Lead or manage information security teams and communicate best practices and threats to all parts of the business besides IT
- Direct and set privacy regulations, standards, guidelines, security policies, and procedures
- Continuously update the cybersecurity strategy of the organization to use innovative technologies and threat information
- Reevaluate investigations after data breaches including impact evaluation and recommendations for avoiding similar vulnerabilities
Benefits of Opting for vCiso Services
vCisos are shared across multiple industries such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, insurance, marketing, and technology. They are usually brought in by organizations that are looking for cost-cutting measures and efficiencies. Besides flexibility and cost-effectiveness, a highly-experienced vCiso can provide businesses with the following advantages.
1. Improve In-house Security Team
As mentioned, vCisos are typically experienced in multiple verticals, which could potentially help to provide mentorship and training to your in-house staff. They can also recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your team and identify places where your organization needs additional help or training.
What is more, outsourcing cybersecurity tasks to a vCiso also increases in-house efficiency as leaders can effectively allocate tasks to their partners and allowing their full-time employees to concentrate on their core competencies. vCisos also provide your organization with better management skills than what would otherwise be available without massive restructuring.
2. Ensure Compliance with Government Regulations
Compliance is essential in business because it creates a part of the duties of the organization concerning the industry it belongs to while building trust. By establishing trust with clients, stakeholders, and employees, an organization can survive the challenges of time and ensure success in the long run.
With a vCiso, organizations can ensure that business continuity and disaster recovery plans are in place and tested to combat evolving threats. This is because a vCiso will perform the necessary procedures to maintain a current understanding of the IT threat landscape of a particular industry and ensure compliance with the changing laws and applicable regulations.
More specifically, vCisos can provide businesses with the essential expertise needed to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They usually conduct a data protection impact assessment on your information networks and provide the expert insight required to support GDPR compliance.
By being compliant with these standards and regulations, organizations can enhance their reputation with their suppliers, customers, and prospects. It also helps businesses avoid hefty fines, which could potentially add up and result in the permanent termination of operations.
3. Provide Businesses with Scalability
vCiso service providers can assist their clients in managing their cybersecurity strategies with their current technologies. With a vCiso, organizations can tailor the most appropriate cybersecurity plan for their operations and subsequently implement a plan that meets the expectations of stakeholders.
Staying accountable to all stakeholders provides balance in the cybersecurity strategy that is usually difficult for an internal CISO to deliver. This is because in-house CISOs often serve as both the staffer and the executive making it relatively harder to get projects off the ground at an urgent pace.
With a vCiso, organizations can gain access to an extensive array of cybersecurity professionals that can provide scalable solutions at a rapid pace. After all, these experts are all accustomed to a wide range of enterprise resource planning and other enterprise systems and understand its challenges and vulnerabilities when it comes to cybersecurity.
How to Choose the Right vCiso?
Finding an excellent vCiso which has superb technical skills, fantastic management abilities, and a proactive personality is like finding a needle in a haystack. Not only will businesses have to consider the qualifications and costs of the individual, but also their specific needs. Outlined below are essential tips to consider in choosing the right vCiso to prevent unnecessary costs and ensure business continuity.
1. Evaluate your Needs
The initial step to choosing the right vCiso is to define the security needs of your organization. This can be completed by understanding the basics of your business, particularly its risks, requirements, and cybersecurity strategies. This helps organizations find the right vCiso service provider who can assist them in meeting government standards in a highly-regulated business environment.
2. Interview Prospects Experienced in Various Security Procedures
A vCiso service provider must be an expert in IT and has an excellent track security record that enables them to understand security governance and risk management. They also need to have security certifications and comprehensive experience and knowledge on how they can help secure your applications and infrastructure.
As the individual who will come up with a security agenda for the whole organization, vCisos should also be able to continuously expand and improve their technical expertise and awareness to fight off evolving threats. Furthermore, a vCiso service provider should also possess leadership skills as they help drive security awareness and information technology in the workforce.
3. Make Sure that the vCiso Can Speak in Language the Board Understands
Information technology is a sophisticated field, and finding a vCiso that can break down complex and technical strategies into digestible easy-to-understand terms is essential in ensuring excellent communication. This helps your board members and stakeholders learn to put more trust in the requests, suggestions, and strategies made by the vCiso.
Highly skilled vCiso service providers like RSI Security should also be adept in aligning security with business goals and values. This helps business leaders become more culturally aware and make effective decisions that could further improve the current state of their organization.
A vCiso from RSI Security can bring both operational and strategic leadership on security to organizations that cannot afford a full-time individual in the role. The benefits of having a vCiso go well beyond costs as they also require less to no training and can hit the ground running, therefore, ensuring maximum productivity.
While these vCisos have unique skillsets, many should be able to cover tactical and strategic tasks. Find out how they can help your organization by speaking to an expert at RSI Security today.