What was once a relatively unknown position has become a necessity for many businesses across all industries. As more of us continue to work remotely, the necessity of a strong enterprise-level cybersecurity infrastructure becomes more and more prevalent.
Part of that infrastructure includes having a team in place who understands your business and your cybersecurity needs.
By the end of 2022, it’s estimated that 25% of professional jobs in North America will be remote — and that number is only expected to rise. What began as an emergency response to the pandemic has become a new way of working, and it has big implications for how businesses operate.
In addition to fundamental steps like enhancing email security protocols, implementing multifactor authentication, and training employees on how to stay cyber safe, many businesses have discovered the benefits of hiring a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO).
What is a vCISO?
To put it simply, a vCISO is a security expert (or team of experts) who provides strategic guidance on how to protect you business. This outsourced expert or team specializes in developing goals, insights, and strategies to enhance cybersecurity throughout an organization.
A vCISO plays a very similar role to an in-house CISO, but is a much more cost-effective alternative. Most vCISOs are hired through independent IT consulting services and work on a flexible basis.
What Tasks Do vCISOs Carry Out?
A vCISO helps keep the IT infrastructure of a company protected by performing tasks meant to maximize your cybersecurity, while also minimizing costs.
Here are a few of the main duties you can expect a vCISO to perform:
- Running regular penetration tests and vulnerability scans
- Reviewing and revising current security policies and procedures
- Ensuring compliance with industry regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc.
- Creating and implementing incident response plans (IRPs)
- Making recommendations for replacing/reinforcing current security tools and resources
4 Signs It’s Time to Hire a vCISO
Any company can enjoy the benefits of hiring a vCISO, whether its workforce is fully remote, hybrid, or in the office five days a week.
But sometimes the need for a vCISO goes from a “nice to have” to an “absolute must.”
If you find yourself struggling with IT and cybersecurity, but you’re still unsure about hiring a vCISO, here are four sure signs that you should.
1. You Need More Time
If you’re running a business, chances are good you don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. From managing people to balancing the books, it can feel as though you’re being asked to do more and more each day.
Do you really have time to become a cybersecurity expert? Or to hire and train a new full-time CISO to protect your business? If you need more time to take care of your core business functions, a vCISO is the right way to go — you can hire one quickly, they’re largely already vetted and trained, and they’ll show you speedy results.
2. You Need More Support
Have you been putting off major IT projects because you lack the right resources? Don’t feel too bad — it’s not that uncommon. Many companies have a whole slate of IT projects in the pipeline, but they don’t have the people or bandwidth to get the work done.
Whether you’re preparing to migrate your data and applications to the cloud, or you need to shore up your cybersecurity protocols, a vCISO can provide you with the crucial support that you need to move forward.
3. You Need to Save Money
It’s always good to reduce costs, but in a time of inflation and supply chain disruptions, your budget may be especially tight. If you’re running a small- to medium-sized business right now, it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to hire a CISO.
But a vCISO could be just the ticket. You can still get the help and support that you need, without the expense of a full-time, C-suite employee.
4. You Need to Be Sure
Too many organizations take a “hope for the best” approach to cybersecurity, especially given the fact that 60% of small businesses close within six months of a cyberattack.
Maybe you’ve had a close call, or you’ve already been the victim of an attack. Maybe you just can’t shake the nagging sense that you’re not doing enough to protect your business or your people. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, it’s time to trust your gut. A vCISO can give you the peace of mind that comes from being sure you’ve taken steps to keep your business safe.
More Benefits of Using a vCISO
The role of vCISO is seen across a lot of different industries — everything from technology to health care to manufacturing. One of the reasons for this is that the role of a vCISO is extremely versatile, plus cybersecurity looks relatively similar across most markets.
But the main reason so many industries and companies are using vCISOs instead of recruiting someone permanent for an in-house is all about the benefits.
There are so many advantages that come along with a vCISO, with these three standing out most:
- Security expertise
- More opportunities for learning/training
- Cost effectiveness
Good in-house CISOs can be hard to find. Even if you find the one who seems like a good fit, who really knows if a candidate’s resume is as accurate as it comes across?
With virtual services, you’re basically guaranteed to be partnered with an experienced provider who has a long history of security expertise. And if your vCISO comes across a challenge, he or she has easy access to infinite resources and a fellow team of experts who can help come to a solution.
Opportunity to Learn
Hiring a vCISO should be seen as a learning opportunity for your in-house IT team or the rest of your staff. Because this person is an expert on cybersecurity, you’ll be able to utilize that knowledge and experience to your advantage.
While the vCISO does the heavy security lifting, the rest of the team can observe and learn, which in turn will strengthen your entire IT infrastructure.
Did you know that the average CISO salary in 2022 was more than $232,000? Obviously not every company can afford to dish out that kind of money, but with a vCISO, they don’t have to.
Because vCISOs aren’t considered full-time employees, you’ll be able to keep much more breathing room in your budget, thanks to with reduced payroll costs. Plus, there’s no need to provide benefits, since your vCISO is most likely working independently or through an IT consulting service.
At Ntiva, we understand that not all businesses can afford a full-time CISO. We also know that no business can afford to go without security, which is why we offer security expertise from a team of talented vCISOs to keep your business running smoothly, but more importantly, safely.