5 Benefits of a Virtual CISO

5 Benefits of a Virtual CISO

The value of having a chief information security officer (CISO) leading your organization’s cybersecurity posture has never been more evident.

Listen to these frightening statistics:

  • Phishing attacks increased 61% in 2022
  • 2022 saw over 450M ransomware attacks
  • Cyber-attacks occur every 39 seconds

Your CISO owns your company’s cybersecurity posture and its compliance with industry regulations. This C-level executive also balances the organization’s cybersecurity needs with the goals of your business. In light of these alarming stats, the value a CISO provides is immense. Not having one can leave your organization highly vulnerable to all sorts of risks in terms of financial loss, regulatory penalties, lost customer confidence, and more.

Filling this position can be just as hard, if not harder, than keeping your organization safe.

Out of all C-level IT executive positions, the CISO is the hardest to fill. With a 500% rise in cybercrime over the last two years, cybersecurity hiring often becomes a bidding war.”1

A virtual CISO or vCISO might be the answer to this talent shortage. These remote, contracted cybersecurity leaders offer the same caliber of talent as a permanent CISO, but they can be much more accessible, and sometimes affordable.

Leading Advantages

1. Talent Access

A vCISO gives you instant access to top cybersecurity leadership talent, now. This is imperative with the challenges associated with finding, hiring and retaining a permanent CISO. You cannot wait to shore up your cybersecurity defenses. You need help yesterday. vCISOs typically work remotely, meaning they can be located anywhere. They don’t need to give their current employer a month’s notice before leaving. They can hit the ground running right away, and there is no need for time-consuming HR onboarding either since they are a contract employee.

Many cybersecurity firms offer vCISO services in fact, giving you access to an entire security network of professionals and resources.

2. External Perspective

We have all experienced it before. You work for the same company for years and start experiencing tunnel vision when it comes to foundational change. You are living and breathing the company Kool-Aid every day, and it can be difficult to break out of that mindset and think externally.

vCISOs not only bring a 3rd-party perspective, but they also have decades of experience working with similar and different businesses, often spanning multiple industry verticals. They can bring this invaluable experience and expertise to your organization.

3. Cost

It is often difficult to talk about concrete costs associated with talent acquisition as there can be so many variables – relocation, benefits, stock options, etc. And, because the recruiting market for CISO’s is so tough, you might also have to add the cost of retaining a reputable executive search firm to fill your CISO vacancy, which could run $100,000++

A vCISO saves you the salary, benefits, search costs—at a minimum.

Bottom line is that based on various industry statistics,  the cost of vCISOs are about a third (30-40%) of the cost of a permanent CISO.

4. Flexibility

vCISOs provide a better operational and business model, as their services are an OpEx line item. They can work on a retainer, month-to-month or even hourly basis, depending upon your specific requirements. This gives you the option to scale or de-scale your vCISO support as your financial resources fluctuate. When times are particularly tough, you can scale back, and likewise, you can scale up their hours as you grow.

With this type of contractual flexibility, it is much easier to replace a vCISO. You can cease your current contract and startup a new one with a different vCISO quickly without worrying about severance or just-cause.

5. Planning

Your virtual CISO can assess your company’s current cybersecurity posture and start planning for the future. They can train junior staff, set security budgets and resources, and enhance current IT security controls. The vCISO can enforce compliance reporting and adherence practices, establish cyber-attack recovery protocol, and put in place the necessary security protections to mitigate business disruption.

Another key area the vCISO can address is the risks associated with 3rd party vendor relationships and implementing the necessary tools and procedures to safeguard data exchange.

Cybersecurity risks are ever-increasing. You need to put protections in place to ensure minimal downtime when an attack occurs, because they will happen. Stats vary on the specifics, but it’s widely known that every company in America will face some sort of cyber-attack in 2023, whether known or unknown. You need to be proactive and ready rather than reactive and complacent.

If you would like to have a strategic conversation about your cyber posture and possibly exposure, we invite you to contact our CEO at SFrancesco@coherecyber.com

1 “Cybersecurity jobs are in demand. C-level IT executives needed!”, Oct 2, 2022, INFOSEC Institute.

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