Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, yet they are often neglected when it comes to information security. While large businesses can afford to hire a chief information security officer (CISO) full-time, small businesses often cannot, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches and other cyberattacks.
However, there is a solution: hiring a virtual CISO (vCISO). A vCISO is a professional who provides information security leadership to an organization remotely. They are typically part-time and work with the business owner to advise on the business’s security. Is a virtual CISO right for you? In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of hiring a virtual CISO, their limitations, and what to look for when hiring.Virtual
Why Consider Hiring a Virtual CISO
Ideally, every company would have experienced in-house information security leadership. However, even when a business has the budget, talent can be hard to come by. Virtual CISOs are a great solution to budget and talent concerns. They typically cost less than half of what a full-time CISO costs and are available when you need them.
That said, it’s important to understand what a virtual CISO brings to the table. Virtual CISOs serve as advisors that can help you develop and implement a security plan that meets your business needs. You can often find someone who has experience in your specific industry and can take into account regulatory standards like HIPAA.
Virtual CISOs also focus on bringing the right people on board and designing processes that keep your business secure. While an engineer can help you with the tactical implementation of your security program, people and processes are key to protecting data long-term. This focus is the sweet spot for CISOs.
The Limitations of a Virtual CISO
Since they are not a permanent member of the team, virtual CISOs serve as advisors rather than project owners. Therefore, a vCISO does not have the same level of authority as a full-time CISO. This difference can lead to communication issues between the virtual CISO and other team members.
Another difference between a virtual and full-time CISO is that your team will ultimately be responsible for the implementation and management of the budget. These limitations may cause problems for businesses with extensive attack surfaces or those who operate in heavily regulated industries. A final consideration is cost. While a vCISO is significantly cheaper than a full-time employee, the cost may still be too high for smaller firms to take on.
However, security is something businesses of all sizes need to take seriously. So, while the cost of information security leadership may seem steep, data breaches and legal action are much higher. That’s why many businesses bolster their organization’s security through CISO leadership. The key is analyzing your company’s needs and finding the right talent.
When hiring a virtual CISO, consider the individual’s experience and qualifications. The virtual CISO should have a deep understanding of information security in your industry. A CISO like that is more likely to be proactive and think outside the box when creating solutions to novel security challenges.
A vCISO should also be able to communicate effectively with employees at all levels of the organization. Since the virtual CISO will be working with your team closely in a leadership role, they must be able to build relationships and establish trust. Hence, a virtual CISO should be a good fit for your company culture.
Ultimately, hiring a virtual CISO is an important decision that can help protect your business’s data and reputation. But finding the right person can be an intimidating task. Our team at OneNeck can help you analyze your security needs and advise you on the best options available to you. Contact us to learn more.
Ten questions to ask before hiring a vCISO:
- What is your company’s budget?
- What are your company’s security goals?
- What is your company’s current security posture?
- What are your company’s compliance requirements?
- What is your company’s threat landscape?
- What experience does your vCISO need to have?
- What availability do you need from your vCISO?
- What services are necessities, and which are nice to have?
- What rates and pricing model are you comfortable with?
- How will you work with your vCISO?