What is a vCISO?

You may be familiar with the term CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), but if you’re reading this, you’re probably not the most familiar with a vCISO or virtual CISO. This quick 5 minute blog will help you to understand what a vCISO is and why having a vCISO for your organization may be the best thing you do this year.

Chief Information Security Officer

A Chief Information Security Officer is the senior-level executive in an organization who is responsible for the creation and management of security protections for information assets and technologies that keep in line with the organizations vision, mission, and strategic goals. They are charged with ensuring the proper protections are in place and maintained for the business to reach established objectives. Their scope of responsibility will also include communications, applications, infrastructure, including policies and procedures that apply to all lines of business within the organization.

A virtual CISO (vCISO) is a proven security expert who works with your organization, but not directly for, to accomplish the requirements of an in-house CISO. This individual works to strengthen and reinforce your established information security or information technology team.


Benefits of a vCISO

 One of the largest benefits of hiring a vCISO is that your organization will receive the knowledge and skills of an established security professional without having to pay them a full-time salary. With a median salary of $228,612, according to Salary.com, the cost of a full-time CISO is exorbitant and many smaller businesses simply cannot afford to hire a full-time CISO. Virtual CISO’s however can be used on-demand and cost a fraction of the price.

Another benefit of a vCISO is that they will not require training on the organization as a whole. Their job role and function for the organization is focused on results. As such, they will be unafraid of “playing nice” when it comes to being direct about security measures and goals.


A Good vCISO

Individual organizations have different goals for their business, in addition almost every industry has a set of regulations and standards they must follow.  A good vCISO will be able to hit the ground running when they begin working with an organization to align business goals, security goals, and compliance standards. A vCISO will incorporate the goals of the organization into their strategic plan for information security, compliance, and risk management.

The “good” vCISO for your organization will be able to effectively communicate the risk and mitigation strategies for those risks as deemed appropriate. They will establish controls and procedures to mitigate risk within the organization. However, the vCISO will also maintain a working relationship and open communication with the in-house information technology/security team to ensure the security roadmap is meeting the needs of the organization.


Hiring a vCISO

Hiring a vCISO isn’t the right move for all companies. They are best suited to work with small to medium sized businesses who are looking to support their existing teams. Since the role of a vCISO within an organization differs from company to company and within industries, it is important to find a Virtual CISO that has experience with the challenges an organization faces. These challenges include compliance regulations, security threats, industry standards, and more. When hiring a vCISO organizations should also take into account focused industry experience and overall experience.


The ultimate goal of the vCISO should be keeping the organization they work with protected and secured so that the organization can focus on business goals.

Interested in Learning More About CyNtell’s vCISO Services?

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