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What is a Virtual CISO and How Can You Hire One for Your Business?
An effective security strategy is crucial to protect your business against cyber threats. Hackers continue to exploit vulnerabilities in systems and leverage cutting-edge technologies to disrupt operations. Even hospitals are at risk.
Cybercriminals’ nefarious activities can lead to lost sales and reduced productivity, costing companies and organizations big money. And as one in five Canadian businesses have been affected by cybersecurity attacks, every company needs to take their security infrastructure seriously.
One of the best moves a business can make to stay safe is appoint a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). But what is this, and how can you hire one?
Virtual CISO Defined
Let’s explore what a traditional CISO is before we dive into its virtual counterpart.
CISOs take responsibility for overseeing, developing, and implementing a company’s information security measures. They take the lead in implementing the right procedures and protocols to safeguard a company from risks, both internal and external.
The role demands an iron grasp of the latest information systems, cybersecurity threats (ransomware, cyber extortion, etc.), software solutions, and more. CISOs must be able to guide a business’s information security choices, sharing key insights with colleagues at all levels.
Over time, a CISO can empower teams with the knowledge and skills they need to stay vigilant against cybersecurity risks. Their growing awareness can help employees prevent data breaches, for example, which are a persistent risk to businesses’ and customers’ data alike.
Data breaches can be devastating: 78 percent of people would choose to stop engaging with a company online after an attack, while 36 percent would avoid the company altogether. This equates to lost revenue, negative word of mouth, and reputation damage (possibly long-term).
Worse, 60 percent of small businesses close their doors within six months of a data breach.
Working with a CISO helps you avoid such a catastrophic fallout. But while they make a real difference, hiring an in-house CISO incurs extra expense on top of current overheads. And, depending on the level of experience and training they bring to the table, a full-time CISO may stretch your budget too far.
Outsourcing a CISO is a more cost-effective, practical solution for companies today. Especially those without the available funds to bring a full-time CISO into their workforce on a permanent basis.
CISOs may not be necessary every day of the week, all year long. Instead, a business may benefit from working with a CISO on occasion. A virtual CISO is available as and when needed, but brings none of the overheads or full-time salary a certified professional will expect. They remain available to their clients without being part of the team.
What are a Virtual CISO’s Responsibilities?
A virtual CISO may be an individual or a team. They will have spent years serving as a CISO in one or more businesses, achieving invaluable hands-on experience.
Virtual CISOs can help companies and implement cutting-edge security measures without needing to be integrated into the culture. It demands less time, less effort, and fewer resources. They simply do the work expected of them. No more, no less.
And this revolves around defining security standards and policies, as well as establishing guidelines for employees to follow. Compliance, for example, is easy to overlook without a CISO on hand to get it right.
They may conduct a vendor risk assessment as required, too — a crucial task when doing business with new associates for the first time.
A virtual CISO can help create security strategies, recruit other security-focused employees, and ensure management have a working knowledge of certain cybersecurity tools. They’ll identify security weaknesses, reinforcing your network and systems to withstand potential attacks.
Furthermore, contingency plans are essential for any company, and a CISO will set one in place just in case an attack strikes.
The level of expertise and specialist insights a virtual CISO can bring to your business offers real peace of mind. You’ll be free to focus on running your company and achieving results without worrying about hackers bringing operations to a halt.
Hiring a Virtual CISO for Your Business
Any business looking to hire a virtual CISO should consider their selection process carefully. You want to feel certain that the team you choose offers the best value for money and will take effective actions to reinforce your security.
Keep the following points in mind:
A reputable virtual CISO will be happy to discuss their previous work, their credentials, their experience, their tools, and more key factors.
Want to Start Working with a Virtual CISO You can Depend On?
The Driz Group provides virtual CISO services of the highest standard. We’ve worked with companies and organizations across diverse sectors, helping to reinforce their security and IT compliance.
Our team focuses on preventing risks and effective mitigation. We leverage cybersecurity programs and respond to any incident as required — we’re always here to help.
Want to learn more? Get in touch now to speak to a member of our expert team.
Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP