COVID-19 forced more and more companies to adopt remote work practices. Even as the vaccine roll out picks up pace and the virus threat subsides, many companies will remain remote or at least support a hybrid work approach. That’s understandable since many employees are actually more productive from home. However, remote work has its pitfalls too, particularly when you consider cybersecurity risks.

Over the last few years, cybercriminals have continued to wreak havoc across the globe. Employees and their PCs used to be safe behind the office firewall, which was customized to fight the latest threats. But in the age of work-from-home (WFH), companies have a bigger attack surface as their employees are in different locations using different networks and lacking the protection of their company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. 

But there’s still a lot you can do to make sure that your organization’s cybersecurity is improved. This includes going for common solutions such as implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for company accounts, using email security protocols, and training employees about digital hygiene, helping them avoid falling into the traps of cybercriminals, irrespective of where they live. To ensure proper implementation of these solutions, you need a virtual CISO as a service. 

What Is a vCISO As a Service?

In today’s highly insecure digital world, companies need an experienced security leader to drive key initiatives and align activities to resolve critical business issues. However, getting proven chief security information officers (CISOs) on the board is extremely hard. That’s because they are highly sought, rare, and expensive. 

That’s why you should instead opt for vCISO as a Service, a more flexible security program leadership strategy. For companies, which have been struggling to get a proven CISO due to cost, vCISO is an ideal solution that can meet both their short- and long-term objectives.

What Is the Role Of a vCISO?

The vCISO advises the executive team on how the company can meet security needs to do business in their given industry. The vCISO manages a team that has a view of the security issues the company faces at the moment. 

Next, they start implementing the required security solutions and processes to address those risks. They communicate these risks to the company’s decision-makers and are empowered to take actions independently when required in emergencies. They also have some say in the allocation of resources and investment to ensure cybersecurity is given the required attention. The role grows in significance with every security incident, vulnerability, and breach that occurs.

What Certifications Does a vCISO Possess?

A vCISO possesses a number of certifications, including CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), which tests proficiency in the following domains:

  • Software development security
  • Security operations 
  • Security assessment and testing
  • Identity and access management (IAM)
  • Communication and network security
  • Security data architecture and engineering
  • Asset security 
  • Security and risk management 

Another key certification is Certified Information Security Management (CISM), which tests proficiency for the following:

  • Information security incident management
  • Information security program development and management
  • Information risk management and compliance 
  • Information security management

Other relevant certifications include CCISO (Certified Chief Information Security Officer), which focuses on the following: 

  • Strategy planning, vendor management, procurement, and finance
  • Information security core competencies
  • Security program management and operations
  • Information security controls, compliance, and audit management
  • Governance and risk management

These certifications show that your vCISO has in-depth knowledge of different security fields. 

Pros Of vCISO As a Service

vCISOs are an affordable and effective alternative for companies of all sizes, from international chains to small businesses. Here’s why: 

vCISOs Offer More Diverse Knowledge

Most vCISOs possess a wealth of industry experience. They have collaborated with different clients across many industries and all of this can come in pretty handy when they start working for you.

They are continuously implementing strategies and processes to protect organizations of varying sizes against evolving threats. This way, they keep acquiring priceless knowledge that they can utilize to save your organization from an impending disaster.

vCISOs Bring Invaluable Flexibility to the Table

Hiring a virtual CISO provides terrific flexibility – one that you can’t get from an in-house, full-time employee. For starters, there is no need to look for a place within your workplace and budget for a new permanent worker. You can also avoid paying the additional costs that come with full-time employees, such as insurance and salary. 

Moreover, vCISOs will design personalized security services to meet your exact needs. You can hire them for a few months just to see how they enhance your security. Once you are satisfied, you can move to a multi-year arrangement. 

Similarly, if you want to train your IT specialists to excel at security, a vCISO can act as a security barrier for a brief period and train your IT professionals to handle your security after their departure. 

To put it briefly, bringing a vCISO on your team is more advantageous than going for a full-time employee. 

vCISO Have Key Contacts

Due to the nature of their job, vCISOs build a strong network and know skilled professionals from different industries. They maintain relationships with other experienced cybersecurity analysts, allowing them to get a sneak peek at the rising threats and fortify your organization’s security accordingly. 

For instance, suppose you run an e-commerce website. If a new ransomware strain seems to be targeting e-commerce websites exclusively to steal financial information, your vCISO can learn about it in time through their contacts. 

They can then implement the relevant solutions, such as installing an endpoint security solution. These solutions are installed on endpoint devices to block incoming malware, especially against the malicious downloads associated with risky websites. They also show the compromised devices and help with the prompt installation of security updates. 

Similarly, a vCISO can introduce secure email gateway technologies to filter email communications. This is important because many ransomware strains attack through email. Employing similar security solutions, a vCISO can use their existing network and expertise to safeguard your site.

Their contacts ensure that vCISOs will gain additional support if they come across a technical issue they haven’t addressed before – something that often plagues in-house CISOs – and enables them to resolve the situation with minimal delay. This can include making a phone call to a contact on the front line of cybercriminal incidents, such as a cybersecurity analyst working for a top cybersecurity firm that analyzes the latest cyberthreats or a thought leader who has made their name in the industry. 

Which Businesses Need a vCISO as a Service?

Now that you know the responsibilities and benefits that a vCISO as a Service brings to the table, let’s go through this checklist to find if your company really needs one:

  • Your business requires an experienced professional in a specific security niche
  • Your organization needs tailor-made information security programs
  • You have a limited budget
  • Your organization stores and processes sensitive information
  • You need someone to help you with industry-based compliances, such as PCI-DSS. 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, reach out to us today to secure your business’s data and operations. 

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