Virtual CISO (vCISO), an Outsourced Security Lead
A virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is an outsourced security expert who can set up and lead strategic security initiatives at an organization. Organizations can use either a full time, in-house CISO, or a vCISO to manage their team and lead the development of an effective security program. The difference between the roles is that an in-house CISO can't design and implement an entire information security program alone. Before we go further into what a vCISO is, let's review what an effective security program looks like and what role a vCISO plays.
Security Program Led by a vCISO
In most organizations, the information security program will be led by the in-house CISO or a virtual CISO. This title can also be called the manager, deputy director, director or vice president of information security.
A security program is a combination of policies, standards, processes, and security technologies. A successful program will also need other specific roles or people to perform those processes and configure the security technology, to align to those standards and meet the policies.
A standalone CISO can't be the only one implementing and maintaining a repeatable program — it's unreasonable to think that one person can build a security program's different processes and run all of them at the same time.
So, in order to develop a repeatable security program, a virtual CISO can be a great option.
The use of a virtual CISO can be a great option in that they often have more access to the additional resources that are generally required to meet all program requirements.
Hiring a vCISO from an organization with the additional resources can help you build or strengthen your security program in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Does Your Organization Need a vCISO?
Finding a vCISO for your organization might be a good option if you're having a hard time bringing on an in-house security leader or are struggling to establish your security program without a leader and the roles to perform the necessary processes.
Virtual CISO Benefits
Outsourcing your information security program can be a valuable option if you need immediate access to security expertise.