CISO-as-a-Service is a solution that provides everything you need to effectively build, implement, and manage a complete security program. It includes a virtual CISO (vCISO) to plan and direct an organization’s security program, with the support of a team to understand and manage each security program area.
A virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is an outsourced security expert who can remotely set up and lead strategic security initiatives at a client 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 and a single vCISO can't design and implement an entire information security program alone, but a vCISO with additional outsourced resources can.
Those who stand to benefit most are leaders like a CTO, CIO, VP of Engineering, or the VP of Product that are feeling the pressure of satisfying key business goals, due to pain points such as:
Lack of internal security expertise and resources — you’re getting bogged down with cyber security requests from clients that requires more than just a single role to lead, manage, and execute security program processes.
Your sales team spends more time getting questioned on your existing cyber security program, than establishing value so they can close deals.
You need to respond to time-sensitive client requests to comply with industry standards.
If any of these sound like the challenges you’re facing as a business leader, CISO-as-a-Service is the cost-effective solution. It grants you added value at a fraction of the cost of hiring both a dedicated executive security leader and the additional security resources needed to execute their plan.
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5 Steps to Selecting a vCISO:
Do Your Research
Understand the business goals your security program will help your organization accomplish, the types of information you handle, and any regulatory requirements you need to comply with. Knowing the components of a security program including your intended scope, business requirements, and specific requirements for your industry will narrow down what you’re searching for. Look for virtual CISOs, managed security providers, or CISO-as-a-service options with your budget in mind.
Understand Your Current State
Check your current program’s alignment to best practices and regulatory requirements. Understanding your program’s maturity, architecture, and resource capability will identify areas where your organization needs additional support. Try different methods of measuring your current state to get the most complete information (assessing using internal resources, using a paid assessment with an outsourced company, reviewing recent customer assessments, etc).
Know Your Options
Get ready to share what you’ve found with any upstream decision makers and other members of your organization about your findings. Choose 3 or 4 of the vCISO and CISO-as-a-service options that best meet your needs. Start compiling the pros and cons, as well as annual costs, resource and technology considerations, as well as the impact each option will have on your current state.
Paint the Picture
Consolidate your findings and the information on your security program’s current state into a concise deck or presentation. Share this information during a meeting with decision-makers and program stakeholders. If you’re working with external security service providers, share this information and any business requirements with them.
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A complete security program is a combination of policies, standards, processes, and security technologies. Successful programs will also need additional roles and people to successfully perform these processes and configure the technology in order to align to set standards and meet the program’s policies.
Even if it seems like the scope of your security program is small, you’ll likely need additional security resources and leadership to maintain oversight and keep up with both the regular and ad hoc security tasks. We all know that security touches every aspect of a business, but it shouldn’t become a burden on your existing team.
A CISO-as-a-Service provides not only the security leadership through a vCISO, but a full team of experienced security resources to take on the task of building, implementing, and maintaining the regular activities of a cyber security program.
Virtual CISO Benefits
Outsourcing your information security program can be a valuable option if you need immediate access to security expertise.