Wondering if your company needs a vCISO? You’ve come to the right place! We’ll start with the basics: what is a vCISO and who needs one. Next we’ll explore the benefits and how to begin your vCISO search. Finally, we’ll explain why now is the right time to look for one.
Whenever your company needs specialized help, what do you do? Either hire an employee or hire an agency of some kind.
Either option could be beneficial. But typically, an outsourced agency makes the most practical and financial sense for small and medium-sized businesses.
Large companies have had CISOs for a long time. And smaller businesses could use their information security services too. But hiring a full-time CISO is usually overkill. That’s where a vCISO comes in.
This article will dive into three key benefits of hiring a vCISO. If you’re in the financial services, healthcare or government contracting industries, you may especially benefit from hiring a vCISO.
In large organizations, the Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO, is the guru of all things information security. They make sure the security strategy lines up with the business strategy. They present to board members about cybersecurity and business risks. They manage oversight, and figure out what's missing. Large or complex businesses typically need a full-time CISO.
Large organizations have had CISOs for years. But as more businesses move to the cloud, and as more industries have to comply with certain regulations, a CISO is not just a 'big business' thing. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) now realize that CISOs can help them with their information security program too.
This holds true for cyberattacks as well. We sometimes think of only big businesses being hacked, but that’s not true! Small and medium sized businesses are at risk too.
A vCISO (Virtual CISO) is an outsourced or contracted CISO. Like mentioned earlier, it’s like hiring a marketing agency or a fractional/virtual CFO. You get industry experience without the cost of a full time employee.
Typically, vCISO service providers will perform a detailed cybersecurity risk assessment and then provide ongoing advice and oversight. They establish the cybersecurity strategy, security program, oversee contractors and vendors as needed, and execute a security training program.
There are many vCISOs that are more hands-on, which is usually better for small and medium-sized businesses. Some vCISO services focus on policies and procedures, and others (like ours!) get into more of the technical details.
So if you’re looking for a vCISO, make sure you look at the details of their offering. Make sure it’s what you need!
We’ve already established that a vCISO gives you expert advice without the cost of an employee. But what are the other benefits?
This should be the #1 priority of any Virtual CISO firm.
Get everything locked down so hackers have a much harder time stealing data or draining bank accounts. No, that’s not a typo.
A vCISO should do everything to make it harder for hackers. Unfortunately as cyberattackers get more sophisticated, hacks are bound to happen. What’s important is making it as tough as possible and knowing what to do when it happens.
Besides locking things down, a good vCISO will help implement a cybersecurity awareness training program within your company.
Most hacks start because of IT mistakes. This isn’t a slam on IT service providers, it’s the truth. Hiring a Virtual CISO means you have someone to oversee the technology solutions to catch and resolve these mistakes.
For example, we’ve seen countless mistakes in cloud settings for various clients over the years. If you’re using Google Workspace or Microsoft 365, your business may be extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. Good Virtual CISOs know what to look for and how to fix it.
Here's an example of a recent Microsoft 365 audit we performed. This company has had professional IT help for years, and yet almost 80% of the settings were wrong!
If you’re looking for a new IT provider? Most vCISOs will have a rolodex of sorts full of companies to recommend. Their experience and insight can help you find the best IT firm to help your business.
This is incredibly important. A Virtual CISO helps protect your revenue and reputation. Clients and insurance companies want proof you have your act together. A Virtual CISO can help prove you’re on top of your cybersecurity.
Remember what we were saying earlier about how hacks are kind of inevitable? A vCISO helps with damage control and incident response. They know the steps to follow when a hack happens and can help alleviate client concerns.
Think of cybersecurity as providing good client service. You are taking steps to protect their data and private information. Having a Virtual CISO launch a security program proves you are taking cybersecurity and cyber risk seriously.
But how do you actually find the right Virtual CISO for your company? We have a few suggestions.
If you’ve decided a vCISO makes sense for your company, the best thing you can do is ask your peers for recommendations. And if you’re narrowed down a few vCISO options from your Google searches? Ask them for references.
A good vCISO will have current clients you can contact to ask questions. We’ve done this a number of times for prospective clients, and our current clients are always happy to provide a recommendation.
Depending on your industry, it’s a good idea to find a vCISO that can focus on your specific industry. For example, we focus on clients in financial services, healthcare (HIPAA compliance) and government contracting (CMMC/NIST compliance).
Unfortunately, many companies wait until it’s too late to find a vCISO. We hear from companies all the time that are experiencing scary security situations:
And the list goes on.
Do not wait for catastrophe. The best time to look for a vCISO is now. When you have time to think through options and make changes. Take the time to find the right vCISO in order to positively change your company’s cybersecurity program. If you need information security leadership, a Virtual CISO could make a big difference in your company.
If you need help with security compliance, protecting client data, or overseeing your IT company (because let’s face it, most hacks are successful due to IT mistakes) – then an Adelia Risk vCISO may be the right choice for you.
Over the last 10+ years, we’ve helped over 100 of the best financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing companies across the U.S. with their cybersecurity.
“Working with Adelia Risk provides peace of mind. I sleep better at night knowing that our client data is being protected. Josh and his team are responsive, highly knowledgeable, and helpful.
They take complicated topics and make them understandable. We love working with Adelia Risk!"