Hiring a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) on a part-time or as-needed basis helps organizations gain security expertise without the overhead costs of a full-time hire. The decision between a vCISO and a traditional in-house CISO depends on the organization’s specific needs, budget, and risk tolerance. In addition, as with other security experts, there are more jobs available than there are people to fill them so a vCISO may be a good choice to fill the gap until the organization feels comfortable casting around for an in-house CISO.

A vCISO brings security expertise from their wealth of experience, even for small to mid-sized businesses. In addition, a vCISO can help an organization address cyber threats effectively while playing a crucial role in building an overall security program and improving the organization’s cybersecurity posture by providing:

  • Strategic Vision and Planning: A vCISO is instrumental in establishing and maintaining the company’s vision, strategy, and program for safeguarding information assets and technologies. They formulate and execute security policies to protect crucial data, providing a sense of security and guidance.
  • Risk Management Expertise: A vCISO is adept at assessing risks, identifying vulnerabilities, and providing real-time strategy updates. They also evaluate third parties with access to organizational data and ensure compliance with regulations, instilling a sense of reassurance and confidence.
  • Security Expertise: A vCISO can leverage their extensive experience to address cyber threats effectively, even for small to mid-sized businesses.

Hands-on experience is crucial, and many vCISOs start their careers in IT or cybersecurity roles, gradually taking on more responsibility and leadership positions. This practical experience helps them understand technical and strategic information security aspects. A vCISO should have a strong foundation in information technology and/or cybersecurity either with a formal degree or industry standards such as:

  • Certified CISO (C|CISO)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Since ongoing professional development is essential to stay up-to-date in this rapidly evolving field, such industry-standard certifications such as these require certified professionals to maintain ongoing professional education and training to retain them.

What to look for in a prospective vCISO:

  • Standardization: Since vCISOs come from diverse backgrounds, it is important to ensure a candidate is familiar with the organization’s regulatory requirements and understands the technical standards used in the organization’s environment.
  • Limited Familiarity: Since vCISOs work remotely, knowledge of your organization’s unique culture, processes, and specific challenges is crucial. A candidate must be able to articulate clearly how they can adapt quickly to management’s expectations.
  • Divided Attention: vCISOs often handle multiple clients simultaneously. While this makes them cost-effective, it can also divide their attention and affect the depth of their understanding and responsiveness. A candidate should be flexible and able to adjust their focus among clients to ensure each is supported effectively.
  • Technical Depth: vCISOs typically focus on high-level strategic tasks and should be able to call on deep technical expertise for hands-on support when needed. In addition, vCISOs should be willing to help an organization’s teams develop their experience and technical capabilities.

How to find a candidate for a vCISO position:

  • Define Expectations: Clearly outline your expectations. Understand the level of support you need, including budget considerations.
  • Referrals and Recommendations: Reach out to business peers or industry contacts who might have firsthand experience with reputable vCISOs for recommendations.
  • Interview Potential vCISOs: Narrow your search to IT companies known for their good reputation and vCISO services. Interview their CISO team to assess their qualifications and alignment with your goals. Ask questions like:
    • Can they provide examples of similar projects they’ve successfully handled?
    • Have they worked with companies in your industry?
    • How many years of experience do they have?
    • Remember, finding the right match involves both research and direct communication.

In summary, a vCISO contributes to robust security, compliance, and risk management while offering flexibility and cost savings.

We can help:

  • If your CISO is overworked, we can pick up the slack with CISO-level consultants.
  • If you don’t have a CISO and need one now.
  • If you need a third-party risk management program.
  • If you need to be compliant with CSF 2.0, CMMC, ISO, HIPAA.
  • If you need a regulatory review.

Yes, we can help!



Contact Us Today, Defend Better Tomorrow.

Aries Security wants to help you prepare for tomorrows cyber threats. Our experienced and knowledgable staff is here to guide you through the process of setting up your event, building your content or installing your range. Contact us today.

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