vCISO: The New Leadership Role Your Small Business Needs
Add another chair to your conference room table because there’s someone who needs a spot at your leadership meetings. It’s your virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO).
While they may not literally sit in on your meetings, their input is vital for executive decisions that pertain to managing cyber risk because they provide guidance and oversight for your cybersecurity strategy.
In this article, we answer the questions:
- What’s the Difference Between a vCISO and a vCIO?
- What Does a vCISO Do?
- Who Needs a vCISO?
- Where Do You Find a vCISO?
Let's take a look at this vital role.
What’s the Difference Between a vCISO and a vCIO?
If you already have a vCIO, you might wonder why you need a vCISO and, in fact, your vCIO may already be covering a lot of vCISO bases.
In the vCIO (virtual Chief Information Officer) role, they’re focusing on the IT function of the business and identifying ways to improve how the organization utilizes technology. The vCISO role is focused on protecting information and access to IT systems.
The “virtual” part of vCIO and vCISO simply means that the person in this role is not a full-time employee of your company. In fact, they’re probably not an employee at all, but a consultant who also works for other companies. This is a cost-effective option for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the budget or the need for full-time executives in these positions.
What Does a vCISO Do?
The role of the vCISO is both strategic and tactical because they’re involved with creating and managing an organization’s cyber security process. This is a dynamic process because cyber criminals are always evolving their tactics, and security needs to evolve as well in order to defend against the latest threats.
Here are a few of the activities that a vCISO might have on their plate:
- Work with executives to articulate their risk profile and establish risk tolerance.
- Communicate the value of data and access to IT systems to the organization.
- Interpret compliance regulations into security controls.
- Work with insurance reps to acquire cyber insurance at the best rates.
- Establish a security foundation with best practices.
- Keep security strategy up to date with sophisticated security technologies.
- Lead incident response activities when necessary.
- Outsource cybersecurity awareness training for employees.
- Guide security policy documentation, training, and enforcement.
Who Needs a vCISO?
Every business is a target of cyber crime -- therefore, every business leader can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a vCISO. What’s more, cyber criminals are using the same tactics to get into your network that they’re using on enterprise-level companies. They may, in fact, try to use you to get to bigger targets.
If you don’t have expert security guidance, it’s a good possibility that you’re facing more risk than you want or could handle in the event of a data breach.
Where Do You Find a vCISO?
vCISO consulting is an emerging field and the supply of professionals who specialize in this discipline is struggling to meet demand. Fortunately, companies who work with Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) get access to not only a vCISO but cyber security services that fill every role that’s needed to create and maintain a robust security strategy.
Managed Cyber Security Services for Southern California Businesses
Accent is an MSSP and Managed IT Service company providing both security and IT management services for companies with 40 – 500 technology using employees. Clients get access to vCISO and vCIO guidance along with all of the IT security expertise they need to stand up a firm cyber defense.
Is outsourced cyber security right for your business? Get a cyber assessment to find out.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.