The Need for vCISOs By SMBs

The Need for vCISOs By SMBs

Cybervisors to the rescue!

For many businesses today, the severe lack of a skilled Cybersecurity workforce is becoming clearly evident on a daily basis.  Just consider some of these statistics:

  • 45% of organizations report that they do not have an adequate IT security staff in order to ensure 24 × 7 × 365 monitoring;
  • 54% of business entities claim that they do not have an adequate Cybersecurity skill set for their size;
  • 57% of entities, even claim that they do not have enough Cybersecurity workers to fully man their Security Operations Centers (SOCs).

It should be noted that the Cybersecurity workforce shortage is a global trend that is occurring not just here in the United States, but on a global basis as well.  This is illustrated in the diagram below:

The Need for vCISOs By SMBs

At the present time, there are some 3 million unfilled jobs in Cybersecurity.  But it is not just the average worker that is hard to find.  It is even more difficult to find a CISO, and even more importantly, have him or her stay in their tenure for a particular business for a long time to come.  For instance:

  • The average “tour of duty” for a CISO is just a mere 18-24 months, and in most instances, is even shorter than that;
  • 38% of CISOs will change their jobs if they are offered a much higher salary at a different organization;
  • 36% of CISOs will leave their current place of employment if they feel that their place of employment does not emphasize and place enough value on Cybersecurity;
  • 34% of CISOs will leave their current roles if they don’t receive enough budget for Cybersecurity;
  • 31% of CISOs will abandon ship if they feel that their ideas and strategies are not being taken seriously by the other members of the C-Suite.

So based upon these statistics, the big question now is, especially for the SMB, is how to not only get a high caliber CISO but have them stay for the long term?  A very viable, and affordable solution to this, is through the use of what is known as the “Virtual CISO”, or “vCISO” for short.

What Is A vCISO?

A vCISO can be defined as follows:

“It 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 and a true vCISO can’t design and implement an entire information security program alone, but a vCISO with additional outsourced resources can.”

So, as you can see, a vCISO is actually like an independent contractor with whom you have outsourced your CISO functions too.  This can be an individual who has their own business, or it can be a group of different people in the same organization.  They can be hired on a project by project basis, or even for the long term, depending upon what your needs are at the present time.

Some key differences between the vCISO and hiring an in house CISO are as follows:

  • The vCISO is much more affordable. You will not have to pay an exorbitant salary and benefits, such as medical insurance and vacation time.
  • The vCISO will not leave you, unless you fire them for whatever reason. They will stay with you for the duration for as long as you need them.
  • Because the vCISO is an outsourced, third party entity, he or she can offer you expert, and unbiased views of what they think you need to get done in terms of launching your Cybersecurity initiatives. For example, this could be the procurement and deployment of brand-new Artificial Intelligence tools all the way on how to craft your Security Policies and Disaster Recovery/Incident Response Plans.
  • Typically, most organizations hire only one in house CISO. Because of this, he or she is shouldered in assuming all the Cybersecurity responsibilities, which in turn, leads to the huge turnover rate.  But by using a vCISO, your outsourced entity will already be networked to other resources that can be called upon if necessary, in order to address all of your Cybersecurity needs.

The Benefits Of The vCISO To The SMB

There are a number of key benefits that vCISO brings to an SMB which are as follows:

Off the shelf expertise and knowledge:

If an organization were to hire a CISO as a regular employee, there is a long period of time that is spent in getting that individual acclimated to not only your company culture, but also in understanding the security needs of the business, as well as formulating and implementing the right plans, processes and procedures.  This can usually take anywhere from 6 months to even as long as a year. But with a vCISO, there is a very high probability that he or she has offered their services across a multitude of industries and all sorts of business entities.  Thus, they offer a deep level of expertise and experience that can be leveraged from the first day that you hire them, without any extended onboarding time that is required.

High levels of cost effectiveness:

The typical salary for a direct hire CISO is on average is almost 268,000 on an annual basis.  Keep in mind that this does not even include benefits, bonuses, or other perks. Typically, it is really only the Fortune 500 companies that even have the budget to pay such a huge salary.  This is without a doubt a huge and unthinkable expense for an SMB.  But by making use of a vCISO, it will only cost about 30%-40% of what it would for a full time CISO.  Also, as mentioned earlier, you can hire a vCISO only on an as needed basis, which will drive the costs even further down.

Higher levels of scalability:

When a business attempts to hire a full time CISO, a lot of resources are spent on interviewing candidates and conducting background checks until the right candidate is found.  This can take a very long time, and in the world of Cybersecurity, time is not a luxury.  But making use of a vCISO services, you can hire the individual in just a matter of minutes, and immediately start to tap into their wealth of knowledge and expertise.  If your project expands and you need more resources, you can even hire multiple vCISOs.  Once it is over, you can then terminate the services of the vCISO and bring call them back again for yet another engagement if the need arises.

They can work quickly with your IT Security Team:

Once you bring on a vCISO, they can immediately start to take a leadership role in your company.  For example, they can very quickly and efficiently determine what the strengths and weaknesses are of your existing team, and even provide that extra level of guidance and mentoring where it is needed most in order to keep them motivated.  Also, the vCISO can also be used as a staff augmentation resource, so that this will free up the burdens and time constraints of your IT Security Team, so that they can stay focused upon accomplishing the most pressing of projects that need to get done quickly.

Expert advice is available:

When you hire a full time CISO, more than likely over the course of their tenure, he or she will be bogged down by the corporate politics and bureaucracies that transpire within the organization.  This can become a bottleneck for the CISO in getting the support and buy in from the other members of the C-Suite and even the Board of Directors in order to fully implement their goals and objectives.  But, keep in mind that a vCISO is an independent third party, thus they will not be hampered by all of this.  From the moment they are hired, their primary objective is to get the tasks done that you have assigned to them in the allotted time frame.  They are not afraid to suggest or even try new ways and methods in order to accomplish what is expected of them.  In other words, they will deliver results exactly to your expectations, and within budget.

The cyber security experts at Lazarus Alliance have deep knowledge of the cyber security field, are continually monitoring the latest information security threats, and are committed to protecting organizations of all sizes from security breaches. Our full-service vulnerability testing services will help protect your organization from data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber threats.

Lazarus Alliance is proactive cyber security®. Call 1-888-896-7580 to discuss your organization’s cyber security needs and find out how we can help your organization adhere to cyber security regulations, maintain compliance, and secure your systems.

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