Are you a small to medium-sized company without dedicated security leadership yet?

You probably are wondering when is the right time to hire your first Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO)?

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What is a vCISO?

A Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) plays the same role a full-time CISO would, but in a more cost-effective manner. Handling security on a short-term or limited engagement, they will provide strategy, guidance, and oversight. Operating with an independent voice, they often can avoid the internal politics that plague some organizations.

What Types of Companies Use a vCISO?

vCISOs are becoming common across many industries, including technology, marketing, insurance, retail, finance, healthcare, and manufacturing. Companies that use a vCISO are typically trying to solve one of two problems: time or money. If the company is on a tight schedule, they may not be able to wait to find a candidate, get them onboarded, and bring them up to speed. Bringing in a vCISO can accelerate incident response and other security-related processes.

Companies that have short-term needs or are on a budget can also benefit from hiring a vCISO. Small or medium-sized businesses may not be able to attract or afford a full-time CISO. Other companies may be looking for efficiencies and cost-cutting measures.

Top 5 Reasons to Contract a vCISO

1. High Level of Experience and Expertise

vCISOs provide a combination of business and security related skills to an organization.  Due to their extensive experience ramp-up time decreases and they are able to provide an immediate benefit and ROI to the organizations that they work with.


Additionally, vCISOs often act as mentors to the entire security team and can easily adapt to any organization’s requirements.  And because of their extensive experience, they can easily leverage their established network of security professionals. Lastly, they are responsible for maintaining their professional credentials and fund their own training when needed.

2. More Cost Effective – In many times, a full-time CISO is not required

The average annual compensation (salary + benefits) for a full-time CISO in 2018 has been estimated at over $269,000. And, you may also incur recruitment costs while searching for the appropriate candidate.  That is a significant investment. The good news is that most organizations don’t really need a full-time CISO.  That is why many companies are turning to vCISOs.

vCISOs are typically cost 30-40 percent less than a full-time CISO.  And, in most cases, due to their extensive experience, they are able to ramp up much more quickly.

3. Reduced Business Risk & Flexibility to Work on Projects as Needed

vCISOs are generally on-call and are available to help whether on-site or off-site (depending an organization’s needs). When the project is complete, your commitment ends: you are not locked into long-term expenses or payroll costs. If you need more support, services can be deployed quickly and are scalable. Retaining a vCISO is essentially a short-term relationship with limited risk.

4. Improving Your In-House Team

With a vCISO shouldering the strategic responsibilities related to security, an organization can more effectively utilize its’ in-house team to handle day-to-day security tasks. Additionally, a vCISO will often train and mentor the members of an in-house IT and security team.

5. Objective Independence

A vCISO is an external consultant and thus able to provide an objective and independent evaluation of your current security posture that are subject to internal dynamics and politics. vCISOs can also help to develop a roadmap that won’t be hamstrung with a legacy “we’ve always done it like this” mindset.

Engagement Model

Strategic Meetings

  • vCISO will attend one or two strategic meetings a month (onsite or virtual)

Executive Team Support

  • vCISO will work close to the executive team to help them understand the landscape of cybersecurity and help digest information and guide towards decision related to cybersecurity

IT Leadership Support

  • vCISO will work with IT Leaders to discuss/review cybersecurity implementation plans

On demand Support

  • vCISO will be available to answer emails and answer phone calls throughout the month

Start your FREE Security Requirement Assessment!

What you will get from this assessment:

  • A  list of security areas where you are well-defended today
  • A set of recommendations on improving cybersecurity vulnerabilities for your company
  • A meeting with one of our security experts to go over the detailed analysis

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