Benefits of a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO)

The use of a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is becoming more popular. Organizations realize that information security is not only critical to protecting their company, it can also help drive profitability when applied correctly.

Virtual Executives and Their Role

The use of virtual executives is common in other fields such as finance and law. A virtual Chief Financial Officer (vCFO) or outsourced general counsel may be used on an interim basis, when a full time position isn’t warranted, or during a search for a full time replacement. A vCISO can provide an organization with the strategy needed to identify risks. They are also great for finding solutions that align with business objectives instead of relying on fear, uncertainty and doubt to drive information security initiatives.

The Battle Between Strategic and Hands-On

As with any other aspect of business, you typically have two camps. The “big picture camp” and the “detail oriented” camp, or the “strategy” versus the “hands-on”. Rarely do you find an individual who likes to, and is efficient at working in both camps on a daily basis. Their thought process is different. The way they work is different. Their approach to security and privacy is different. That is just the way people are made.

Many organizations try to find a single body to fit the role of both the executive and the staffer. While this may work for some organizations or individuals, there is always a trade-off. One side of the equation is always unbalanced. You either don’t get enough of the “hands-on” or enough of the “strategy”. That’s the nature of a split role. However, a virtual CISO can provide the executive level strategy needed to keep business objectives in focus, while considering information security projects and tactical moves.

Getting Both Strategy and Hands-on With a vCISO

Sometimes organizations are just beginning to build out their information security program and need help in many areas. HBS can offer a blended vCISO security programwhere your company has access to both the executive and staff level roles in the exact balance you need. Our vCISO programs can provide a CISO, penetration tester, security engineer, policy writer, code reviewer or any other combination of security professionals to meet your needs in a cost effective manner. Our clients get a level of flexibility and expertise that would not be possible any other way.

For help with talking to your executive team about a vCISO Security Program, download "An IT Director's Guide to Communicating Security Needs with Executives."

Do you think your business could benefit from a vCISO? Learn more about Virtual CISO Service.

author avatar
Nate Freidhoff