vCISO vs CISO as a Service: what fits your business best

6 minute read

On-demand CISO services help to quickly build an information security system and reduce company costs.

The cost of data breaches is increasing every year. Hence, organizations pay more attention to security issues than ever before and look for specialists who can ensure reliable protection of company resources. Although the profiles of such specialists are still technical, their relationship to business goals requires strong management skills and a broad vision of the business development strategy. 

A position that joins technical and leading functions is called chief information security officer (CISO). CISO ensures cybersecurity. However, unlike a security engineer, they are not limited to narrow-focused tasks such as fighting viruses or filtering Internet access. Instead, CISO is a C-level manager who understands business goals and knows how to achieve them using security tools.

If you need such an expert but don’t want to open a full-time position, consider outsourcing CISO services to a remote team. Today, you can choose between virtual CISO (vCISO) or CISO as a service (CISOaaS) options. In this post, we will examine their details so that you can select the most suitable option for your business. 

What do CISO services include?

CISO services include a range of activities aimed at installing a comprehensive cybersecurity system for the company. Not only do they touch the software technical side, but they also spread over company culture, focusing on safety and data protection. CISO services are always adapted to the needs of a client and usually cover the following:

Governance. Whether you have well-established security or are just about to implement it, competent leadership will tune this process for a better result. The security management identifies weak points in the current system and suggests the most efficient ways to eliminate them. Thus, you can reach the necessary results in the shortest time. 

Documentation development. A qualified CISO creates well-structured documentation describing the cybersecurity system. They can also maintain and update documentation when the changes are made. 

Risk management. This includes:

  1. Identifying security risks
  2. Determining the most vulnerable spots
  3. Planning the ways to reduce risks
  4. Analyzing the efficiency of measures taken
  5. Keeping the risk list up to date

Network security. This involves the protection of hardware, software, data, and personnel. An experienced CISO creates regulations and policies to be adopted by the network administrator. Among other things, they aim to prevent unauthorized access and improper network usage as well as suggest how to deal with changes in a computer network.

Penetration testing. A CISO can help you conduct a pentest to assess the computer system security. Pentesters simulate the actions of external attackers trying to identify the weakest points for malicious intervention. Afterward, they document the results allowing security engineers to take measures towards strengthening software security.

Why do companies outsource CISO services?

Companies choose to outsource CISO services because they can get C-Level cybersecurity  expertise on-demand. In addition, opting for a remote security officer, organizations receive many other benefits, such as:

Time savings. Partnering with a third-party company provides instant access to CISO services eliminating the need to find, recruit, and retain experienced C-level staff.

Cost reduction. Outsourcing companies are very flexible in their cooperation and price models. So, you can choose what suits you best and save on hiring a full-time employee.

Expert solutions. Cybersecurity services providers have vast experience in various projects. They have probably faced problems similar to yours, so they can quickly devise a relevant and effective solution.

Unbiased insights. Independent experts can take a fresh look at your project and offer a non-trivial solution based on their knowledge and previous expertise.

Reduced business risks. When partnering with an outsourcing team, you pay only for those IT security services that you actually consume. Thus, you allocate resources efficiently and reduce the risk of overpayment.

vCISO: pros and cons

A virtual  CISO is a highly qualified information security specialist who partners with your company on a full-time or part-time basis. vCISO services are suitable for:

1. Small companies that are not ready to hire an in-house specialist

2. Companies that need to build processes due to intense development

3. Companies that need CISO services on a periodic basis

vCISO is a beneficial cooperation model for small businesses. However, like any other solution, it has its pros and cons.

vCISO pros

  • on-demand leadership over the current security system regardless of its maturity level
  • strategic prediction of possible risks and timely measures to eliminate them
  • a chance to use emerging technologies and security innovations
  • an affordable way to gain CISO consulting and support for startup companies
  • high-quality security services for a lower price

vCISO cons

  • usually lead several projects, so they need to carefully allocate time to attend to each company and their issues
  • generally concentrate on high-level tasks and may not go into details on implementation measures
  • may try to apply a one-size-fits-all solution for all the projects they lead

CISO as a Service: pros and cons

CISO as a Service provides a wide range of information security services, including managerial and executive functions. The main difference between vCISO and CISO as a Service is that the former is a single C-Level specialist while the latter is a complete team of security experts. CISOaaS undertakes all the activities related to security implementation and is relevant for:

  1. Companies that need end-to-end security implementation
  2. Companies that need quick access to comprehensive security measures
  3. Companies that need CISOaaS as a one-time project

CISOaaS can completely free you from implementing a security system in your company; however, it has pros and cons that you should be aware of.

CISOaaS pros

  • fast entrance into a full-packed security system with both leadership and implementation services
  • on-demand expertise of high-level security engineers
  • an opportunity to use the most advanced tools in establishing your security mechanism
  • the ability to hire a complete team to implement a one-time task
  • removing costs associated with maintaining an internal staff

CISOaaS cons

  • dependence on an external team on matters of security
  • sharing the security experts with other projects and companies
  • the need to trust sensitive information to a third party organization

Conclusion

Creating a robust information security system is impossible without competent management and a clear action plan. CISO undertakes these ​​responsibilities and sets up cyber resilience regardless of the current state of security arrangements. In addition, CISO leads the security development process, identifies the most vulnerable spots, prevents hacker attacks, and evaluates risks connected with company activity.

Given this, CISO services are relevant for any company regardless of its field of activity. However, hiring a full-time employee may be useless for small firms and startups. For this reason, virtual CISO services are gaining momentum and are becoming widely used by organizations worldwide. 

If you want to hire a vCISO, consider searching for a security specialist in Ukraine. This country is known for skilled developers with affordable rates, and its software products are recognized worldwide. Book a consultation with our manager to discover CISO as a service pricing and decide if this option is suitable for you.

November 23, 2021