Is a Virtual CISO Right for Your Business?

Why Every Small and Mid-Sized Business Should Consider a Virtual CISO

Are you like many other small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners or executives who have seen yet another large company headlining the news with a cyber breach?  Have you wondered whether your business is secure and what impact a cyber-attack would have? It may surprise you to learn that small and medium-sized businesses are targeted daily, and just as often as large ones.

In fact, attackers have learned to target SMBs to gain access to larger companies.  Remember how Home Depot’s breach was through their AC vendor? Do you recall the law firm’s breach that exposed confidential documents on President Donald Trump, Lady Gaga and other celebrities?

Cyber Breaches Can Cause Significant Business Interruption

According to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 28% of SMBs were victims of a cyber breach in 2019.  Worse, 46% of SMBs that suffered a cyber-attack were down for 5-16 hours and 13% were down for 17-48 hours, according to the Cisco Cybersecurity Report Series 2020. If your business was shut down for multiple days at worse, or even a few hours at best, due to a cyber-attack, what would be the financial and reputational impact? In cybersecurity, we want to plan for when not if, your company is attacked.

Information may be the most critical asset that can enable or cripple a business. In large organizations, a chief information security officer (CISO) is responsible for protecting information while enabling business services. Unfortunately, most small and medium-sized businesses do not have a CISO, primarily due to insufficient financial resources and not needing a full-time executive.

Don’t Leave Cybersecurity Solely to Your IT Department

Who ends up being responsible for Cybersecurity in absence of a CISO?  Usually, the role is relegated to the IT department, but often IT directors or managers don’t have the appropriate combination of technical, strategic and executive expertise to understand cyber risks and the impact on the business. They are typically focused on maintaining current IT operations and don’t have the time to think about the strategy and planning needed to execute business-oriented decisions.

Today, business leaders are asking questions about cybersecurity because it represents an existential business risk that can no longer be viewed as an IT issue. By partnering with a virtual CISO (vCISO) SMBs can supplement the expertise of their leadership teams at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CISO whose average salary can be 225k+.

How vCISOS Help Your Business

On day one, a vCISO will start by asking questions to learn what makes your business operate effectively. The next step will be to collaborate with your leadership team to identify business challenges including where and how cybersecurity risks can impact the business.

A high-level look at what vCISOs accomplish on an ongoing basis:
  • Understands your business
  • Knows your business challenges
  • Identifies cybersecurity risks
  • Develops governance strategy and goal roadmap
  • Tailors security awareness training for your staff
  • Develops policies, objectives, procedures, guidelines specific to your company

Avoid High Turnover Rates and Supplement Your C-Suite

Unlike today’s CISOs who are with companies for an average of 18-24 months, vCISOs are usually available to your business as a long-term strategic partner. Hiring a vCISO means you avoid turnover costs associated with the high turnover rates with CISO roles.  They can supplement your board and senior management by attending monthly or quarterly leadership meetings, performing risk assessments, evaluating your cybersecurity program and guiding your IT and security teams to effectively protect and support the business.

A vCISO will help you develop a cybersecurity strategic roadmap to mature your business’s cybersecurity posture while thinking like a CIO to ensure the strategy also enables and supports the needs of the business.

If you would like to learn more about vCISO services within our dedicated Cybersecurity Practice, please contact Al Tanju at atanju@windhambrannon.com for a complimentary consultation.

 

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