Who Needs a vCISO (Virtual Chief Information Security Officer)?

Pete Hoff
  • 7 min read

As written in a recent Wursta blog, cybersecurity risks are currently higher than they’ve ever been, and lower than they ever will be. Every dollar spent on a service like vCISO is one less dollar you have to spend on something else, such as an upgraded firewall. Why then would a vCISO make sense? 

It may be tempting to say, “Everybody needs a vCISO! So, buy our services now!” But we’re honest and truly want to help our customers allocate their funds optimally. I’ll outline some scenarios in which a vCISO would be a good fit — plus a few where a different service might be better.

You Lack Senior IT Security Management

Organizations have been plagued by a shortage of cybersecurity workers for years now. Google the phrase, “shortage cybersecurity workers” and the number one result is a June 30, 2022 Fortune article titled, “Companies are desperate for cybersecurity workers.” The article reveals the scope of this desperation. “The number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide grew 350% between 2013 and 2021, from 1 million to 3.5 million, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. The industry researcher also predicts that in five years, the same number of jobs will still be open.”

A virtual CISO is an ideal solution to a lack of senior-level cybersecurity expertise. A vCISO can serve as a leader guiding your cybersecurity strategy and direction, including creation of policies and processes and cybersecurity budget alignment. A vCISO provides the knowledge and resources of a full time CISO without the full-time costs.

You’re Undergoing a Cloud Transformation & Need Corresponding Security Expertise

A cloud transformation often involves adoption of new systems such as SaaS apps and collaboration tools. While these increase productivity for workers, unfortunately they can also represent new, expanding attack surface for hackers. Your security posture will need corresponding changes. Legacy, on-prem solutions don’t work to secure modern cloud infrastructure.

Deloitte and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) conducted the 2022 Cybersecurity Study. 52% of respondents cited legacy infrastructure and outdated solutions as the primary barrier preventing them from addressing cybersecurity challenges.

A vCISO can complement your cloud transformation initiatives to ensure your risk posture aligns with your unique needs as you leverage the benefits of cloud. Wursta vCISO services include developing a strategic plan with tactical steps to mitigate risks, along with a high-level roadmap with a 1–3-year outlook.

Your Cybersecurity Team is Overloaded

I said I wouldn’t declare, “Everybody needs a vCISO!” so it feels insincere to say that organizations with an overloaded team need a vCISO… since basically everyone is overloaded. Many teams are unable to stay on top of vital tasks such as training users to spot phishing.

Unfortunately, the problem is all too common, with many organizations struggling to properly secure their critical assets, particularly SMBs. According to a survey released by cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point, only 22% of SMBs felt they were extremely well protected against cyberattacks, and only a minority have internal security specialists or are working with a third party. 

A vCISO can step in identify such gaps, build a plan to remediate, and oversee deployment of the right solutions. On the other hand, if your team has already established policies, processes, and a budget, but needs support with execution, Wursta can help by providing cloud architects, rather than C-level support.

You Face Regulatory Audits and are Uncertain of Your Posture

While Wursta does not provide certified audits, we have extensive knowledge of regulatory standards and can prepare you for official external audits.

In this case, a better fit might be Wursta’s cybersecurity assessment, which will inform you of any risks, clarify the potential impact, and provide a roadmap to your ideal security posture. We recommend a detailed course of action to mitigate risk and comply with relevant regulations, in addition to prioritizing the severity of issues.

What to Expect from a vCISO Engagement

In last month’s blog, I regaled readers with some terrifying stats, but moved on to the good news that cybersecurity is a wise investment.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy investment. It’s complex to know what steps to take to reduce your risk, how to select new solutions, and how to properly deploy them to maximize benefits – all while operating within the budget limitations every organization faces.

And this is where a vCISO fits in. As the head of your cybersecurity strategy, your vCISO will:

  • Build a picture of your risk landscape
  • Partner with your management team
  • Develop a strategic plan 
  • Roadmap to mitigate risks
  • Train employees & build guardrails

Contact us to see if our services would be a fit.