Virtual CISO – Top 10 Reasons Why You Need One

Cyberattacks are on the rise. According to INTERPOL, there has been a significant increase in the number of cyberattack reports in the last year – particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Within a period of four months, several Covid-related spam, malware, and malicious URLs were also identified by INTERPOL. The trend continues as many people still rely on remote working protocols to get the job done while also staying safe. 

Companies, whether big or small, rely on the implementation of appropriate security protocols to protect against cyberattacks while also assuring the confidentiality of any data stored on servers. Unfortunately, many companies do not have the funds to employ a full-time CISO, which is where a vCISO, or a virtual chief information security officer, could be a useful choice. 

What Is A Virtual CISO?

How to become CISO, a position that is also known as the chief information security officer, is an executive role that plays a critical part in ensuring the security of both data and information stored within an organization. In the modern-day, the term CISO is more loosely defined compared to a few years back. In some cases, the position of CISO is referred to interchangeably as the VP of security or as the CSO. 

In one study, it was found that around 80% of bigger enterprises and organizations have a security executive at a top-level position. This number goes down to around 61% when looking at other companies. 

The same study found that in cases where no CISO was present in the company or organization, there was a less adequate level of security measures implemented internally. Furthermore, there was also a common lack of security training among companies where no CISO were employed. 

While the CISO plays a critical part in the company’s security measures, a full-time executive employee can also be costly. Thus, several companies are unable to afford this expense – thus yielding certain security risks. 

A virtual CISO is an excellent alternative option that many companies are now starting to consider. This individual would play a similar role as a full-time executive in the security department but often does not require a full-time position. The vCISO may have multiple clients and do not want to be bound to a specific company – but on the plus side, this also means a reduction in costs. The virtual chief information security officer would still play a crucial role in the development of security strategies for the organization. 

How Companies Benefit From A Virtual CISO

Due to the remote working benefit and the lower costs associated with a virtual CISO, it becomes clear that this option could be a great way to improve security in your business. We take a look at some of the main reasons why companies should consider a virtual CISO in this section. 

1. No Need For Full Time Employee

One of the biggest advantages is the fact that there is no need to bring in a new full-time employee. In some reports, it is stated that the average CISO demands a salary that can sometimes exceed $200,000 annually. By reducing the need for full-time employment, you get to save a significant amount of money – as you will usually be paying the virtual CISO based on the amount of work they do for your company. 

2. Competence In Remote Working Operations

For many people, remote working is still very new and can even feel like a challenge. This can significantly affect overall performance and productivity. A virtual CISO is already highly experienced in providing its services to clients through a remote working environment. Thus, this is another step already taken care of. 

3. Can Evaluate Third Party Access

Third-party access is sometimes a crucial factor in ensuring data can be submitted to external companies or platforms but may also pose a security risk. A virtual CISO can take a full view of your current third-party access policies and make appropriate recommendations to tighten security. 

4. Enhanced Overall Experience

When you have a full-time CISO, they are only gaining experience in your sector and within the internal sections of the business. By turning to a virtual CISO, you can take advantage of the experience these professionals have accumulated in multiple fields and sectors. 

5. Easy Adherence

A virtual CISO is an expert at adjusting its strategies to comply with the needs of your business. They also understand that businesses have their own needs when it comes to the implementation of security systems. Thus, they tend to be easy to adhere to specific regulations you have in mind. 

6. Effective Protection Against Cyber Threats

These individuals are often experts when it comes to cybersecurity – and this will give your business a significant advantage. The virtual CISO can set up an effective cybersecurity system to protect against cyberattacks and other threats. 

7. Willing To Work With Small Businesses

Many CISOs seeking full-time employment will only consider working with bigger enterprises, as the salary expectation tends to be high. With a virtual CISO, however, you get a chance to greatly enhance security protocols without facing such problems. A virtual CISO will often be willing to work with some of the smaller and medium-sized companies. 

8. Limits Access To Sensitive Information

Your business deals with a large amount of sensitive information. When this data is leaked, it could become a serious threat to the future of your company. When working with a virtual CISO, you can devise a strategy that helps to create enhanced security for the information that is most sensitive to your business operations. In turn, this creates an additional barrier to keep out prying eyes. 

9. Wide Range Of Professionals To Choose From

Another major benefit is the fact that there is a significant number of CISOs who have decided to start offering their services as remote workers. Thus, finding a virtual CISO today has become a much easier task – giving you a larger pool of professionals to choose from. This allows you to set up interviews, compare quotes, and look at the experience yielded by each. 

10. The Opportunity To Create Long-Term Relationship

Another important reason your company needs a virtual CISO is the opportunity to build up a long-term relationship. Unlike a full-time employee, virtual CISOs often work on multiple projects – and often in the short term. Once you do find a virtual CISO that suits your needs and can work within your budget, you can start working on building a relationship with them. As the professional starts to learn more about your business, the services they provide you also become more efficient – and you, on the other hand, gain an individual that you can rely on. This also ensures you have someone to turn to should you be faced with an emergency, such as a cyberattack affecting your internal servers. 


A chief information security officer provides an effective opportunity to secure the internal operations of your business while also protecting against cyberattacks, malware, and related threats. Solutions exist for businesses that cannot afford a full-time CISO. A virtual CISO, or vCISO, offers a good alternative that can be more cost-efficient.