CISO as a Service (CISOaaS) is a flexible and cost-effective solution that provides organizations with access to highly skilled third-party Chief Information Security Officer leadership. CISO as a Service refers to virtual or fractional CISO services that help companies achieve IT security and compliance objectives by providing them with expert cybersecurity guidance, strategic planning, risk management, and support. CISOaaS providers customize their services based on individual client’s needs to ensure they align with their unique profiles and challenges. Working with CISOaaS gives businesses cost-effective, long- or short-term access to cybersecurity expertise without having to fill a costly in-house position.
Collaborating with CISOaaS experts provides organizations with the following benefits:
- Expertise & Experience – CISOaaS experts possess advanced technical knowledge and governance experience, giving organizations access to highly skilled professionals.
- Cost-Efficiency – Organizations only pay for required services and projects
- Flexibility & Scalability – CISOaaS can be scaled up or down, depending on the organization’s cybersecurity needs.
- Compliance Assistance – CISOaaS can help organizations navigate industry-specific compliance obligations.
- Risk Assessment & Management – Third-party CISOs can help businesses identify and manage potential cyber risks and vulnerabilities.
- Temporary & Interim Solutions – During transition periods, organizations can contract a temporary CISO to fill in and ensure cybersecurity initiatives continue to function effectively.
CISO as a Service (CISOaaS) is a solution allowing organizations to outsource the role of a Chief Information Security Officer to a third party that provides cybersecurity guidance, strategic planning, risk management, and support based on the company’s needs. It is a flexible and cost-effective solution for organizations needing cybersecurity expertise and services on a long-term, part-time, or project basis.
Most MSPs/MSSPs today focus on implementation and execution but lack the knowledge or ability to assess, define, and plan a robust information security policy and strategy which in turn directs those implementation efforts. Some MSSPs provide CISOaaS offerings under their umbrella; unfortunately, most of these providers are leveraging automated/generic tools with an inexperienced bench to run their CISOaaS program. All the above considerations aside, we are seeing businesses that adopt CISOaaS consider the need to also ensure neutral and unbiased checks and balances.
Consider this: How confident are you in your current team’s competency and ability to execute? What about the same for your MSP or MSSP? For many businesses, it is now considered a leading practice to separate the traditional CISOaaS or vCISO responsibilities away from current teams and managed providers to ensure completeness of strategy and execution abilities to protect the business.
A Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is an outsourced cybersecurity professional who usually works remotely and on an ongoing basis providing advisory support, guidance, and expertise. They tend to have long-term relationships and are integrated into the organization. Working with a vCISO provides organizations with access to cybersecurity leadership that is tailored to their budget and needs.
A fractional CISO provides cybersecurity and compliance leadership on a part-time or project basis helping with specific projects, problem areas, or filling temporary executive needs. They provide strategic and specialized expertise for specific information security programs or compliance areas, working virtually or on-site when in-person interaction is required. Engaging with fractional CISOs provides organizations with a flexible and cost-effective solution for their cybersecurity needs without a need to fill a full-time in-house role.
CISO as a Service teams help organizations by providing expert guidance and support to
improve and strengthen their security posture. Fractional and virtual CISOs lead the development and implementation of customized cybersecurity practices to ensure companies are protected from existing and future threats. By conducting an initial risk evaluation, they get insight into an organization’s cybersecurity health and design a tailored plan of action.
They also provide security training, help manage vendor risk, and design a response plan in case a cyber threat occurs.
High-quality CISO as a Service providers should have a proven track record of technical and leadership skills. Along with advanced degrees and certifications, they need to have extensive industry-specific experience in cybersecurity risk evaluation and management, compliance, incident response, and regulatory knowledge. They should also possess strong soft skills, such as communication, collaboration, and adaptability to integrate quickly into a company’s corporate culture.
Yes, CISO as a Service is especially suitable for SMEs (small and mid-sized enterprises) in need of flexible and cost-effective cybersecurity expertise. Some smaller organizations do not have the budget or need a full-time in-house CISO. While others have unique cybersecurity or compliance projects that require guidance. Working with CISOaaS gives small and mid-sized businesses access to a wide pool of specialized CISO experts who can provide short or long-term support on a needed basis.
The typical engagement model for CISO as a Service includes the following elements:
- Initial Assessment -The CISOaaS provider conducts an in-depth evaluation to determine an organization’s cybersecurity health.
- Customized Strategy – CISOaaS specialist will develop a tailored cybersecurity solution addressing the organization’s cybersecurity goals and vulnerabilities.
- Implementation – The CISOaaS team will create and execute a cybersecurity strategy along with ongoing risk assessment procedures, employee training, and security awareness programs.
- Monitoring and Support – Conduct ongoing cybersecurity programs monitoring and provide needed support.
- Program Evaluation – Provide program evaluation to determine if changes are needed to address emerging threats or organizational changes.
The CISOaaS cost structure depends on factors such as the scope of service, expertise level, business size and complexity, required customization, scalability, duration of the engagement, and regional market factors. It is recommended that organizations meet with third-party CISO providers to understand their pricing plans, cost breakdown, and the value of their services. Doing so will help you choose a flexible solution that aligns with your company’s cybersecurity needs and budget.
Yes, CISOaaS provides organizations with industry-specific incident response and recovery projects. By collaborating with the internal IT departments, they help design processes and protocols to quickly respond to and manage security breaches. The goal of these programs is for organizations to identify and minimize damage and to quickly restore business operations.
CISOaaS can also assist organizations with investigations when a cyber-attack does occur to identify the root of the breach and design preventative solutions to ensure it will not happen again.