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The Virtual CISO: How to Fill the Empty Chair in Your Security Department

Ray Kruck
2019-01-226 min read
InfoSec Best Practices
The statistics are sobering. A recent report by Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2021 there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs. Combine this with the prediction that cyber crime is expected to cost the global economy $6 Trillion dollars by 2021 and you have the perfect storm brewing where supply cannot meet the pending demand for security expertise. For small to medium sized businesses (under 2000 employees) dealing with cybersecurity and cyber crime risks is particularly difficult. A recent Better Business Bureau survey of members found that over 55% felt that lack of resources or knowledge were their primary challenges in developing a cybersecurity plan.

The most acute security issues for SMB’s like emerging tech companies and service providers in 2019 are:

Coping with a dynamic threat landscape
Developing a roadmap for security and prioritizing spend on technology and training
Developing a baseline program
Understanding security standards and certifications
Strategic approach vs technology-led approach
Given the rapid pace of the evolving threat landscape and the scarcity of IT security talent, it would be understandable that taking a largely technology-led approach to security would make sense. However, to get your organization secure and well positioned to cope with new security and privacy realities including regulations like GDPR and CCPA, a right-sized strategic approach is your best bet.

The Right-Sized Approach

Rather than only focus on point technology solutions like anti-virus, anti-phishing email security or firewalls, think about scaling your security program to address your most acute risks first and build controls for those risks before moving on to addressing other concerns. 

The first step is to inventory and assess your data assets. Data assets can be servers, cloud systems, applications, laptops physical repositories that contain customer data or company data – in any form.

The next step in developing your right-sized strategy for your organization would be to map your data assets to a risk level (we suggest a simple high, medium, low ranking to start) so you can deploy the right sized security controls to manage those risks. There are many frameworks available from organizations like SANS or NIST, but here is a sample framework for small businesses from Tugboat Logic.
To put your right-sized approach in place, you’ll need some expert guidance and tools to get you ready for a stronger security and privacy posture. A Virtual CISO Platform is a great place to start.

Start with a Platform to Build Your Security and Privacy Program

The best security program for your organization is one that is both documented in policy and procedure and is entrenched with awareness in your whole organization. The reality however is that your InfoSec program needs to run from the corner of someone’s desk and you don’t have the resources to do everything manually. Security, privacy and compliance can be implemented by your organization in a single Virtual CISO platform where expert guidance is married to intuitive workflow that enables your team to quickly get secure and free up your team to focus on other business priorities. Manually managed InfoSec programs often fail due to lack of scale or missed opportunities to achieve certification readiness that help the organization to prove compliance to your customer.

Virtual CISO’s: The New Reality

For decades, companies like Salesforce.com and Atlassian (JIRA) demonstrated that "cloudifying" productivity functions allowed organizations to scale faster and more efficiently. The Virtual CISO cloud-based platform is based on this same premise. SaaS-services such as Tugboat Logic are bottling the wisdom of a CISO into approachable, automated workflows so every company can have the power of a full-fledged CISO on their team. Given the worsening cyber threat landscape, you need every edge you can find, and adding a Virtual CISO platform to your strategy will give you the scale you need to help meet this challenge.

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