Cybercrime has reached a new level and can certainly now be categorized as an epidemic; maybe not the same kind of epidemic as COVID-19, but sharing many of the same characteristics. Like a plague, cybercrime spreads from victim to victim, gaining traction as it goes. And also like a plague, it requires draconian efforts and plenty of resources to thwart. This can be a particular burden on smaller organizations such as utility co-ops with small IT departments and limited budgets. In this kind of threat environment, such companies need to maximize the effectiveness of every dollar they spend.
So how do you ensure that you are getting the biggest bang possible for cybersecurity buck? Well, the first thing is to have a sound cybersecurity strategy in place, one that fits your organization’s needs specifically. And for that task, you need a person with the skills of a good Chief Information Security Officer, more commonly known as a CISO. The first job of a CISO is to gain an understanding of your business environment, goals, strategies and resources. From there the CISO can work with you to construct or improve your cybersecurity program and strategy. Other tasks that CISOs regularly undertake include threat monitoring and analysis, risk and security assessment planning, risk remediation planning and incident response program oversight just to name a few.
However, CISOs are much in demand and rate high salaries. In addition, for years now, there has simply not been enough qualified CISOs out there to meet the demand. This puts smaller organizations in a real bind. If they spend the money to salary a full time CISO they are using up an inordinate amount of their security budget, thereby negating much of the benefit to be gained by the CISO’s services. Happily, the computer age has gifted us with an answer to this dilemma: the virtual CISO.
Don’t be fooled. Virtual CISOs are not a software packages or AIs. They are actual CISOs that provide services to several organizations instead of just one. They often conduct meetings and conferences with your personnel remotely, which saves the lost work time and expense entailed with traveling for in-person meetings. In addition, reputable virtual CISOs have real-world experience that has been derived by serving many differing organizations. This gives them both perspective over the current information security problem as a whole, and the specific knowledge needed to recommend various technical and operational controls that will fit your organization like a glove.