A chief information security officer (CISO) is a senior-level executive who’s in charge of securing a company’s digital assets. They lead in developing and implementing measures to protect the organization’s IT and communication systems from all manner of internal and external security threats. The CISO’s expertise is therefore vital in helping the company comply with industry regulations.
A virtual CISO (vCISO) is a dedicated third-party cybersecurity specialist who functions just like an internal CISO but works as a consultant instead of full-time. Their services are offered by providers like Charles IT and are a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house CISO. This makes vCISOs a viable alternative for companies that cannot hire an in-house CISO but need to comply with standards and frameworks like the following:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)
- International Organization for Standardization 27001
- General Data Protection Regulation
How does a vCISO aid in ensuring compliance?
A vCISO’s tasks and responsibilities may vary depending on their client’s needs. But in order to help your organization comply with pertinent standards, they can initiate the following steps:
Conduct data audits and vulnerability assessments
In many cases, organizations have to comply with more than one cybersecurity framework. A healthcare provider that accepts credit card payments, for instance, must abide by both HIPAA and PCI DSS standards. A vCISO can point you in the right direction with a data audit, which reveals the types of data your organization handles and, therefore, the standards you need to comply with. As the vCISO works remotely, gathering evidence for audits may be performed via file and screen sharing, video conferencing, online interviews with staff, and other electronic means.
Furthermore, a vCISO can initiate vulnerability assessments that uncover weaknesses in your cybersecurity infrastructure. These assessments will tell you how to effectively strengthen your cybersecurity posture and create the most secure environment for any type of sensitive information. As with the data audit, vulnerability assessments can also be performed remotely.
Develop, review, and update security policies and processes
A vCISO has rich experience in creating and implementing cybersecurity policies for safeguarding data. You will need the vCISO’s expertise to come up with safeguards that work for your organization’s specific needs. If you already have existing policies, the vCISO can review them and determine how they hold up against current standards. They can then update your policies if necessary.
Develop effective response plans
Certain frameworks lay down specific guidelines related to how your organization responds following a cyber incident. HIPAA, for example, includes rules on how soon and who to notify once a data breach has been confirmed. A vCISO can help you create a response plan that not only meets industry standards but also mitigates cyber incidents’ impacts on both your organization and stakeholders.
Recommend appropriate solutions
Frameworks like the PCI DSS require organizations to implement specific cybersecurity solutions, including firewalls and anti-malware software. A vCISO can evaluate your current cybersecurity infrastructure by reviewing its components and initiating tests to determine if these meet industry standards. Thanks to their wealth of experience, they can recommend tools and services that match both your requirements and budget.
Lead cybersecurity awareness training programs
Many companies neglect their employees’ impact on their cybersecurity and compliance. A vCISO can help you assess your workforce’s mastery of cybersecurity principles and best practices and recommend security awareness training programs to address any discrepancy.
Monitor compliance with relevant frameworks
Compliance is not achieved overnight — rather, it is a continuous process that must be continuously evaluated and updated. A vCISO will regularly meet with you and revisit policies and processes to see how these can be improved to ensure compliance.
How can Charles IT help?
Charles IT’s vCISO services connect your company with a cybersecurity specialist who will help your organization comply with regulatory standards. With their many years of experience, our vCISOs understand your goals and what needs to be done to get there, ensuring a smooth journey toward compliance for your organization.
At Charles IT, we also offer services like external vulnerability assessment and dark web monitoring that can further strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity posture. Talk to a Charles IT expert today to learn more about our services.