To overcome increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, today's businesses need robust cyber defenses. This is why enterprises usually have a chief information security officer (CISO) who's in charge of safeguarding the organization's digital assets. The CISO's tasks include:
- Providing cybersecurity advice
- Holding regular security meetings with the company's stakeholders
- Developing and implementing measures to secure the company's IT systems
- Acting as a liaison for audits and investigations by government agencies, insurance companies, and other third parties
- Conducting risk assessments
Unfortunately, given the cybersecurity skills gap in Connecticut and the rest of the United States, it can be challenging to find a capable CISO. And if you do find one, you'll have to pay them annual salaries ranging from $216,939 to $286,927 — way beyond what many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like yours can typically afford.
Alternatively, you can leverage virtual CISO (vCISO) services. A vCISO is a cybersecurity specialist who performs the tasks of an in-house CISO but does so on a need-to basis. This means their services cost a mere fraction of what you'll spend if you hire a full-time CISO.
In this blog post, we will zero in on one of a vCISO’s tasks: conducting risks assessments.
What is a risk assessment?
A risk assessment identifies and evaluates security vulnerabilities and threats to a company's digital assets. It enables a vCISO to develop mitigation strategies in order to prevent security incidents and compliance issues.
What are the types of risk assessments that a vCISO conducts?
Charles IT’s vCISO support, in particular, includes two types of risk assessments:
Internal risk assessment
An internal risk assessment examines your organization’s current security posture and identifies areas for improvement. It starts by identifying the following:
- Your company’s IT assets and the extent of damage resulting from the loss, corruption, or exposure of such assets
- Business processes that rely on those assets
- Threat events that could compromise those assets and the likelihood of those events
By the end of the assessment, the vCISO can pinpoint which risks to mitigate first, enabling them to determine where to focus your company’s limited resources. They can also assess how the risk mitigation plan fits into your existing cybersecurity program.
Third party/vendor risk assessment
After the cyberattacks on software maker SolarWinds in 2020 and IT solutions developer Kaseya in 2021, security researchers predict even more supply chain attacks in 2022.
A supply chain attack occurs when an attacker infiltrates a company by compromising one of its vendors or suppliers. Charles IT's vCISO can reduce the risk of such an attack through third party/vendor risk assessments. In this assessment, the vCISO evaluates a potential supplier’s security risks before agreeing to do business with them.
This assessment starts with the vCISO sending a questionnaire to the vendor about their security practices. The vCISO then reviews the vendor’s answers and compares them against industry best practices. If the vendor passes, the vCISO proceeds with conducting on-site visits and interviews with the vendor’s staff. By the end of this assessment, the vCISO can give you a recommendation about doing business with that particular vendor.
Why should you work with Charles IT’s vCISO?
When you leverage our vCISO offering, you will be assigned a dedicated vCISO. This means you will have a security specialist on your team who thoroughly understands your business and technology goals. The vCISO can guide you in making critical business decisions and act on your team’s behalf in all matters that concern your company’s cybersecurity.
Our vCISO support includes:
- Annual internal risk assessment
- Annual third party/vendor risk assessment
- Annual gap assessment or annual required audit assistance
- Policy creation, review, and updates
- Monthly security meetings
- Security change management
- POAM & SSP updates
- Liaising for investigations and audits by third parties
When you work with Charles IT’s vCISO, your company can expect the following:
- Knowledge of your IT security risks and those of your vendors
- Development and implementation of mitigation strategies and IT policies
- Alignment of business and technology goals
- Competitive service level agreements to ensure quick IT support
- Guaranteed compliance with the security frameworks your company is subject to
Ready to work with Charles IT? Talk to one of our experts today!