Dedicated security expertise, optimization, governance and innovation on-demand? Almost. For a subset of businesses, the CISO-as-a-Service model makes security implementation more approachable, practicable and manageable. Discover why your business might need a cloud-ready infomediary who can deliver across dynamic and diverse security engagements.

What is CISO-as-a-Service?

CISO-as-a-Service, paid for as a subscription on a per-use basis, outsources IT security leadership to a third-party provider. While not the best choice for every business, small-to-medium sized businesses may find that a CISO-as-a-Service option offers a competitive, cost-effective means of ensuring optimal cyber security.

Why CISO-as-a-Service

1. Cost optimization. CISO services are in high demand. CISOs are also demanding higher salaries than ever before on account of high-pressure responsibilities and new responsibilities at higher levels of the organization. This makes finding an affordable security leader about as easy to find as a llama in Hawaii– not so likely.

To be specific, the average CISO salary runs between $160K and $280K in the US, and that’s before adding in benefits. For some organizations, the value of a CISO actually declines over time as security programs mature and become maintenance focused; leading to excessive costs.

With the CISO-as-a-Service model, businesses can pay for what is needed, and can scale up or scale down security in accordance with security objectives. The CISO-as-a-Service model can provide formidable security leadership at a fraction of the direct-hire cost.

2. Security maturation. Small-to-medium sized businesses sometimes pursue security in fits and starts. But the reality of today’s tumultuous threat landscape is that security needs to be managed continuously. The CISO-as-a-Service model allows SMBs to start new initiatives, mature program development and retain management without taking away from other roles, funds, or initiatives.

3. Operational alignment. Security as a business enabler is one of the latest talk tracks and means of soliciting business. But what is your small-to-medium sized business actually doing to make security a business enabler? How is security actually adding outsized value to your business? A CISO-as-a-Service brings operational and security alignment to an organization and its security program.

4. Compliance objectives. Your small-to-medium sized business may need to adhere to specific industry compliance mandates; HIPAA, SOX, PCI DSS or other regulations. Failure to comply with mandates can result in data breaches and fines.

Further, if compliance standards exist but largely remain optional, clients may request such compliance measure to increase their confidence in a business. Retaining clients may hinge on meeting compliance standards. Enlisting a CISO via the CISO-as-a-Service model can help businesses successfully meet compliance objectives.

5. Previous compromises. If a business’s security is generally acceptable but the business has recently suffered a breach, hiring a pro through the CISO-as-a-Service model can provide a business and its clients with increased peace-of-mind. Sometimes, peace-of-mind is worth paying for.

6. Too much time on security. Does the sales team spend too much time discussing information security? Continual worry about data security and concern over what to say to clients can harm the productivity of a sales team. Enable the sales team to spend more time focusing on what they do best by hiring a CISO via the CISO-as-a-Service model.

7. Supporting a CISO. Although a business might have the revenue to fund a CISO position, not all businesses can successfully support an internal security position in the long-term. For some businesses, security needs to be set up once, but can then be managed by someone in an existing role. In other words, not all businesses can offer a CISO an exciting or enticing career path. Such businesses should not hire and fire, but rather pursue the more efficacious CISO-as-a-Service model.

CISO-as-a-Service nomenclature

In some cases, the CISO-as-a-Service approach may also be referred to as employing a fractional CISO.

Fortifying your small-to-medium sized business

All businesses should connect with security experts and services that can add value and provide effective security. As a small-to-medium sized business, consider pursuing security objectives via the CISO-as-a-Service model approach. Manage your risk in order to sustain and grow your business. The time is now.

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