In a previous post, we discussed why organizations are outsourcing all or a portion of security functions to a managed security services provider (MSSP), primarily due to an increasingly dangerous threat climate and the challenges of finding and retaining qualified security talent. An MSSP will typically handle day-to-day tasks such as security event monitoring and vulnerability management, but can also provide on-demand consultative services. Virtual chief information security officer (CISO) services are sometimes included in these offerings.
A CISO is a senior-level security executive whose role is to align an organization’s IT security strategy and processes with its business goals and operations. This will ensure that corporate information, applications and technology are protected and IT investments are optimized. Just as security is no longer limited to the network perimeter, the role of the CISO has outgrown the data center and now includes risk reduction and board-level responsibilities. The CISO must be able to go before the board, justify security investments, and validate the effectiveness of the security strategy.
As for the nuts and bolts of IT security, the CISO must still lead the security team and oversee all security-related initiatives. The most important role of the CISO is to evaluate risk, identify ways to minimize risk and provide a strategy to cost-effectively address risk. The development of corporate security strategy, policies and processes, and their integration with security technology, are also the responsibility of the CISO. Existing systems need to be audited and upgraded if necessary, so the CISO must prepare financial forecasts to cover maintenance, operations and the cost of new technology. The CISO must monitor new security tools and threats and ensure that there are procedures for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, responding to security incidents, and managing investigations. The CISO should also lead IT training and user awareness initiatives.
Ultimately, a primary goal of the CISO is to create a culture of security and compliance across the organization. Security should be approached as an ongoing, collaborative effort to control and reduce risk rather than labeling users, technology or practices as secure or not secure. This requires some internal marketing about the business value of IT security and best practices, and the fact that security is a shared responsibility of all employees.
A virtual CISO is a senior security executive who works directly with your organization to develop, implement and oversee your IT security strategy, providing on-demand expertise and leadership. Provided by an MSSP, your virtual CISO gives you access to top security talent at a fraction of the cost of hiring a qualified, full-time employee. Your virtual CISO will fill the knowledge gap when creating security policies, standards and best practices that protect corporate assets and meet compliance requirements. When a security incident does inevitably occur, your virtual CISO will be able to draw from a depth of experience in a wide range of scenarios to minimize damage and facilitate recovery.
SageNet offers the services of a virtual CISO as part of our managed security services solution. Let us show you how a virtual CISO can help you cost-effectively develop and manage a security strategy that reduces the risk of a breach.