How Are SMBs to Navigate Today’s Cyber Threats?

In today’s world, security threats are coming from all sides. With the Garmin data breach being just one of many cyber attacks in the recent past, it is clear that an attack is a matter of when, not if.

However, small to medium sized business (SMB) leaders already have a lot on their plate. Managing their day-to-day technology as well as leveraging it to promote business growth is a large task on its own, never mind determining how to secure all of the different technological avenues used.

Enterprise companies typically hire a dedicated Chief Security Officer (CSO) on staff who oversees all aspects of risk management, security policies, and IT infrastructure. This individual is usually CISSP certified, follows NIST (or similar) standards, and ultimately has a deeper level of expertise in the cybersecurity field. They are security specialists providing a level of understanding that helps keep your business protected.

You may be thinking that the skills of a CSO sound so specialized that hiring one, like any other CXO, is expensive. And you would be right. Hiring a CSO into your organization costs on average $173,000 per year, and often much more. The majority of SMBs do not require a full-time CSO and cannot justify this in-house cost. And yet their businesses are still at risk, just as much as any Fortune 500 company. Enter…the virtual Chief Security Officer, or vCSO.

vCSOs – The Benefits of a Chief Security Officer Without the Price Tag

A virtual Chief Security Officer is ideal for companies who cannot justify the expense of a full time CSO, but still need to leverage the knowledge of a security expert. The vCSO is a contracted, (mostly) remote role that allows for the cost of this expert to be spread across several organizations. SMBs can get the level of security consulting that they need without an unbearable cost.

So now that you know a CSO is attainable for your business, what does it look like after you’ve hired your vCSO?

Network Assessment

First and foremost, the vCSO will assess every part of your company’s technology, in order to identify vulnerabilities or improvements. If your industry has regulatory compliance requirements such as HIPAA, these requirements will be assessed as well. Following this assessment, the vCSO will work closely with your management team to identify top security priorities, as well as an overall security strategy for your organization. Even if you do not hire a vCSO full time, it is advantageous to leverage them in this manner for security projects that your company may complete.

Continuing to Strengthen Your Security

As the vCSO becomes more familiar with your organization and environment, they can begin to dive deeper and begin their long-term security advising, beyond their initial assessment. Any security gaps identified can begin to be filled in order of priority. This includes putting new system controls into place or improving current ones, creating and testing Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans, and advising management on security best practices as new projects and organizational changes are implemented.

Part of Your Organization’s Long Term Strategy

A vCSO is available to be a part of your organization for a long time. A good one will serve in an advisory capacity to your management team and be available for any changes your organization goes through. They can help consult on and test security incident response plans, Disaster Recovery plans, and Business Continuity plans, which should be reviewed periodically in order to be optimally prepared for the most recent cyber threats or an unforeseen natural disaster. Your vCSO will also make recommendations about new and upcoming security tools and best practices, so that you can stay on top of the security game.

vCSOs can also assist with both internal and external security audits. During internal audits your vCSO will ensure that your organization has ongoing discussions about I.T. security, and makes sure that the less technical individuals on your management team understand what needs to be continued or altered. For external audits, your vCSO will serve as a liaison between the external and internal teams in order to facilitate an easy process.

SMBs Can Conquer the Cybersecurity Landscape with a Virtual Chief Security Officer

Cyberthreats can be an overwhelming concept to tackle, and often keep business leaders awake at night, wondering what would happen if their organization was attacked. While a full-time Chief Security Officer is impractical in both scope and cost for small to medium sized businesses, a virtual Chief Security Officer meets their needs in the middle, supplying affordability without sacrificing knowledgeability. Having a vCSO allows SMBs to have peace of mind that they are optimizing their security posture without breaking the bank.


Download our Security Data Sheet to learn more about the vCSO role as well as other security measures your organization should be taking. 

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