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How to Avoid Pitfalls When Hiring a CISO as a Service

You’ve realized that hiring a CISO as a Service is probably your best bet for managing a better cybersecurity program. Maybe you experienced a breach or had a rude awakening from your board of directors that you don’t have a good grasp of how you’re handling your risk.

Regardless of why, you’re faced with an important task: picking a vendor to manage your cybersecurity. There are a lot of obstacles when hiring a vCISO, and not being aware of them can cost you valuable time and money.

Here are a few ways to avoid pitfalls when hiring a vCISO to help you choose the right cybersecurity partner:

1. Avoid the one person CISO.

When screening a vCISO, it’s imperative to ask if they have a full team they work with or if they’re a single-person operation. As we point out in our other post, “Some vendors are actually independent freelancers, who often don’t have the capacity or resources most companies need to uphold a strong security initiative.”

Even the best CISO can’t do it all alone. They’re wearing too many hats, and often juggle multiple clients, making it impossible for them to give your company the specialized attention it deserves. Full teams have oftentimes have a diverse breadth of skills and experience, including specialists to deliver better results.

2. Avoid hiring a Security Operation Center (SOC) CISO.

A Security Operation Center (SOC) CISO’s job is to prevent and respond to data breaches and security threats. These teams usually manage firewalls and perform vulnerability scans, but they are not the same as a vCISO.

A proper vCISO does all these things and more, managing your risk and IT needs as a whole— beyond breach protection and security. A vCISO will help to develop your security strategy and keep up with network maintenance. They’ll follow a well-defined methodology and align both your information security and cybersecurity programs, acting as an overall IT partner versus a standalone security center.  

3. Avoid hiring a CISO with no experience of your compliance requirements.

PCI DSS, SOC2, ISO 27001, NIST, HIPAA— the list goes on. All these compliance protocols can get confusing, but a competent vCISO should have awareness and experience around the intricacies of these rules and penalties. 

There’s no underplaying the importance of this, as you need a guiding authority on legal and other types of risk to avoid costly penalties and court cases. 

4. Seek a vCISO team that’s worked with auditors before.

Look for a CISO team that’s worked with auditors. These internal reviewers share the same goal: to mitigate your risk

You want to ensure you’re choosing a vCISO that can work hand-in-hand with auditors towards a mutual desired outcome, instead of drawing a clear division. Afterall, your vCISO is an auditor in their own way: an external auditor who can partner with your internal auditor for better results.

5. Make sure the CISO represents you well with your customers.

These experts will be frequently representing you on calls with customers and prospective vendors. A CISO who doesn’t like interacting with people and would rather stay behind a screen is not a good fit for many companies.

Your security representatives need to gain the trust of those they interact with, and accurately represent your brand. When screening a vCISO for hire, be sure to assess the team’s personability as a whole, in addition to their competency in specializations.

6. Avoid locking into an inflexible, long-term contract.

Some vCISO teams demand that you sign a 1-year or multi-year contract, with a consistent scale for their service. However, many businesses have fluctuations in seasonality— and don’t always need the same workload or strategy for every month of the year.

Ensure you ask your prospective CISO if they are willing to adjust their strategy or increase/decrease their involvement according to your business necessities. The right vendor should be willing to scale up/scale down, without locking you into an inflexible commitment. 

The vCISOs You’ve Been Looking For

Hiring a CISO is hard— but bringing on a CISO as a Service is just as hard. It’s critical to hire the right talent to have success in your business.

Here at Truvantis®, we customize our support based on the individual needs of each client, and boast a full team of senior-level staff to provide superior expertise.

Give us a call at (855) 345-6298 or contact us through our form to see how we could help manage your cybersecurity and beyond.

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