How to Get the Most Out of a CISO as a Service

You’ve been weighing the advantages of hiring a CISO as a Service or vCISO over hiring an internal team and finally decided that a professional vendor was the right option.

Your next step is to pick your security partners, but finding a company that’ll sell you CISO as a Service is easy. What’s not a given is the quality of the work they all deliver. 

Review this expert advice on how to get the most out of a CISO as a Service, to ensure you are hiring the right team to manage your cybersecurity program.

1. Hire an Actual Team

When screening a vCISO, be sure to inquire about the size of their team. Some vendors are actually independent freelancers, who often don’t have the capacity or resources most companies need to uphold a strong security initiative. 

These single vCISO may be individuals working part-time from a home office. Even full-time vCISO persons are often juggling multiple clients, and rarely have the time to dedicate proper attention to your business. Plus, you can’t expect a single person to know it all; you know what they say, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

When hiring a vCISO backed with a full team of security professionals, you know you are getting a diverse, robust selection of top talent, such as specialists to perform niche operations. 

2. Ask if the vCISO Follows a Well-Defined Methodology

Some CISO as a Service come with big ideas for how they can improve your information security but are these ideas tested and proven successful? A proper vendor won’t be testing the security landscape on your company, they will come onboard with tried and true strategies for protecting your business.

“A CISO as a Service will follow best practices and use tested tactics for keeping your assets safe,” we explain in our other blog, What to Expect When Using a CISO as a Service, “They won’t be making decisions without ensuring it’s in line with their trusted methodological roadmap.” 

Ensure that your vCISO follows a widely-accepted, clear security methodology both for running day-to-day info security operations and for driving a roadmap for maturity growth.

3. Ensure the vCISO Can Follow your Systems & Processes 

While a proper vCISO should follow a robust methodology for running your info security program, be on the lookout for a rigid vendor. You want a vCISO who will take ownership of maintaining your policies, procedures and standards, but not one looking to change your current landscape completely. 

Some vendors mean well, but letting them instill their own systems and processes can cause company-wide confusion and disrupt your current operations. Look for a vCISO who can help to adjust your systems and processes for better efficiency, not one who wants to reinvent the wheel.

4. Agree Upon a Roadmap, Early

Just because the vCISO follows a methodology, it doesn’t mean they are good at time management or actual execution. The vendor should outline clear objectives and have approved tactics/methods for achieving each. 

Check that your vCISO has defined your estimated benchmarks for how and when you’ll reach your goals. This also involves having open discussions about budget, so you are in agreement with where your investments are going. 

5. Schedule Routine Status Reviews

Hold your vCISO accountable for following your agreed upon roadmap by arranging routine status check-ins. Whether you connect with the vendor for 15 minutes once a week or sit down for a longer monthly connection, these consistent meetings are extremely important for keeping up with the vCISO progress on improving your security.

During these status reviews, you can address performance metrics and track how well inlined you are to achieve your long-term goals. They’re also essential for planning new initiatives. For this, it may be wise to set up longer quarterly strategy sessions to define new benchmarks and improvements.

6. Align Your Info Security & Cybersecurity Programs

Look for a CISO as a Service who distinguishes a difference between information security and cybersecurity. For example, if they’re only following CIS Controls® cybersecurity best practices yet not putting an emphasis on your information sector, it could be a red flag that they’re only focused on elements of your security instead of your security as a whole. Be sure to ask your vendor how they’ll support your compliance needs as well as your risks.

A Team You Can Rely On

Hiring a vCISO can be extremely beneficial for your business, but only if you choose the right vendor. 

Trust a team like ours. With many senior-level, experienced staff all boasting blended skills, we can collaborate to increase your security. Contact us today. 

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