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Advantages of a Virtual CISO

Ready access to experienced professionals and expert cybersecurity advice are just two advantages of a Virtual CISO

The exceptional value of a virtual Chief Information Security Officer is more compelling than ever as phishing schemes, ransomware scams, and hacking continue to assail our digital defenses. It is more attractive than ever as businesses struggle for security funding in an inflationary economy and IT teams continue to operate on a shoestring budget. No business is immune from these challenges—but there is a solution that is both convenient and affordable.

What Does a Virtual CISO Do? Advantages of a virtual CISO include ready access and affordability

A Virtual CISO or VCISO is a third-party resource that provides cybersecurity services to organizations who either do not require or haven’t the budget for a full-time, permanent Chief Information Security Officer, and to organizations seeking additional access to cybersecurity advisory services. 

A VCISO can manage all or part of an organization’s cybersecurity program. The VCISO may direct certain aspects of the program, provide guidance on demand, or step in during times of crisis.

The purpose of the Virtual CISO is to help an organization’s management protect sensitive data from hacking, phishing schemes, ransomware, and other criminal exploits as well as from insider security threats and internal and external vulnerabilities. This objective can be approached with a variety of services, including:

  • Security strategic planning
  • Incident response planning
  • Security awareness programs for management and employees
  • Review and updating of security policies and procedures
  • Development of a security governance program
  • Security risk assessments, risk status evaluation and reporting, and corrective action or remediation plans

The Value and Advantages of a Virtual CISO

Advantages of a virtual CISO include ROI, immediate impact, productivity, and impartialityA virtual CISO is sometimes called CISO as a Service, or even Cybersecurity Advisory Services.  Any organization can obtain access to a Virtual CISO and cybersecurity advisory services and enjoy the multitude of advantages that this access delivers. For example, a large enterprise can use a VCISO to augment permanent full-time management who may be stretched too thin. An enterprise who is filling an open CISO position can take advantage of a Virtual CISO to make sure nothing serious falls through the cracks in the interim.

Businesses of moderate to smaller scale can supplement their in-house information technology or cybersecurity teams with the services of a VCISO. Small businesses can reap enormous advantages with just two or three visits from a VCISO, learning more about cybersecurity strategies that are most appropriate for them. The very nature of a Virtual CISO offers a great deal of flexibility to any organization, since this is not a cookie-cutter engagement, but an arrangement customized to suit each individual business.

In these and other scenarios, five important benefits are virtually guaranteed.

  • Lower Costs. The cost of recruiting, hiring, and employing a Chief Information Security Officer on a full-time, permanent basis can be high—especially when a signing bonus, stock options, performance incentives, and other executive perks are added to the annual C-level salary. Retaining a Virtual CISO on a part-time basis enables you to tap the advantages of an experienced, certified CISO for a fraction of the cost of hiring a permanent, full-time executive.
  • Fresh Perspectives. Retaining the services of a VCISO brings the value of a fresh perspective to your cybersecurity program, based on different experiences, skills, and expertise. Whether your VCISO visits once a week, monthly, or on some other schedule, they will be able to make observations about important issues that could go unnoticed by a full-time counterpart distracted by daily fire drills.
  • Productivity and Focus. A Virtual CISO operates at an organization’s executive level, with proven credentials and management experience. However, the VCISO can deliver greater productivity than permanent staff, and is able to focus directly on the mission, independent of the distractions that affect most organizational management.
  • Access to a Team. When you retain a VCISO from a full-service cybersecurity firm, you automatically enjoy the expertise and experience of their entire cybersecurity and compliance team. Each team member holds various professional certifications with different areas of specialization, bringing additional depth and breadth to your security program.
  • Choice of Pricing Models. Several pricing models are available for Virtual CISO services. The popular fixed-fee, deliverable-based model guarantees that the contracted work will be completed for a fixed cost. This in turn enables predictable budgeting and scheduling. Alternatively, the service may be provided on a subscription basis, where you engage VCISO services for a specific timeframe, normally a year. Or, services may be provided on a project basis, such as implementing a NIST cybersecurity framework or conducting a security risk assessment.

Another compelling advantage of a Virtual CISO is immediate availability. A full-service cybersecurity firm should be able to begin your program in short order. For example, 24By7Security can usually get started in as little as two weeks if the need is urgent, such as an impending security audit or compliance review.


Engaging a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer can mean the difference between operating a solid cybersecurity program and allowing threats and vulnerabilities to jeopardize your business. Any organization of any size can now access the advantages of a Virtual CISO, which include cost-effectiveness, fresh security perspectives, focus and productivity, access to the assets of a larger cybersecurity and compliance team, and a choice of pricing models.

A VCISO can perform the functions of a permanent CISO for a fraction of the cost, with several pricing models available to meet most needs. The model best suited to your business will depend on the urgency and nature of your requirement, your budget, and scheduling factors. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the most appropriate solution for your business.

 Ask About VCISO for Your Business


Sanjay Deo
Sanjay Deo

Sanjay Deo is the President and Founder of 24by7Security Inc. Sanjay holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University, and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). Sanjay is also a co-chair on the CISO council and Technology Sector Chief at FBI InfraGard South Florida Chapter. In 2022 Sanjay was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of the United States. Subscribe to the 24by7Security blog to learn more from Sanjay.

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