Growing organizations often find themselves in a “no man’s land” when it comes to information security. Long gone are the days when companies could assume they were too small to be a target of attacks. Now, hackers circle like sharks around whichever organizations leave themselves the most vulnerable, no matter the size.

But what if a company is just starting out - or is not quite large enough to afford their own Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and specialized security team to protect them from constantly growing threats? Is it wise to leave security in the hands of IT personnel alone?

The answer, for many, is to engage a virtual CISO (vCISO). A virtual CISO, or outsourced CISO, is a third party – typically a collection of highly trained and experienced information security experts – that serves the same function as an in-house CISO. A virtual CISO can be used when and as often as needed and doesn’t require the overhead support of a full-time employee or team. Not only does hiring a vCISO help protect an organization’s information security assets, but it also allows the company to concentrate their time, money, and effort on their own areas of business expertise.

A brief history of outsourcing

In the mid-to-late 20th Century, as corporations began to significantly scale up in size, organizations at the leading edge of business trends realized that multiple layers of management were weighing them down. They quickly learned that it was more efficient (and more profitable) to focus on their core competencies and to outsource certain supportive business functions – especially those business functions which required a high level of specialized expertise.

This surge of outsourcing included administrative functions, marketing, customer support, and information technology. In recent years, as threats to information security assets have accelerated both in frequency and in sophistication, the expertise required to protect those assets has also increased. The specialized skills and knowledge needed to keep up with threats and mitigation strategies puts quality information security professionals in high demand, and often makes them unattainable for smaller organizations, leaving outsourcing as the best option.

A virtual CISO brings value and peace of mind

Virtual CISO services include any functions that an in-house CISO would perform - whether it’s shoring up a company's existing security posture or starting from scratch. Individual members of a vCISO team have different specialty areas that can be called upon when needed, making the vCISO a jack-of-all-trades. This also means that virtual CISO services are available at any time, without the absences or burnout that can occur with an individual officer.

Hiring a virtual CISO is becoming an increasingly popular information security solution, allowing companies to get down to business they're best at, while having the peace of mind that they and their customers are protected from threats.