CISO as a Service

CISO as a Service (CISOaaS) is a flexible and efficient cybersecurity leadership option for your organization. 

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ISO as a Service (sometimes referred to as CISOaaS) is a cybersecurity consulting service that provides the high-level experience and leadership of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) on a part-time basis to an organization.

CISO as a Service has emerged within the last few years as a popular offering to meet the cybersecurity needs of companies that can’t or don’t want to hire a full-time CISO. While many growing companies need cybersecurity leadership to build security programs and lead compliance efforts, CISOs are expensive C-suite employees that are often difficult to hire and expensive to retain. CISOaaS is a flexible, efficient, and affordable alternative for companies with cybersecurity needs.

Like other as-a-Service offerings, CISO as a Service provides many benefits over building up the given functionality in-house. This video helps explain what the cybersecurity leader does, though it uses the term “Virtual CISO” instead of CISO as a Service. Fun fact: the terms can be used interchangeably! 

How does CISO as a Service fit into an organization?

CISO as a Service will fill the same role a full-time CISO would inside an organization, just on a part-time basis. With no need to go through a full-time hiring process, you can get an experienced security leader plugged into your organization fast.

Generally, they will work closely with an organization’s CTO, IT Director, or even CEO; and they will quickly relieve all of the above of any security-related tasks, freeing up their time for other projects more directly in their wheelhouse.

A CISOaaS will help build and manage a cybersecurity program, perform risk assessments, guide risk management decisions, evaluate product security risk, lead SOC 2 and ISO 27001 compliance projects, and more! 

Whatever you could use a full-time CISO for, you can use CISO as a Service for.

CISO as a Service vs. Full Time CISO

CISO as a Service can perform all of the functions a full-time CISO would, but offers a significantly larger degree of flexibility.

When you hire a full-time employee of any kind, you need to provide them full-time work. But few growing and midsize companies have the cybersecurity needs to provide a full-time CISO with full-time work. CISOaaS provides a much greater deal of flexibility and efficiency, performing only the cybersecurity tasks that a company needs done. Nothing more, and nothing less. 

There are many companies out there for whom a full-time CISO is the right choice over CISO as a Service! There is no one-size fits all solution in cybersecurity – pick what’s right for your organization.

Advantages of CISOaaS

There are many advantages to using a CISO as a Service.

– Learn, understand, and manage your company’s cybersecurity risk profile. 

Experienced leadership makes security compliance easy. 

More sales: many large companies expect good security and compliance programs from the vendors. Deliver, and grow. 

Flexible leadership that delivers exactly what you need, when you need it. 

– Good CISOaaS offerings provide a security team, not just a CISO, providing a wider base of experience. 

– You can quickly select a CISOaaS provider and get them started in weeks instead of months. 

Much easier to retain than an employee. Your CISO can’t be poached!

– Continuity – don’t lose your program because your CISO leaves. 

– CISOaaS can help you hire the right full-time CISO if you decide you need one later, including writing the job opening and performing the interview.

CISO as a Service Use Cases

Use Case 1: A growing business is getting lots of security questionnaires from prospective customers, in addition to requests for security accreditation in the form of an AICPA SOC 2 or ISO 27001. The company selects CISOaaS to help them prepare for and complete the audit, and continue managing security compliance thereafter.

Use Case 2: A company provides a unique product with high intrinsic security risk. They choose a CISOaaS vendor to evaluate their product, help them close security gaps, and create supporting documentation to assure potential customers the risks have been considered and addressed. 

Use Case 3: An organization wants to proactively manage their security risk and prove they are dedicated to security by having security leadership. They pick a CISOaaS to architect and implement their security program from the ground up.

CISO as a Service
This is a CISOaaS use-case to avoid!

CISO as a Service vs. Virtual CISO vs. Fractional CISO

All three of the terms CISO as a Service, Virtual CISO, and Fractional CISO are generally used to refer to the same set of cybersecurity services. They can usually be used interchangeably!

Virtual CISO is the most common and preferred term for the service, while CISO as a Service is used somewhat less frequently. We prefer the term Virtual CISO.

Fractional CISO is used least frequently of the three, and we tend to avoid using it – since it could get confused with our name!

CISOaaS Pricing

CISOaaS prices depend largely on what levels of service are required and the size of the company being serviced. The more employees a company has, the more time and effort is needed to build security and compliance programs.

Depending on the specific size of the company and services required, companies with less than 250 employees can expect to pay between $80,000 and $120,000 per year for a high quality CISO as a Service provider.

CISO as a Service by Fractional CISO

We are a high quality CISO as a Service provider! Fractional CISO’s CISO as a Service stands out in offering flexible, quantitative, and team-based cybersecurity services. 

  • Flexible – Some CISO as a Service providers use stock-built programs or bring the same solutions to the table for every client. Fractional CISO will evaluate your organization’s specific needs and build a tailor-made program to fit your needs. 
  • Quantitative – Fractional CISO brings a quantitative approach to cybersecurity risk management. We optimize your cybersecurity spend by using your resources where they will have the greatest impact in risk reduction. 
  • Team Approach – Fractional CISO’s CISOaaS offering doesn’t just give you a CISO. Instead, you get a dynamic cybersecurity team consisting of an experienced Virtual CISO and a highly-skilled Cybersecurity Analyst, providing your organization with a wider skillset and greater availability.
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