From the Desk of the vCISO: Virtual CISO Services Bridge the Cybersecurity Leadership Skills Gap
Last year marked the unofficial 10-year anniversary of the cybersecurity skills gap. One of the earliest mentions of the shortage of cybersecurity professionals came from ESG Analyst Jon Oltsik in 2011. Though we’ve had a decade to solve this problem, the gap has only gotten worse.
Despite an influx of 700,000 professionals into the cybersecurity workforce in 2020, the 2021 (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study found that the global demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to outpace supply—and there is still a cybersecurity workforce gap of more than 2.72 million. The study also states that the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets. Study respondents said this skills gap is leading to some very real consequences—like misconfigured systems, not enough time for proper risk assessment and management, and a delay in patching critical systems, to name a few.
vCISOs in High Demand
The skills shortage is a pervasive problem at every cybersecurity job level, including chief information security officers (CISOs). Wall Street Journal Reporter Kim Nash does a nice job detailing why CISOs are so hard to come by in her article, “Talent Shortage Makes CISOs a Hot Commodity.” She notes companies’ varying expectations for job requirements and experience levels as several factors contributing to the limited number of candidates.
Of course, the lack of CISOs in the market is a problem affecting organizations of all sizes—but it’s becoming especially troublesome for mid-market and large organizations. In fact, in her article, Nash notes, “sitting CISOs at large U.S. companies are in great demand.”
The CISO shortage isn’t the only thing getting worse. The cybersecurity landscape is too. Between the ransomware epidemic, attacks on critical infrastructure, and the surge of phishing and other social engineering threats (as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated work-from-home push), the cybersecurity landscape has never been scarier. This reality leaves many companies struggling to defend against this sophisticated threat landscape without the right security leadership in place.
Bridging the Gap with Virtual CISO Services
Outsourcing has emerged as a common and effective way to overcome the skills gap across technology areas, and the same holds true for the cybersecurity. Remember ESG Analyst Jon Oltsik? He’s still tracking the cybersecurity skills shortage. In this blog post, he notes that ESG’s 2020 Technology Spending Intentions Survey found that “of those organizations that have a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills, 73% will increase usage of third-party services to help them dig their way out of this personnel hole.”
Outsourcing is an easier and more affordable way for mid-market companies to fill their vacant CISO position. So much so, in fact, that virtual CISO (vCISO) services offered by managed service providers (MSPs) are becoming more mainstream. At a high level, vCISO services provide companies with the security leadership skills they need to assess risk, develop a security strategy to mitigate identified risks, maintain governance and overall defend against today’s complex threats.
Here are five reasons why vCISO services can be so impactful in the quest to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap:
1. You benefit from on-demand security leadership
The evolving threat landscape continuously calls for new security skillsets and specialized knowledge, and a vCISO service can provide the unique skills you need, when you need them—from assessing risks and developing your cybersecurity strategy to ongoing governance and everything in between.
2. You get CISO-level expertise (and more) at a much more affordable price point
Outsourcing is the most cost-effective approach to attaining the evolving expertise required for cybersecurity, because you only incur costs when you’re actually utilizing security services at the time that you need them versus having to hire someone full time. And those skills are an investment—a full-time CISO’s salary can easily run you in excess of $200,000.
3. You have a breadth of technical and leadership expertise at your fingertips
With vCISO services from MSPs, such as Navisite, you get a whole lot more than one named CISO at the helm. You also have access to the entire cybersecurity team supporting the vCISO, benefiting from the full breadth and depth of their expertise and experience.
4. You don’t have to deal with the headache of recruitment
Finding, recruiting and retaining CISOs in this competitive landscape can be challenging. Outsourcing to a vCISO solves the recruitment problem and eliminates the risk of having to deal with potential turnover—as well as the resulting disruption it creates for the business.
5. You’ll get unbiased guidance and support
The right vCISO service will provide objective, unbiased guidance on the best path forward to strengthen your security posture and serve as your trusted partner—not just your service provider—keeping your best interests at heart. The result is a strong partnership that you can rely on day in and day out.
Navisite’s vCISO Service Delivers
Navisite’s vCISO Service provides all of the benefits above and so much more, removing the skills, resource and budget constraints that prohibit companies from developing and maintaining a strong cybersecurity strategy. Backed by a team with years of experience helping companies of all sizes develop and implement cybersecurity frameworks, we’ll work alongside your team to:
- Perform a cybersecurity risk assessment, including a security gap analysis.
- Develop a customized cybersecurity plan that will help you remediate areas of risk and maintain a strong security posture.
- Provide regular program tracking to maintain governance (so you don’t stray from your desired state of security), and to continually refine and enhance cybersecurity strategies.
At Navisite, we know there is no “one size fits all” security solution. Not only does our vCISO service rectify the cybersecurity skills and technical gaps within mid-market organizations, but it’s right-sized for each customer—meaning, we’ll meet you wherever you are on your security journey. To learn more about Navisite’s vCISO service, read our press release and data sheet. To find out how our vCISO Service can help you enhance your cybersecurity program, contact us today.