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Many companies are finding it difficult to recruit the right skilled security staff. Deploying and maintaining an effective IT security system is no easy task and the people with the right knowledge and experience are in short supply.

The situation is likely to get worse as organizations come to rely increasingly on digital assets and workflows and maintaining security becomes a higher priority. Resulting in more competition for qualified professionals who are on the market.

For SMBs searching a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) this problem is quite acute. CISOs need a unique blend of both technical skills and business acumen acquired over many years. They need to understand the challenges posed from a corporate perspective as well as have a deep technical understanding of the threats faced and ways in which they can be overcome. Suitable candidates are rare and salary requirements are significant.


An alternative approach


For organizations, unable to find a permanent CISO, an alternative is to take a different tactic and source the needed skills using a virtual or ‘on-demand’ approach.

Rather than looking to employ a hard-to-find CISO on a full-time basis, a suitably skilled candidate could be retained as a consultant for a pre-determined amount of time each month. This virtual CISO approach could be a particularly effective strategy for a smaller organization that is unable to meet the cost of having such a person on the full-time payroll.

Working with the organisation, this virtual CISO can examine the existing security infrastructure that is in place and make recommendations for its enhancement. And this type of service also takes the time to gain a deep understanding of the unique business requirements of the organisation and its employees.

A virtual CISO is also able to work closely with the board to ensure it understands the risks and challenges being faced. Security has changed from being something handballed to the IT department into something that is top of the agenda for many boards.

Another advantage is that the virtual CISO service is flexible and can range in duration from being a few hours per month consultancy to an interim full-time CISO. Or you can flex the service up or down according to your changing information security requirements and with knowledge transfer over time.


A fresh perspective


Importantly, an external virtual CISO will be able to provide a fresh perspective gained from their work in other places or sections of the market. This can allow the organisation to benefit from new ideas and strategies that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Not being able to secure or afford a full-time CISO does not need to prevent an organisation from having access to the security skills and knowledge it requires. Using a virtual or on-demand CISO is the answer.

If you need more information on virtual CISO, do not hesitate to contact us at

Read more about the different types of CISO