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With the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline fast approaching, many businesses remain entirely unprepared for the upcoming GDPR. Technology advisory firm Gartner predicts that by the end of 2018, more than half of companies still won’t be fully compliant with the requirements.

Businesses are facing a dangerous combination of mounting cyber security threats and a widening gap in the skills and manpower required to identify and combat them. Knowing how to lead the charge in identifying and analysing threats, creating strategic security plans, and ensuring compliance, requires the right level of expertise. Many businesses, especially small and medium businesses, simply don’t have it.

With one year to go until implementation, the stakes are now higher than ever. Clearly, it is going to take a time to fill that gap and get ready for GDPR. But if talent and recourses aren’t available right now, what are companies supposed to do?


Enter the Virtual CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) service


Perhaps it is time to consider a less traditional approach. There are lots of reasons to consider a virtual CISO. If you want some supervision and advice, if you need an interim solution or if you want to ensure that you only pay for what you actually need, then a virtual CISO could be the answer.

A virtual CISO is a flexible managed detection and response service for your GDPR compliance needs. This can be a hugely valuable option for any organisation facing up to the challenge of improving cyber security on a tight budget. By calling upon an experienced cyber security professional as and when required, businesses can effectively bridge the resource gap to receive vital assistance planning and executing a successful cyber security plan.

For smaller businesses, it simply doesn’t make sense to invest in a full-time CISO when you can hire a virtual one and get the speciality skills you need to draw up a strategic overview and deliver the big picture. No need to worry about benefits or monthly overhead.

It is a flexible solution. You can set up a retainer for a certain number of hours, you can hire someone on a project basis, and/or you can even buy a chunk of support hours and use them when you need them. It’s a way of getting the cream of security talent for a fraction of the cost. And it’s totally scalable. If you decide you need a full-time CISO then you can even have the virtual CISO help you create a tailored job spec and then screen and interview candidates.

A qualified virtual CISO is going to be fully up to speed on the latest best practices. They have experience dealing with a wide variety of scenarios, and they are well placed to train your internal security staff.


Don’t wait until it’s too late


Many companies are being forced to spend an ever-increasing proportion of their budget on cleaning up after incidents. A virtual CISO can be invaluable as a fire fighter, but don’t wait until the worst happens. A deeper dive into potential vulnerabilities, and support with a remediation plan now, could save your organization a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Remember that GDPR compliance cannot be achieved overnight. The wide-ranging data security improvements required under the regulation are only achievable with a long-term strategy in place. Failure to address data security shortcomings in a timely fashion could result in significant financial sanctions and reputational damage. A virtual CISO can provide the expert insight and impartial advice required to support GDPR preparations.

Read more about preparing your organisation for GDPR