A CISO, or Chief Information Security Officer, is a cyber security expert at the executive level of an organization. Any organization that handles digital information or uses computers as part of its daily operations needs to have executive-level information security support. Through a fractional or virtual CISO service, that experienced, executive support is affordable.
What Is the Difference Between a CISO and a CIO?
A CISO specializes in cyber security, while a CIO specializes in infrastructure. You need both roles to provide robust protection against cyber threats, with the CIO recommending infrastructure and the CISO securing it and providing cyber security training for employees.
If you can only choose one, you are better off with a CISO. Most CISOs have experience in setting up and running IT systems, as most CISOs come from an IT background. The added emphasis on cyber security will help you protect your staff, your organization and the people you serve and work with.
What Does a CISO Do?
A CISO is an executive-level information security specialist. Their most basic function is to evaluate, secure and monitor computer systems to prevent phishing attacks, hacks and data breaches. In addition to monitoring for threats and upgrading systems to prevent them, a CISO will also instill good cyber security habits among staff.
A CISO will have risk management experience as well. This experience will be grounded in cyber attacks but generally encompasses all areas of risk management, including disaster preparations, business continuity plans and emergency operations. It’s no secret that during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many organizations had to shift to remote work, those with a CISO on staff or on call experienced smoother, more secure transitions.
Some CISOs also bring experience in scaling business growth through hiring or through mergers and acquisitions. In these cases, a CISO will facilitate data integration and sharing, ensure there are no vulnerabilities in merged systems and work with HR to train all employees on system operations.
Where Can I Find an Affordable CISO?
An outsourced, fractional or virtual CISO provides small businesses and organizations with the executive experience they need at a small monthly cost. Good CISO as a Service companies will assign a specific CISO to your organization to evaluate your current systems and training, recommend and set up a security program, then monitor threats and prepare regular reports on the status of your cyber security.
Any nonprofit, municipal agency or small business that handles personal information or operates critical infrastructure needs the assistance of a CISO in the current environment. Cyber threats are growing so quickly that it’s a short matter of time before an attack occurs. You will be a target. Will you be prepared?
Protect Now specializes in affordable, practical cyber security solutions for public-facing organizations and those who rely on legacy computer systems, including virtual and fractional CISO services. Contact us to speak to a cyber expert about your organization’s specific needs and vulnerabilities.
Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.