As cyber attacks become increasingly sophisticated and common, many organizations are recognizing the need for a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to help them manage their cyber security risk. However, not all organizations have the resources and budget to hire a full-time CISO, or they may have a CISO who needs additional support. This is where virtual CISO (vCISO) services come in. In this article, we will discuss why organizations need vCISO services and the benefits they can provide.

What is a vCISO?

A vCISO, or virtual CISO, is a service that provides organizations with an experienced security consultant who can guide them in developing, implementing, and managing a robust risk and/or security program. This service can support an in-house CISO or take on all the responsibilities of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) on an ‘as needed’ basis, thereby providing significant cost benefits. A vCISO provides the same services as a full-time CISO, including developing and implementing a cyber security strategy, managing cyber security incidents, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Why Do Organizations Need vCISO Services?

Hiring a full-time Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) can be expensive, especially for small businesses and medium-sized organizations that do not have extensive security needs. Instead, these companies can benefit from hiring a virtual CISO (vCISO) service, which provides them with an experienced security consultant, as needed, to help guide the organization through developing, implementing, and managing a strong security program. With a vCISO, these companies can still meet their security obligations to customers while avoiding the high cost of a full-time CISO.

Organizations that benefit the most from hiring a Virtual CISO:

  • Have sensitive data stored in their environment
  • Have had a cybersecurity incident
  • Are going through acquisitions and need to understand the security posture of the organization they are acquiring
  • Are unable to fund a full-time CISO
  • Currently don’t have a security, governance or cyber risk program in place

Having a comprehensive security program requires a well-developed roadmap that is supported by the organization’s leaders. Simply following policies and regulations without a clear security roadmap can lead to policies that don’t align with the business and are not properly followed due to added complexity and stress. An effective security program enables businesses to adhere to various standards and regulations that are relevant to their operations.

However, many organizations view security as a one-time implementation based on industry standards or regulations, leading them to believe that their security program can remain unchanged for several years. In reality, security programs need constant evaluation and updates based on factors such as standards, regulations, and changes in the business environment.

Benefits of vCISO Services

One of the main advantages of hiring a Virtual CISO is their diverse security experience across various industries. Virtual CISOs work with multiple clients, which provides them with a broad range of ideas and expertise from different organizations they have worked with. This means that they are not only experienced in cybersecurity but also can determine the most effective security strategy for a specific type of business. It is essential to have a Virtual CISO who can tailor their approach to your unique business needs.

Benefits of hiring a vCISO:

  • Cost Savings

Hiring a full-time CISO can be expensive, especially for small and medium-sized organizations. By using vCISO services, organizations can access the expertise of a CISO without the cost of a full-time employee.

  • Access to Expertise

A vCISO brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to an organization. They can provide guidance on industry best practices, emerging threats, and regulatory requirements.

  • Customized Services

A vCISO can tailor their services to meet the specific needs of an organization. They can develop a cyber security strategy that is aligned with the organization’s goals and risk tolerance.

  • Availability24x7, 365 days

A vCISO service offers the advantage of 24×7 availability, 365 days a year, as virtual CISOs typically come with their own team of security experts. This enables organizations to benefit from greater visibility and coverage for their security needs.

  • Increased Cyber Security Maturity

Working with a vCISO can help organizations improve their cyber security posture over time. By implementing best practices and responding to emerging threats, organizations can become more resilient to cyber attacks.

  •  Enhanced Board Reporting

A vCISO can help organizations communicate their cyber security risks and strategies to their board of directors. This can help the board make informed decisions and provide oversight of the organization’s cyber security program.


What To Expect from a vCISO Service?

When hiring a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) service, there are several things you should expect. Firstly, the vCISO should provide a comprehensive assessment of your organization’s security posture, identifying any potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses. They should then work with you to develop a tailored cybersecurity strategy that aligns with your business objectives and meets industry standards and regulations. The vCISO should also provide ongoing monitoring and management of your cybersecurity program, identifying and responding to any threats or incidents that may arise. Additionally, the vCISO should provide regular reporting and communication, keeping you informed of your cybersecurity program’s progress and any changes that may be required. Overall, you should expect a vCISO service to provide you with the expertise and guidance you need to effectively manage your cybersecurity risks and protect your organization’s valuable assets and information.


How to Choose a Virtual CISO?

Choosing a vCISO for your organization is an important decision that requires careful consideration. The first step is to clearly define your organization’s needs, goals, and budget for security. Then, evaluate the vCISO’s experience, credentials, and track record in managing information security programs, including their ability to align security with business objectives. Look for a vCISO who has experience in your industry and understands the regulatory and compliance requirements that apply to your organization. Communication skills are also essential, as the vCISO will need to communicate complex security concepts and risks to stakeholders at all levels of the organization. Finally, consider the vCISO’s availability and responsiveness to your organization’s needs.

Once you have a clear understanding of your organization’s requirements, you and your team will be better equipped to make an informed decision on which virtual CISO provider to choose. By diligently inquiring about how the vCISO can meet your specific needs, you will be able to get maximum value from the vCISO service.


As cyber attacks become more frequent and sophisticated, organizations of all sizes and industries are recognizing the need for cyber security expertise. A vCISO can provide access to highly skilled and experienced cybersecurity professionals on a flexible, as-needed basis. By leveraging vCISO services, organizations can effectively manage their cybersecurity risk, protect their sensitive data, and maintain compliance with industry regulations.

Softlanding offers vCISO services that can help your organization mitigate cybersecurity risks, improve its security posture and safeguard their long-term success. Contact us to book a free discovery call.


Written By:


Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

More By This Author