What is CISO as a service?

What is CISO as a service?

Nowadays, many aspects of a business rely heavily on technology, with automation and new systems contributing to the success and daily running of most organisations. One aspect in particular is the collecting, storing and handling of data, whether that’s related to the business itself or the personal data of customers and clients. But unfortunately, as we’ve become more reliant on technology to hold sensitive data, cybercrime has also been on the rise. This means information security has become a key issue for businesses and there are many different ways in which they can invest in a strong security strategy.

Depending on the size and nature of your business you might already have an in-house team of specialists looking after your security systems. However, that is not always the case, with many smaller organisations and even some of the bigger companies choosing to hire in a third party for their security needs. This coupled with the fact that the tech and security industry requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise, means that there are now plenty of providers out there offering different tech and security services to businesses.

If you’re concerned about the existing security systems in your organisation, or perhaps you’ve recently started out and haven’t got the proper measures in place, you might want to consider a CISO service. That’s why in this guide we’ll define CISO, take a look at what this is as a service and whether this is something you should consider for your business.


What does CISO mean?

Firstly, let’s take a look what CISO stands for so we can better understand how this can be provided as a service. CISO is the Chief Information Security Officer and they are usually the person responsible for a company’s information and data security. This key player has a number of responsibilities, but ultimately their job is to keep the business running as seamlessly and effectively as possible, within their security parameters. This means they need to minimise the risk of threats and cyber attacks and get systems in place, all without causing disruption to the daily running of the business.

Amongst their daily tasks, the Chief Information Security Officer is expected to identify threats, put measures in place to combat these and then be able to translate these issues into a language that other members of staff, particularly senior employees, can understand. Other important aspects of the role include:

  • Managing security operations
  • Cyber intelligence
  • Data loss and fraud prevention
  • Security architecture
  • Programme management
  • Investigations and analysis
  • Governance of the systems

Now that we know what a CISO is and what they’re expected to do, it’s time to look at how this can be translated from a single employee, to a service from a third party.


How does this translate to a service?

 Third parties are now offering CISO as a service, which enables businesses to focus on their daily tasks and leave the security measures to the experts. Essentially, when offering CISO as a service, providers are vowing to take responsibility for securing assets, understanding possible threats and implementing the best security measures for their clients businesses. In order to do this they remain flexible and work hard to find the most suited and cost-effective solution for every organisation. For example, some may only want a CISO service for a few days a month, while others might want the service provider to work with them Monday to Friday for a prolonged period of time.


Why would a business choose CISO as a service?

 Security services like this have become increasingly popular with businesses – and with good reason! With GDPR legislations now in place as well as the rise in cybercrime, trial and error is no longer an option for any business when it comes to security measures. That’s why information security has become such a hot topic in recent years. There are a handful of reasons that a business might choose to work with a CISO service, not least of all because they understand the importance of taking their security seriously if they hope to avoid a huge fine and potential loss of reputation and sales.

Not only this, but some organisations may not be ready to hire their very own Chief Information Security Officer, either because they can’t afford to invest in a full-time employee or because the might not have defined the responsibilities of the CISO just yet. Alternatively, they might already have a CISO or equivalent team member that needs a little more guidance and expertise to help the improve the company’s security systems. Either way, sometimes a service can be more cost-effective for an organisation.


What do these CISO services offer?

We’ve touched upon what a CISO service is and why businesses may choose to invest in these types of services. Now we’ll take a more in-depth look at what is actually on offer from most third parties, so you can better decide if you should consider hiring a CISO service for your business.

As a general rule you can expect some, if not all of the following activities from a provider. These will of course depend on the needs of your business and the budget you have to put into your security measures:

  • Information security leadership and guidance
  • An expert and unbiased review of your risks, compliance and security measures
  • Liaising with auditors, vendors and all third parties on both yours and their security measures
  • Overseeing the daily security activities
  • Security compliance management
  • Development of your security policies, processes and procedures
  • Security training and awareness for all staff – or the employees of your choosing
  • Security testing
  • Managing the security budget
  • Identifying and reporting any security incidents
  • Analysing incidents and implementing new systems for the future
  • Monitoring recognised threats and taking all preventive measures
  • Setting out a cyber security roadmap
  • Establishing a disaster recovery plan and staff on recognising and reporting any issues

So, if you’re not in the position to hire a CISO yourself, or you need support with the one or all of the areas of security outlined above, hiring a CISO service could be the best solution for your business.


Written by Sean Huggett of, data protection and cyber security consultants and training


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