What is a vCISO? (And Why Your Small Company Needs One) 


4-minute read time 

Are you a small business owner striving to reach your goals, satisfy customer security needs, and stay ahead of the competition? If you said yes, consider adding a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) to your team. With this advice, you can achieve these goals efficiently and economically. 

This blog examines the advantages of vCISO services for small businesses and how they can improve your overall IT security posture. 

What is a vCISO? 

Before we delve into what a vCISO is, it’s essential to understand the role of a CISO. A CISO, or Chief Information Security Officer, is an internal employee of an organization who handles two main tasks: 

  1. To advise leadership on information security and compliance risks. 
  1. To implement the decisions the leadership team made. 

A virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is an external consultant, like Aligned Technology Solutions, who assists other companies in meeting their security and compliance goals.  

Who Can Benefit from vCISO? 

There are several instances where businesses and individuals can benefit from the advice of a vCISO. Here are a few examples: 

  • Startups 
  • Small businesses 
  • Organizations looking for an unbiased analysis 
  • Companies who need interim coverage between CISO hiring/training 

Ways Your Company Can Benefit from vCISO 

You empower your organization when you receive vCISO consultation. A few ways your organization can benefit include: 

Strong Strategic Direction 

By hiring a vCISO, your company can better understand its IT security program. The vCISO will: 

  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current state of your program. 
  • Develop a roadmap between the current and desired state and how to get there. 
  • Communicate the strategic direction to all stakeholders. 
  • Implement the plan by working with any internal IT staff and other stakeholders to achieve the desired state of the IT security program. 
  • Monitor and measure the program’s progress to ensure it is on track to reach its goals and in alignment with your organization’s mission. 

Affordable Framework Expert 

Getting sound security advice is often a costly undertaking. In 2022, the reported median cash compensation for a CISO rose to $584K in the US. A Fractional vCISO solution is ideal for smaller organizations needing nuanced industry knowledge. 


Our small business partners find it beneficial to receive flexible strategic advice at a lower cost than hiring an internal security officer. This way, small businesses can access high-level security and governance with ease. However, if a small business can afford a CISO, it may be tempting to hire one.  

Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find qualified CISOs due to a talent shortage in the market. The issue is compounded by larger companies requiring many skilled professionals, leaving small companies with fewer candidates. 

Even if your business is fortunate enough to find a talented CISO candidate, there are additional challenges to consider. For example, limited resources, including budget and staff, may make it challenging to implement and maintain an effective IT security program after investing in the new hire. 

Ultimately, partnering with a vCISO service can provide small businesses access to a qualified CISO without the recruitment, training, and management challenges associated with an in-house hire. Just ensure you partner with one who has experience working with organizations in your industry so they can meet all your nuanced needs. 

Meet Consumer Security Demands 

In today’s world, it’s vital to prioritize protecting consumer privacy due to the constantly evolving cyber threats. Ransomware attacks increased by 13% last year, equivalent to the combined increase over the previous five years. 

Consumers are rightfully concerned about the safety of their personal information and expect it to be safeguarded. 

96% of Americans believe more should be done to ensure companies protect consumer privacy” – CR Digital Lab 

Protecting your consumer’s information establishes trust and helps to build loyalty over time. A vCISO will help you secure your environment and protect your consumers’ privacy. They can help you with: 

  • Developing privacy policies and procedures: A vCISO will work with your organization to develop and implement privacy policies and procedures that meet regulatory requirements and best practices for protecting consumer privacy. 
  • Conducting privacy assessments: They can conduct privacy assessments to identify areas of the organization’s operations that may be at risk for privacy breaches (e.g., data collection, storage, and sharing practices). 
  • Guidance on data handling: They can inform you on how to handle consumer data to protect privacy (e.g., data minimization, de-identification, and encryption). 
  • Implementing security controls: Security controls protect consumer data from unauthorized access, such as access controls, network security, and incident response plans. 
  • Ensuring Compliance: A vCISO will help you comply with privacy regulations, such as Virginia’s Data Protection Act, by keeping up to date with changing laws and regulations and ensuring that the organization’s policies and practices align with these requirements. 

Quickly Familiarized 

A highly qualified vCISO will seamlessly integrate into your organization, rapidly adapting to your specific needs and providing immediate value. By doing so, they can help to minimize time waste, optimize the allocation of resources, and accelerate the achievement of your IT security objectives. 

Access a Wealth of Vendor Information 

One of the key benefits of virtual IT security officers is their access to information. Many people don’t consider this factor, but it can be valuable to a company. For example, our vCISO has developed a network of trusted vendor relationships that provide them with a competitive advantage when issues arise, enabling them to create an action plan quickly. 

This skill enables them to identify and implement the best solutions for your organization, saving you valuable time, resources, and frustration by avoiding the trial-and-error process. As a result, partnering with a vCISO can help to enhance your organization’s overall IT security posture, reduce risk, and improve operational efficiency. 

The Fast, Strategic Edge You Need 

Small businesses can quickly achieve their goals, meet customer security demands, and gain a competitive edge by having a vCISO on their team. What’s even better is it’s a cost-effective approach.  

Contact our team if you’re interested in learning more about vCISO, or how Aligned Technology Solutions’ vCISO guidance can help you grow and secure your organization. 

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