Four Signs You Need a CISO

Four signs you need a ciso

At one time, Chief Information Security Officers were most found in heavily regulated areas such as healthcare organizations, or financial institutions. Still, as the threat landscape has evolved, an increasing number of organizations need strong security leadership. However, for a growing, or even an established company, the decision to add a C-level leader is a big one. Here are four signs your organization needs a Chief Information Security Officer: 

Because the Feds said so

Regulatory requirements are one of the biggest drivers for adding an executive-level security leader. Both international leaders and the federal government have underscored the importance of stronger cybersecurity across all industries. 

Specifically, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed amendments designed to enhance its standards around cybersecurity strategy, governance, risk management, and incident reporting by public companies. This would require organizations to rethink their approach to:

  • Incident reporting, providing more frequent reporting on 
  • Policies and procedures to identify and manage risk, 
  • Board of directors’ oversight of security risk, 
  • And how management assesses risk and implements policies and procedures.

These activities are best managed by a C-level security professional with both the business experience and technical expertise to effectively address the requirements of the government and on behalf of the board of directors. 

At the state level, New York is an early adopter of enhanced organizational security requirements applicable to financial service companies licensed to operate in New York, which includes banks, mortgage loan providers, and insurance companies. These requirements include conducting a yearly risk assessment, periodic penetration tests and vulnerability assessments, and incident disclosure procedures. Even this partial list likely falls out of the scope and capability of an existing IT team. Adding a dedicated executive leader will go a long way to meet these demands. 

You’re looking for some funding

Maturing startups seeking Series A or Series B funding increasingly see requests for cybersecurity preparedness information as part of a fund manager’s due diligence. Organizational leaders must be prepared to answer questions about their organization’s cybersecurity maturity, understanding of their threat landscape, ability to detect and respond to a breach, readiness in line with regulatory requirements and best practices, exposure, and cyber insurance coverage. 

This level of security preparation may not have been feasible for a growing organization while scaling the company, but it will be imperative for continued growth. Having an experienced cybersecurity leader can help organizations prepare for these conversations. 

A whale is tugging on your line

For any business landing a whale is a high-risk, high-reward opportunity, but they tend to have higher levels of risk aversion than smaller, more nimble counterparts. Like working with a fund manager, whales will likely include cybersecurity in their due diligence. 

Rather than walking away from a tremendous opportunity, invest in a cybersecurity leader to develop a formalized strategy so you’re ready when a whale comes calling. 

You experienced a cybersecurity incident

Organizations of all sizes and in any industry are at risk for a cybersecurity breach. In the aftermath of an event, bringing in a leader to help with remediation and shore up your strategy can help regain your organizational confidence and enhance your security posture. 

Additionally, a CISO can help identify potential gaps in your organizational readiness and recommend strategies and actions to move the organization forward. 

What’s next?

If any of the items above apply to you, it’s time to consider how a Chief Information Security Officer can fit into your organization. As we’ve noted before, the CISO role is constantly evolving. In addition to their growing scope, new models for how CISOs can support organizations are more popular than ever. Virtual or Fractional CISOs can offer the support needed in the scenarios described above at a lower cost and a shorter engagement period than hiring a traditional CISO. If you’re ready to understand how a vCISO can help your organization, let’s talk

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