Fractional Information Security Officer: 3 Questions to Ask When Determining if Your Business Needs One.

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Every week – if not every day, seemingly – an organization makes headlines for experiencing a cyber-attack. Sadly, for every Microsoft Exchange crisis, there are scores of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) wrestling with a data breach. While SMBs have been known to leverage fractional C-suite consultants for needs like accounting and HR, in the current technology landscape, having a certified Informational Security Officer (ISO) is a must-have.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if you need a fractional ISO:

Question 1: “Do I have any actionable thoughts on how to improve my cyber security posture?”

Most SMB owners aren’t cyber security experts – nor should they be, but that does not mean they do not need one. This knowledge gap does present a problem when they don’t know how to go about improving their organization’s cyber security posture. We often see two common responses to this.

  1. Unfortunately, some do nothing. They take the “head in the sand” approach and naively hope that they are too small and/or insignificant to be an attractive target for cyber-attacks. The aforementioned study shows, however, this definitely is not the case.
  2. The other, more common, outcome is that they invest in the wrong solutions. Cyber security is constantly evolving and extremely nuanced. What works for one organization may not be right for another. It’s imperative to have an experienced, certified professional inform your cyber security program to identify risks, and then develop and implement the right measures that provide the best cyber security for the organization.

Question 2: “Am I overspending on cyber security?”

There’s a big misconception that effective cyber security must be expensive. While it’s not an area to cut corners, more money doesn’t always mean better security. It’s all too easy to spend a lot of money on cyber security software or personnel that still leaves your organization vulnerable. Knowing where and how to invest your money is critical to ensuring your both securing your organization and that you’re not wasting money in the process. By utilizing a fractional cyber security consultant, organizations free up resources otherwise spent on full-time professionals or superfluous solutions, which can be reallocated to further enhancing the cyber security measures that matter most.

Question 3: Do I have the ability to keep up with new and emerging threats?”

“Set it and forget it” is not a good mantra for your (or anyone’s) cyber security efforts. Cyber actors are constantly changing their tactics and finding new vulnerabilities in systems. Not only does this require organizations to stay up to speed on these changes, it also means they need to install security patches when their platforms and systems become affected. It’s incredibly easy to fall behind on maintaining these measures. Fractional ISOs understand what measures you have in place and monitor for updates that you need to maintain your cyber security defenses.

For small businesses a fractional Informational Security Officer is more critical than ever.

According to a 2019 Accenture study, 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses, costing them an average of $200,000. Compounding these risks is how varied effective cyber security can be – even for small organizations. All cyber security programs should be tailored to an organization’s needs and risks. This means off-the-shelf solutions or having tech-savvy employees take it on as an added responsibility isn’t going to cut it.

Bigger companies have the budget to hire full-time cyber security personnel. But that’s not an option – or the best solution – for everyone.

It’s not a surprise that cyber security has become a top concern for executives in recent years. But identifying a concern and addressing it are two different things. Effective cyber security takes a range of expertise that, quite frankly, no one person can fully account for.

How Assura fills the fractional Information Security Officer gap.

At Assura, we offer a fractional Information Security Officer service we call Virtual ISO™. While each of our clients has a dedicated Virtual ISO™, they also have access to all our VISOs, each of whom has their own areas of expertise. This helps ensure our clients aren’t just protected in one single aspect of cyber security – another reason why fractional cyber security can be so beneficial for SMBs.

If any of this raised an eyebrow, we’d love to talk with you about how Virtual ISO™ could supplement your organization’s cyber security efforts and allow you to focus on running your business.