Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The role played by virtual chief information security officers in corporate organizations

It’s early morning, and surprisingly, you discover your corporate systems have been tampered with. Do you know what to do to salvage the situation? Many corporate organizations that lack security policies experience this frequently. According to a recent survey conducted by Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, four in ten companies have not placed policies and security controls to deal with a breach. However, this will cause a problem soon, given that new Information Security regulations have been set up in Canada.

According to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), any breach involving personal information might cause significant damage and should be reported instantly by affected companies. Corporate organizations should also keep a record of all security breaches for future reference by PIPEDA. There are many remedies to these issues, but hiring a Virtual Chief Security Officer (vCISO) has proved to be the best solution especially for startups, small and mid-sized companies that can’t afford to hire a full-time expert due to the enormous salary they demand.

What does your security plan need to cover?

Even before hiring a vCISO, security policies and regulations should be put in place to give guidelines on the procedures to be followed if a breach occurs. The most vital thing every corporate company needs is to assemble and classify all the data in its database. Intrusion detection systems should be put in place to detect and record breaches, and Firewalls installed in the corporate systems to filter all incoming packets. 

This will provide a crystal plan on how to handle a crisis by giving guidelines on how to detect a breach, report it, evaluate the potential risks and damage that can be incurred, and finally give guidelines on the best possible recovery plans on how to eradicate and contain the threat. 

Lastly, communication between different entities and departments in the corporate organizations is critical in determining if the systems are experiencing any technical hitches that might result in a breach; hence a detailed communications plan is another vital component. Continuous employee training should take place. Companies should test and update their systems and plans regularly to seal any possible loopholes that might be used to launch a security breach.

How can a Virtual CISO help?

Many companies have recently realized that apart from private expertise, they also need a governance role, a skill they lack in their organizations. Companies should be aware that there is a significant difference between IT experts and information security experts. 

The cost of hiring a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) will cost a fraction of the amount compared to hiring a full-time CISO, making it affordable. Besides the costing, a vCISO is a consulting team that works virtually and can be stationed overseas; hence physical appearance won’t be necessary because everything is done remotely.

What can you expect from a virtual CISO?

Virtual CISO offers high-level guidance by assessing and remediating the systems whenever it’s necessary. They identify vulnerabilities in the systems, implement measures to contain them, and develop a long-term plan for your corporate organization. In two months, the vCISO will have implemented a security policy framework with guidelines on implementing new security measures, access management, and incident response. Metric reports will also be generated to evaluate the measures put in place.

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