Compliance: The New Frontier for vCISOs

vciso compliance

While CISOs typically focus primarily on security, ensuring initial and ongoing compliance is becoming an integral part of a CISO’s role. With the rise of the vCISO – the virtual CISO, who performs the CISO role in more than one company – compliance is becoming a part of the vCISO service that’s important to provide and notoriously difficult to scale.  

Providing compliance and audit preparedness services is resource-intense, time-consuming, and costly. Multiple regulations have to be complied with, different security frameworks have to be implemented, and the company has to be prepared for an audit. It’s even more difficult for a vCISO to handle compliance when they need to switch between different organizations, each with their own unique compliance requirements.   

At the same time, compliance services are a lucrative and increasingly requested part of the vCISO role. If the challenges of providing compliance services at scale can be overcome for vCISOs, this area represents an incredible business opportunity to grow a vCISO’s business.  

Compliance services are in-demand 

Providing pure security services is the basis of most vCISOs’ offerings. Extending this to compliance, however, is a natural area of business growth. McKinsey research shows that the Governance, Risk, and Compliance sector represents a $100 billion addressable market – and yet it only has around 30% software/service penetration. vCISOs are perfectly positioned to capture the lion’s share of this opportunity. 

Compliance spans multiple areas and can differ according to industry, company type, and size. Common frameworks include PCI-DSS, HIPAA, HITECH, GDPR, ISO 27001, NIST, SEC, SoC 1, and SOC 2. Traditionally, it was only larger enterprises that placed such a focus on compliance. Today, however, with the cyber threat emerging as the key risk to organizations of almost any size, complying with relevant frameworks and regulations is foundational to staying in business. Many SMEs and SMBs need to act within specific regulations because these companies are suppliers to larger organizations that must ensure that all third-party suppliers comply with specific regulations and frameworks. 

Therefore companies of all sizes will be looking to a vCISO to assist with their compliance requirements. And vCISOs need to be prepared for this increase in demand, with a solution that scales across numerous customers.  

Why vCISO customers need compliance services (even if they don’t know it yet) 

vCISO customers, like all companies today, will need to have their compliance in order, so as to continue doing business and growing into the future. There are a number of reasons for this, and these can be shared with customers when discussing the need for compliance work from the vCISO: 

  • Regulatory bodies and many potential customers and partners will insist that their vendors’ level of cybersecurity matches their own 
  • It’s no longer enough to comply with just one framework: the compliance burden has risen, such that one vendor may require compliance with framework X, and another with framework Y –  meaning companies must maintain compliance across a range of frameworks and standards. 
  • Most SMBs lack the skills and manpower to address compliance requirements. 

Those businesses following a well-known framework can easily demonstrate to potential customers and partners that they can be trusted. 

The upsell potential of compliance services 

vCISOs can use compliance capabilities to land new customers, as well as retain and upsell current customers. Key factors that enable vCISOs to maximize this opportunity include: 

  • Many compliance firms don’t offer cybersecurity protection, providing a unique selling point for vCISOss
  • vCISOs are in a position to provide or recommend other security products and services after compliance work has exposed the gaps existing today 
  • Reporting against compliance progress is a great way for vCISOs to highlight steady improvement over time, as evidence of their value-add and increasing the chances of contract renewal 

Harness automated cybersecurity and compliance 

There’s no doubt that there is a tremendous opportunity in the compliance space for vCISOs. However, the ongoing challenge has been scaling compliance capabilities across more than just one or two customers. In many cases, this is just not humanly possible, given the number of hours in a day. Moreover, SMEs and SMBs just can’t afford to pay for such services. 

Happily, vCISO platforms are emerging that do the heavy lifting for you as a service provider, enabling you to add as many clients as you can while providing each one with a cost-effective compliance offering. How do these platforms give this key advantage?

  • They are built around a wide range of official cybersecurity frameworks 
  • They automatically map the security plans of vCISOs directly into official frameworks (you’ll be surprised to see how much of the compliance requirements your customer has already fulfilled, after following the security remediation plans and policies already built)  
  • They create plans based on whatever framework the customer prefers or a different framework demanded by one of their customers 
  • They show demonstrable improvement over time 
  • They help prepare customers for an audit 
  • They enable vCISOs to increase the number of accounts by expanding the customer base 
  • They eliminate excel sheets and manual processes 
  • They bridge the gap between security and compliance 
  • They are designed specifically for vCISOs and offer seamless multi-tenant capabilities

These platforms provide the secret of how vCISOs can add compliance and audit preparedness services without the need to add personnel or increase costs. To learn more, check out the full guide here. 

Get all the details in the vCISO guide 

We’ve outlined the details of the massive opportunity, the key challenges, and how these can be overcome using technology in general, and particularly a vCISO Platform like Cynomi’s. 

To effectively extend your services from security into compliance readiness, without increasing cost, download the full How vCISOs Can Extend Their Services From Security Into Compliance Readiness Without Increasing Cost. 


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