What is a vCISO Platform and Where Should You Start?

What is a vCISO and where should you start

Demand for InfoSec professionals is through the roof. There’s just one problem – security-conscious SMBs can’t just pick up a great team member off the street. New hires are expensive, to say the least, especially choosing a full-time Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to steer the ship. 

Almost half of MSP clients have fallen victim to cyber attacks in the past year, yet 27% of organizations believe a CISO has just one role – to be a scapegoat when things go south. Ouch!

This conundrum opens the door to a new breed of professionals, services, and platforms that provide MSP clients with a cost-effective, scalable, and flexible alternative to an in-house CISO – the vCISO.  

What is a vCISO?

A virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) is a part-time or on-demand CISO hired to provide strategic leadership and ongoing maintenance to an organization’s cybersecurity and information security program. 

The job of a vCISO usually entails guiding businesses in developing, implementing, and managing cybersecurity and compliance programs – all without taking up a seat in their offices (and a hefty sum from the payroll budgets).

Some requirements from vCISOs are:

  • Dynamic risk assessment and management services
  • Cybersecurity strategy development and maintenance
  • Implementation of controls to protect organization assets
  • Employee security awareness training 
  • Compliance and governance enforcement
  • Incident response, mitigation, and remediation
  • Continuity and data loss prevention planning
  • Third-party and supply chain risk management
  • Communication and reporting to the C-suite and board of directors

virtual CISO


What is a vCISO service?

MSPs offer a whole suite of services to their clients, from disaster recovery planning to network monitoring. As part of this roster, many also provide vCISO services – essentially, SMB clients can hire the expertise of a CISO, without the hassle, high costs, and addition to their headcount. 

Under the vCISO services umbrella, MSPs might support functions like compliance readiness assessments, security awareness training plans, and task management optimization —it all depends on the vCISO platform your MSP chooses.

What is a vCISO platform?

A vCISO platform is part of the suite of MSP software solutions. It streamlines the delivery of a complete vCISO service package at scale. A vCISO platform lets service providers automate a great deal of the work entailed in providing vCISO services, including compliance and risk assessments and gap analysis, and enables automated crafting of security policies and strategic remediation plans.

Ideally, a vCISO platform enhances a service provider’s portfolio and drives revenue growth. It enables MSPs and MSSPs to deliver a comprehensive range of cybersecurity and compliance services tailored to each client’s needs without hiring or training additional InfoSec and IT personnel.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a vCISO Platform

Why are service providers adopting vCISO platforms at an increasing rate? First and foremost, they want to meet the growing demand from their clients – if you don’t offer comprehensive vCISO services powered by a robust vCISO platform, your competitors will. 

A competitive edge is not the only advantage that vCISO platforms offer to both novice and seasoned MSP/MSSPs and their clientele. Ideally, the vCISO platform of your choice will enable:

1. Cost-effective vCISO service scalability

With a vCISO platform in their arsenal, MSP/MSSPs can deliver comprehensive vCISO services at scale without significantly investing in hiring and training additional IT and InfoSec staff. In addition, by employing automation and AI technologies, a vCISO platform can dramatically decrease the manual work required for vCISO service delivery, thus allowing MSP/MSSPs to customize effective cybersecurity strategies for each client at a fraction of the time and cost.

2. Bridging internal skill gaps

Skilled information security professionals are hard to come by and not cheap to hire and retain. The demand for cybersecurity skills and knowledge can limit your ability to provide comprehensive vCISO services to a large volume of clients and increase your dependence on individual employees, teams, or contractors.

3. Demonstrating value to clients

One of the most critical factors in building customer trust and showcasing the value of your vCISO services is your ability to provide your clients with readable and accurate data through reports and dashboards. 

A vCISO platform like Cynomi can streamline this process with white-label branded templates and flexible reporting capabilities. The reports and dashboards you provide using a vCISO platform can help communicate security gaps effectively in a way that translates into upsell opportunities.


need for a vCISO


4. Streamlined workflows

You can streamline vCISO work through a structured process using the right platform. For example, Cynomi saves time and sets standards for processes and deliverables by simplifying key vCISO tasks and work processes, including risk and compliance assessment, security policy creation, cyber posture reporting, building remediation plans, and ongoing management optimization

5. Competitive advantage

It’s no secret that your clients need comprehensive on-demand cybersecurity expertise—and they need it to be cost-effective, up-to-date, and hassle-free. A vCISO platform enables you to keep up with the speed at which the cybersecurity landscape is evolving. Thanks to a vCISO platform’s clear-to-read dashboards and comprehensive security features, you can prove to your clients that you can proactively address emerging risks and keep them safe.

7 Key Features to Look for in a vCISO Platform

Not all vCISO platforms are made equal, and there are a few features that you should add to your vCISO checklist when choosing a provider.

    1. Discovery questionnaire automation and self-guided client onboarding enhance your visibility into your customers’ cybersecurity posture and slash the time and resources necessary to achieve full coverage.
    2. Automatic compliance readiness assessment for frameworks like SOC 2, ISO 27001, and NIST 800-171/CMMC according to the client’s unique cyber profile.
    3. Security policy generation and vulnerability auto-remediation to bridge security and compliance gaps.
    4. Task management optimization and active prioritization of tasks according to their urgency and impact on the organization’s overall security posture.
    5. Cybersecurity posture and compliance reporting with a customizable self-service operations dashboard that enables you to showcase the value of your vCISO services to your client’s stakeholders.
    6. White-labeling, multitenancy, and client-specific customization can promote brand loyalty and enhance the overall experience for your client’s stakeholders.
    7. Partner-focused vendors do not sell directly to end-clients but remain focused on how to support your needs as an MSP/MSSP. 


Scale Your Services With Cynomi’s vCISO Platform

Virtual CISO services are in high demand, and it’s up to MSPs and MSSPs to deliver them. However, providing a comprehensive end-to-end vCISO service at scale can be challenging, even for seasoned service providers.

Cynomi’s vCISO platform is designed for MSPs and MSSPs looking to grow their business and open new recurring revenue streams. It helps you provide enterprise-grade vCISO services to SMEs and SMBs without scaling in-house services. By leveraging AI and automation, Cynomi’s platform reduces the dependency on manual expert work by as much as 40%. 

Cynomi empowers your teams to make the most professional and impactful decisions for your clients’ security posture. With Cynomi, you can standardize and streamline onboarding processes for employees and customers while leveraging a robust and customizable reporting system to demonstrate value to C-suite executives and business leaders.

Request a demo to discover how Cynomi can help you get started with providing vCISO services today.

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