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Arming the Fractional CISO

Arming the Fractional CISO

Can a Fractional CISO be better than a full-time one?

Having a fractional CISO can present certain challenges for an organization, but these can be effectively mitigated through strategic measures, such as having an incident response retainer and leveraging tools like Vanta. Here are some key disadvantages and how they can be addressed:

Disadvantages of a Fractional CISO

1. Limited Availability: Fractional CISOs, due to their part-time nature, may not always be available in times of immediate crisis or urgent need.

2. Divided Attention: Serving multiple clients can lead to divided attention, potentially impacting the depth of focus on your organization’s specific cybersecurity needs.

3. Less Familiarity with Internal Processes: Being part-time, fractional CISOs might not be as intimately familiar with all the internal processes and nuances of the organization as a full-time CISO would be.

Mitigating Strategies

1. Incident Response Retainer
– Immediate Response: An incident response retainer ensures that your organization has immediate access to cybersecurity experts in the event of a security breach or incident, compensating for the fractional CISO’s limited availability.
– Specialized Expertise: These retained services usually come from teams specializing in incident response, providing a depth of knowledge and resources that might be beyond the scope of a single fractional CISO.
– Preparedness and Planning: Retainer services often include proactive planning and readiness assessments, helping to prepare your organization for potential incidents before they occur.

2. Leveraging a Modern GRC Platform:
– Continuous Monitoring: Vanta (Nearshore Cyber’s preferred GRC platform) provides automated security program monitoring, which can help in maintaining a high level of security oversight even when the fractional CISO is not present.
– Compliance Management: Vanta assists in streamlining compliance processes, such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, or GDPR, which is particularly beneficial for organizations under the guidance of a fractional CISO. This helps ensure that compliance is maintained continuously, not just when the CISO is on duty.
– Standardizing Processes: By standardizing security processes and practices, Vanta can make it easier for the fractional CISO to stay informed and effective despite not being engaged full-time.
– Reporting and Insights: The platform offers reporting and insights that can help the fractional CISO quickly get up to speed on the organization’s security posture during their working hours, making their time more efficient and impactful.

While there are inherent challenges in opting for a fractional CISO, these can be mitigated through a combination of strategic partnerships, such as an incident response retainer and advanced cybersecurity tools like Vanta, CrowdStrike, Okta, and Netskope. This approach ensures that the organization remains protected and compliant, leveraging the best of both the human expertise of a CISO and the technological advancements in cybersecurity.