Businesses today have to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated cybercrime. A persistent cybersecurity talent shortage and low budgets further compound the challenge. The lack of experienced cybersecurity leadership can widen businesses’ risk exposure and leave them vulnerable to security breaches. To ensure security defenses are not compromised due to an absence of dedicated staff or budget constraints, businesses often outsource cybersecurity to a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO). A vCISO can provide credible expertise and scalable services, allowing businesses to develop and maintain a consistent cybersecurity posture.

In this blog post, we will explore two key challenges in the cybersecurity industry and how outsourcing cybersecurity functions to a vCISO can help businesses tackle these issues.

Challenge #1: Cybersecurity talent shortage

According to a 2021 (ISC)2 study, the global cybersecurity workforce gap – defined as the number of additional professionals that businesses need to adequately protect critical assets –  is 2.72 million.

unfilled cybersecurity job openings

Businesses of all sizes are struggling to recruit and retain experienced cybersecurity professionals, particularly for leadership roles such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The talent shortage is further evidenced by the roughly 714,548 unfilled cybersecurity job openings at the national level.

The acute cybersecurity talent shortage hurts businesses’ overall security posture, making them more vulnerable to malicious attacks. In fact, in another (ISC)2 study, 56% of cybersecurity professionals said that staff shortages are putting their companies at some level of risk for security incidents. The transition to remote or hybrid work environments along with the growing use of digital technology has widened the attack surface. Without a skilled security team and CISO, businesses cannot build a strong defense against complex cyberattacks, such as account takeover, ransomware, and phishing.

Challenge #2: SMBs have limited cybersecurity budgets & resources

In the past 2 years, attacks against small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have increased by 150%.

“Barring targeted attacks, most attackers are looking for the path of least resistance. And a lot of the time, because smaller and mid-sized companies do not have the security and technology budgets that some of the bigger guys do, they’re often the better target because they’re a little bit more vulnerable from the outside looking in,” GraVoc’s Vice President of Information Security and IT, Nate Gravel, explained in a recent Gray, Gray & Gray podcast episode.


increase in cyberattacks against SMBs

The cybersecurity talent shortage is especially challenging for SMBs. Given the high demand for CISOs amid the workforce shortage, the average salary for the position is $230,801 as of May 2022. Budget constraints and fewer resources means SMBs likely cannot compete for high-priced security talent. These businesses also generally lack adequate funds to develop and maintain a cybersecurity workforce. Limited access to security expertise leaves SMBs exposed to threats and makes it tough for these businesses to improve cyber resilience.

The Solution? Outsource cybersecurity to a vCISO

Outsourcing cybersecurity operations to a virtual CISO allows businesses to maximize their budgets and retain access to much-needed security expertise amid the persistent talent shortage. Here are a few ways hiring a vCISO can benefit businesses and help address the problems discussed above.

Alleviate cybersecurity staffing issues

Searching for CISO candidates, interviewing them, and training them can be expensive and time consuming. The ongoing cybersecurity talent shortage further amplifies the challenges of recruiting experienced security professionals. Businesses can leverage the vCISO model to tackle the problem of high demand, low supply in the cybersecurity recruitment market.

vCISOs supplement the security workforce and can be hired at a faster pace than an in-house CISO. This makes vCISO a pragmatic solution for businesses of all sizes to gain cybersecurity expertise and ramp up security programs.

Budget-friendly cybersecurity leader

Working with a vCISO is more cost-effective than hiring an in-house CISO. vCISOs can be put on retainer for a fee that’s a fraction of the cost of employing a CISO. Outsourcing cybersecurity leadership is an especially budget-friendly strategy for businesses that operate on a smaller scale and don’t need a full-time CISO. Further, depending on the provider, vCISO services can also offer businesses access to a whole team of expert security professionals. This means businesses can maximize their budget by investing in vCISO services as opposed to hiring an individual CISO.

Broad cybersecurity expertise

vCISOs come with broad and proven cybersecurity expertise across industries. They understand how to guide businesses through the ever-evolving threat landscape and deliver maximum protection against security risks. vCISOs are great security partners for any business, especially SMBs that do not have the resources to build and train a cybersecurity team.

What GraVoc’s vCISO team can do for your business

When you outsource cybersecurity to GraVoc, your business gets proven CISO leadership along with an entire team of highly qualified information security professionals. Our vCISO team serves as an extension of your internal workforce to deliver tailored security programs and risk mitigation strategies.

GraVoc’s vCISO team includes certified security professionals with over 25 years of demonstrable expertise in managing governance, risk, and compliance for small to large businesses across a variety of market sectors. Our team collectively holds numerous certifications, including Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).

Our services cover a wide range of cybersecurity operations, including but not limited to:


Information security advisory and strategic planning

Security awareness training for employees, board members, and executive management to minimize human error in the event of an attack
Board-level communication and participation in IT Steering Committee meetings
In-depth risk assessments to mitigate vulnerabilities within your security infrastructure
Third-party risk assessment and vendor due diligence
Readiness and audit preparation to help your business achieve compliance with ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and other security frameworks or regulations

So, whether you’re a large company looking for proven CISO leadership or a mid-market business in need of experienced cybersecurity professionals to guide your security strategies, our vCISO service can be the right solution for your organization.

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