A vCISO is essentially an individual that fulfills the role of a direct hired CISO, but instead, they are independent contractors.  Because of that, they bring along a number of key benefits that far outweigh those of having a permanent CISO. 

But, given the Cyber landscape of today, two of the biggest buzzwords is that of data privacy as well as compliance.  Obviously, these two areas have a lot that needs to be dealt with, so the need to hire a Virtual Privacy Officer (the “VPO”) and the Virtual Chief Compliance Officer (the “vCCO”) is becoming of paramount importance today in Corporate America.

The Role Of The vPO

As its title implies, the vPO is tasked upon to protect the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) datasets of any business that needs it.  But it is simply not just names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers, data can have a plethora of different meanings and applications as well. 

For example, in the healthcare industry, this will very often be the patient medical records that are stored and reside within the various databases of the health care providers.  Or to an online merchant, it could be the various buying patterns of existing customers and the chatbot conversations that are engaged with prospects.

When it comes to the Remote Workforce, there is a lot of confidential data that is transmitted between the remote worker and the servers at the primary location of the business.  This could include intelligence information, financial numbers, or ultra-sensitive corporate documents.  Whatever it may be, it is the primary responsibility of the VPO to ensure their safeguard not only when the data is in transit, but also when it is either archived or stored for subsequent usage.

Here are some of the key benefits of hiring a vPO:

  • Your data will be mapped very quickly and efficiently:

With the vPO, they will be able to walk in within hours in order to inspect your datasets, and to help you map the interlinkages that exist within them.  As a business owner, if you have not done this before, this can be a very laborious and time-consuming process.  Obviously, you will not be able to dedicate an in-house team to do this, as they will be heavily burdened working on their other Cyber related projects.  The vPO that you hire should have a wide breadth of experience in this area, and because of that, they can even provide strategies and recommendations as to how these interlinkages can be made more secure by deploying the right controls.  Remember, the Cyberattacker is not just after the data per se, they are also interested in finding any hidden backdoors to which they can penetrate through and exploit your databases even further.

  • Data Intelligence:

To you, all of your datasets are of course especially important.  But which ones are truly the most mission critical to your business?  This is where the vPO can also provide answers.  He or she will scan all of the PII, and determine which ones are the most valuable and needed for your business.  For example, they will ask tough questions such as:

  • How is your business using this PII?
  • Why is it being stored the way it is?
  • Where does the data go once it is being accessed?
  • The categorization of the data:

Apart from determining what is most valuable to your business, the vPO will also conduct a very thorough and comprehensive risk assessment to see which of your data sets are most at risk for being exposed via a security breach.  By doing this, strategies and recommendations will be provided for you as to the kinds of safeguards you can implement to minimize the risk of both non and intentional and intentional exposure.


In our next article, we will look at the role of the vCCO.

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Ravi Das is a Cybersecurity Consultant and Business Development Specialist. He also does Cybersecurity Consulting through his private practice, RaviDas Tech, Inc. He also possesses the Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) cert from the ISC2.

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