The Role of a vCISO

Article by ONCA Tech

With businesses steadily moving towards digital data storage, the increasing quantity of sensitive information held online is resulting in a heightened risk of cyber attacks.

Over 80% of UK organisations fell victim to a successful cyber attack in 2021/22, and as these attacks become both more sophisticated and more prevalent, comprehensive threat protection is absolutely vital to safeguard organisations. The role of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has never been more in demand, and in turn, virtual CISOs (vCISO) are becoming a popular choice for many businesses.

Similar to a CISO, a vCISO is a cyber security expert responsible for managing an organisation’s information security, to protect its data and technology and ensure it meets its compliance obligations. The key difference is that a vCISO does so on a consultancy basis rather than as a full-time employee.

What are the Benefits of a vCISO

Expertise and Experience

Like any CISO, a vCISO has the specialist technical expertise and up-to-date knowledge required to identify cyber vulnerabilities and implement security measures to address them.

As a consultant, a vCISO will also have a diverse breadth of experience gained from working across a range of industries with a variety of security programs. This can allow them to advise on best practice through a much wider lens, offering insight from several different perspectives.


When you consider the cost to an organisation of a successful cyber attack, the value of robust cyber security becomes clear. An attack including the breach of any personal data, for instance, can invoke a fine of up to 4% of an organisation’s global annual turnover.

Nevertheless, despite the risk of a lapse in cyber security, some businesses simply won’t have the budget available to invest in a full-time CISO.

vCISOs deliver reliable protection whilst also providing the flexibility to scale their service offering up or down according to an organisation’s requirements and budget. By utilising a vCISO, businesses only pay for the work they need, which can often be a more cost-effective solution than hiring a full-time CISO. For example, if a business only requires support with developing specific security solutions or performing risk assessments, rather than implementation and management of a full information security strategy, then commissioning a vCISO on a short-term contractual basis is the sensible option.


iven their capacity to take on both long- and short term contracts, vCISOs can be appointed to manage smaller-scale projects or immediate security requirements whilst organisations assess their longer-term CISO requirements. The vCISO can then work in tandem with the business to decide whether their role is expanded, or whether an in-house CISO is the most appropriate solution.

Similarly, vCISOs are often engaged to bridge a gap during the transition phase between an outgoing and incoming in-house CISO. Bringing an experienced vCISO on board is a much speedier process than hiring and bedding in a full-time CISO, and in some cases a vCISO can even support the recruitment process, helping to select and induct the right candidate.

A Growing Importance

At Onca Technologies we offer a full vCISO service, working both alongside in-house CISOs and on a standalone basis to provide tailored solutions – from security gap analysis to training campaigns, to GDPR compliance, to designing, implementing and managing bespoke information security strategies.

With digitalisation only on the rise, both CISOs and vCISOs will find demand for their services continuing to increase over the coming months and years. Cyber criminals certainly won’t rest on their laurels, so it will be more important than ever for all cyber security professionals to stay on the front foot when it comes to this evolving threat landscape; ensuring that whether outsourced or in-house, we’re providing the comprehensive and reliable protection that businesses need.