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How Can Hospitality Organizations Leverage a vCISO

The Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO, is an executive-level leader. The primary responsibility of a CISO in an organization is to develop and implement cybersecurity programs and build a robust security architecture. In addition, the CISO establishes and maintains the organizational strategy to protect its assets and technologies. To combat the evolving threat landscape and turn cybersecurity into a business enabler, the CISO must align the organization’s security initiatives with broader business objectives.

Whereas hiring a full-time security officer is costly, outsourcing is a cost-effective approach for organizations to harness the expertise and guidance of high-end cybersecurity professionals. The research report shows that a virtual CISO is approximately 30–40% of the cost of a full-time, permanent CISO. As a result, the hospitality industry—comprising numerous organizations of varying sizes—can benefit from this budget-friendly service to improve its security posture.

This article explores the importance and role of a virtual CISO (vCISO) in the hospitality industry.

Why is a vCISO important in the hospitality industry?

The effect of digital transformation on the hospitality industry is increasing its vulnerability to cyber threats. The large volume of data collection in this industry and poor cybersecurity infrastructure make it an easy target for cybercriminals. In addition to a massive deficit of skilled labor in the cybersecurity industry, recruiting an experienced cybersecurity professional is costly for most organizations.

However, the acute need for a security professional for an organization in the hospitality industry is visible in the number of cyberattacks and data breaches affecting this sector. As per a recent report, the average cost of data breaches in the hospitality industry is $1.72 million.

A virtual Chief Information Security Officer is a revolutionary solution to these pressing issues. These professionals have a wide range of experience working across various sectors and can help build a solid cybersecurity strategy for any organization. However, as numerous organizations in the hospitality industry are switching to the digital platform, their cybersecurity infrastructure for safeguarding digital assets is inadequate in today’s sophisticated cyberthreats.

Here are some reasons why a vCISO is essential in the hospitality industry:

  • Cost-efficient: The rising demand for CISOs across industries has increased their cost to the company, making it very challenging for organizations to hire a full-time CISO. A vCISO, on the other hand, is a cost-efficient option that organizations can manage without hiring an in-house, full-time professional and pay exclusively for the service provided.
  • In-depth and specialized experience: vCISOs work with numerous organizations and thus possess a wealth of knowledge; creating and implementing various information security programs improves their efficiency, and they are up to date on various standards and regulations, thus resulting in a better cybersecurity framework for the concerned organization. In addition, the virtual CISO can use their experience from other industries to understand the various threats and implement cybersecurity best practices to provide a comprehensive solution.
  • Location agnostic: Unlike regular CISOs, a virtual CISO is location-independent. Because this security officer provides the services virtually, the need to hire someone locally is eliminated. As a result, organizations in the hospitality industry can select the best candidate from the global talent pool without restrictions.
  • Increased flexibility: Flexibility is invaluable for a small or mid-sized organization. vCISOs hired on a per-project basis save organizations valuable time for their management to focus on primary business needs. Additionally, unlike an in-house employee, the vCISO offers an unbiased view for improving the organization’s cybersecurity posture. With a vCISO, businesses can meet their security needs on-demand and enhance their security resilience.

How to leverage a vCISO in the Hospitality Industry

vCISOs work closely with senior management to establish a well-communicated information security strategy and roadmap that covers the requirements of all involved entities, such as the organization itself, customers, States, or the Federal government.

Below are some ways organizations can leverage the vCISO in the hospitality industry.

  • Bridge the security gap: With a vCISO, organizations retain a dedicated security officer working with the in-house team to develop a comprehensive plan for protecting their reputation and ensuring a robust overall security posture. Organizations can benefit from the vast experience of the vCISO to create remediation action plans.
  • Manage cybersecurity budget: It is necessary to update the cybersecurity programs of an organization—especially in the hospitality industry—due to increased digitalization and the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. With a vCISO, organizations can maintain their cybersecurity budget and identify ways to spend it more effectively.
  • Full-scope vulnerability management: The vCISO can identify the organization’s security infrastructure vulnerabilities using the best enterprise security tools. As the vCISO prioritizes remediation efforts, the organization’s security team can focus on other important matters.
  • Develop incident response plans: The in-house security team of organizations in the hospitality industry can leverage the knowledge of the vCISO to develop a comprehensive incident response plan to mitigate threats effectively and promptly. Additionally, as the hospitality industry experiences increased engagement during certain seasons, a vCISO can help with constant monitoring and identify any threats before any attack occurs.
  • Achieve regulatory compliance: Even with a full-time CISO, many organizations find it challenging to comply with regulations. However, a vCISO knowledgeable in cybersecurity compliance regulations can quickly develop a strategy and execute plans that strictly adhere to privacy laws and other necessary compliances.


With a vCISO, organizations can improve their cybersecurity posture, develop robust incident response plans, comply with regulations—and allow themselves more time to focus on other business-critical matters. In addition, organizations can leverage the expertise of the vCISO to perform security assessments and identify areas that need improvement. From supervising the development, implementation, and creation of effective programs to increasing security resilience, vCISOs act as examiners, assessors, and auditors to create fool-proof cybersecurity infrastructures tailored for any organization’s needs. In addition, organizations searching for vCISOs can partner with reliable cybersecurity firms to use their services according to their unique requirements.

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