How a virtual Chief Information Security Officer can help protect sensitive data

Medical IT professionals are under more pressure than ever to protect private patient information. Facing sophisticated cyber threats, strict compliance regulations, and mountains of valuable data dispersed across multiple systems, healthcare organizations have to be strategic about safeguarding their information.

As the healthcare cybersecurity landscape rapidly evolves, it becomes increasingly critical to have a dedicated expert, or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), steering the security strategy. But given the high cost of hiring these leaders, many medical providers choose to work with a virtual CISO (vCISO) instead.

These cybersecurity specialists offer a depth of consulting expertise—without the added expense and administrative overhead of employing one—to help healthcare organizations keep medical data safe. 


What is a vCISO?

The role of a CISO is to direct an organization’s information security program with the goal of protecting sensitive data. A virtual CISO fills the same role, but works as an advisor or consultant, so you only pay for the support you need instead of having a full-time payroll expense.

Some organizations outsource their cybersecurity program entirely to a virtual officer, while others leverage consultants on a part-time project basis to augment their internal IT team. For example, a vCISO can bridge the gap during a leadership transition by helping to recruit and onboard a full-time replacement.

In any capacity, these cybersecurity experts can provide long-term value to healthcare organizations by spearheading security initiatives, such as:

  • Creating corporate security policies, procedures, and guidelines
  • Providing cybersecurity risk management and threat assessment
  • Coordinating compliance objectives and regulatory audits
  • Communicating security initiatives to executive/board leadership

By managing your security strategy and your in-house staff, a virtual CISO can handle all the heavy lifting needed to free up your hospital IT team for other strategic tasks.


Reasons to consider a virtual CISO

Every company needs a security leader, but not every organization can afford one. As a result, many medical facilities (especially smaller operations) tend to underinvest in cybersecurity safeguards—often adding these responsibilities onto IT managers’ existing workloads—which can leave sensitive data vulnerable to theft and tampering.

By partnering with a vCISO to bridge these security gaps, even the smallest hospitals can level the playing field with access to seasoned security expertise and enterprise-level solutions. More specifically, a virtual CISO can help healthcare organizations overcome the following challenges:

  • Protecting sensitive data

Healthcare organizations handle tremendous volumes of high-value patient data every day—offering hackers a wealth of private personal information to take advantage of. In fact, healthcare records have the highest price on the black market, with a value of $250 per record, compared to $5.40 for the next highest-value records (which are payment cards). Perhaps that’s why the healthcare sector attracts 41% of all cybersecurity breaches.

By leveraging a depth of information security expertise, a vCISO can develop procedures to protect highly sensitive data, helping healthcare organizations stay ahead of these threats.  

  • Maximizing a tight budget

The average compensation for a full-time CISO is more than $200,000, according to Then, there’s the administrative burden of recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining them. By contrast, a vCISO might only cost a fraction of that—dramatically reducing your payroll costs and eliminating the administrative overhead. Plus, these experts can hit the ground running to minimize onboarding time and maximize your results, with access to a team of specialists and additional resources that full-time candidates may not have.

  • Staying in compliance

In the highly regulated healthcare industry, compliance considerations are critical to guiding corporate security programs. Since qualified cybersecurity consultants have a depth of experience navigating strict regulatory standards like HIPAA for multiple organizations, they can design effective compliance protocols to align a hospital’s business strategy with the latest industry reporting standards.

  • Adapting to shifting risk factors

The recent pandemic has prompted a surge in telehealth services, as healthcare providers evolve to reach patients remotely through various channels and devices. Although modern technologies enable more convenient care options, this trend of widespread data sharing can open the door to new security risks as hackers grow more sophisticated.

To stay ahead of these increasingly advanced threats, healthcare organizations must prioritize cybersecurity as a strategic initiative. A virtual CISO can provide the leadership to support these initiatives with an eye toward the future.


Dynamic support

To safeguard against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and high-value data breaches, healthcare organizations must make digital security a strategic priority. With vCISO as a service from Dynamic Network Advisors, medical providers can get instant access to security experts to bolster their IT safety net. Leveraging this virtual expertise can help hospitals mitigate risk more efficiently and cost-effectively than by hiring their own full-time vCISO.

By partnering with existing healthcare IT teams, Dynamic can execute strategic security programs that integrate seamlessly into your operations to protect your patients and their data with the vigilance they deserve.


Contact Dynamic Network Advisors to bridge your healthcare organization’s cybersecurity skills gap with the expertise of a vCISO.