By the end of 2024, the number of MSPs and MSSPs offering vCISO services is expected to increase nearly 5-fold, as shown in Figure 1. This incredible increase reflects growing enterprise demand for specialized cybersecurity expertise and opportunities lucrative for MSPs. and MSSP in vCISO services.
|Figure 1: vCISO service offering timeline|
The Status of the Virtual CISO Status Survey Report by Global Surveyz, an independent survey company, commissioned by Cynomi, provides an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing MSPs and MSSPs today. The report shares insights from 200 security and IT leaders at MSPs and MSSPs of all sizes, all focused on security. It highlights the growing trend in vCISO offering, including the reasons behind this trend, potential blockers for MSP/MSSP and how to overcome them.
Planned 480% increase in vCISO service offerings
Currently, only 19% of MSPs and MSSPs offer vCISO services. This relatively low percentage reflects the current state of the industry, where vCISO services are still an emerging market.
The vCISO role is designed to provide organizations with high-level cybersecurity expertise without the need to hire a full-time executive. This allows businesses to access critical security information and leadership in a flexible and cost-effective manner. However, despite these apparent benefits, adoption of vCISO offering among MSPs and MSSPs has been slow.
The vCISO landscape is expected to change dramatically by the end of 2024. According to the report, the percentage of MSPs and MSSPs offering vCISO services will reach 86%, a phenomenal increase in less than two years!
vCISO Services – A Lucrative Opportunity
The appeal of vCISO services is not limited to one reason, as shown in Figure 2. 44% of respondents identified the main benefit of vCISO services as the ability to sell more products and services. Upselling helps increase sales without having to acquire new customers, which is a significant advantage for MSPs/MSSPs.
Closely following upsell capability, 43% of respondents highlighted increased margins as a significant benefit. Integrating vCISO services contributes to healthier bottom lines and financial stability.
Finally, 42% of respondents highlighted the role of vCISO services in improving customer security. By demonstrating their commitment to security, MSPs/MSSPs can assure their customers that their information is in safe hands, which builds customer loyalty and improves the MSPs/MSSPs’ reputation in the marketplace.
|Figure 2: Key benefits of adding vCISO services to the MSP/MSSP offering|
The difficult path to vCISO services
Yet the path to vCISO success is not without obstacles, as shown in Figure 3. Respondents believe they need professional in-house cybersecurity and compliance expertise to provide vCISO services. More than a third believe they have limited security or compliance knowledge, preventing them from adding vCISO services to their offering.
The initial investment required to build a vCISO offering is also a potential barrier in the eyes of MSPs/MSSPs. This includes investing in staff training and development as well as tools and technologies that support the vCISO role.
Another significant challenge is the shortage of qualified cybersecurity personnel. The vCISO field is highly specialized. Finding qualified people with the necessary expertise can be difficult.
|Figure 3: Top challenges faced by MSPs/MSSPs in delivering vCISO services|
Hiring cybersecurity experts is a major barrier to offering vCISO services
91%, almost all of those surveyed, believe that offering vCISO services requires expanding their cybersecurity team. However, the same study reveals a worrying obstacle: 63% of respondents cannot afford to hire new cybersecurity professionals.
This affordability barrier could hinder MSPs/MSSPs’ ability to expand into vCISO services, despite the enormous benefits. One potential solution could be software-based, allowing MSPs and MSSPs to leverage digitalization and technology to expand their offerings without having to grow their teams.
Security Strategies in 2024 for MSPs and MSSPs
The report sheds light on the future business and security strategies expected from MSPs and MSSPs. According to the findings, the majority of MSPs and MSSPs expect significant growth through 2024. This growth will be focused on expanding their cybersecurity offerings, improving operational efficiencies, and improving profitability. A key part of this growth strategy is the vCISO service offering. This strategy is also consistent with the perceived benefits of vCISO services: increasing margins and improving customer cybersecurity.
By offering vCISO services, MSPs and MSSPs can provide their clients with personalized security strategies and security leadership, without the need for a full-time in-house CISO. This not only enables MSPs/MSSPs to meet the needs of their clients, but also positions those who choose to offer vCISO services at the forefront of the cybersecurity market.