Cyber attacks are still a fundamental threat faced by SMBs in the US, with statistics revealing that the country will lose $452 billion to cybercrime in 2024. In addition to financial losses, business leaders are concerned about the reputational damage and legal consequences of data breaches and other cyber incidents. A chief information security officer (CISO) is a foolproof way to avoid these attacks and protect your company's sensitive information and assets. While some companies can jump right in and hire a full-time CISO, others opt for a virtual CISO (vCISO) for a good reason.

Virtual CISOs are cost-effective compared to hiring a full-time employee. They also offer better flexibility in terms of engagement duration and scalability. This blog discusses the cost of a virtual CISO and the reasons to hire one.

The Cost of a Virtual CISO

Generally, the amount you will pay for a virtual CISO service is determined by several factors, including the range of services they offer. For instance, a vCISO who provides basic security assessments and policy development costs less than one offering ongoing management, monitoring, and incident response. Other factors influencing vCISO cost include the industry experience, size of the organization, and contract duration for the vCISO service. With that said, there are three typical pricing models for virtual CISO services:

  • Hourly rate: The hourly rate of vCISOs ranges from $20 to $32, depending on their expertise and experience. This pricing model suits companies requiring ad hoc security consultations or support.

  • Monthly retainer: A monthly virtual CISO cost involves a fixed fee for a predetermined number of hours in a month. It also offers more reliable and consistent security support. The cost of this model ranges from $2000 to $20,000 per month.

  • Project-based: Virtual CISOs may charge a fixed price for specific projects such as vulnerability risk assessments, regulatory assessments, and disaster recovery processes. The cost of project-based engagements also varies based on the scope and complexity of the project at hand. However, this cost can range from $5000 to $50000 or more.

What Is the Best Virtual CISO?

There is no shortage of companies offering virtual CISO services. However, not all these services are cut to fit your specific needs. The best vCISO should provide strategic support to better define and implement security controls in the short and long term. Here are some of the qualities that define the best vCISO service:


With the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, you need an experienced virtual CISO who has dealt with various cyber threats and regulatory cases and knows how to adapt your company to the best industry practices. Hire a vCISO cybersecurity team with extensive experience in tech security and business risk. At Trava, we give you the same high level of expertise and benefits of a seasoned, highly certified full-time CISO for a fraction of the cost.


Most US companies are subjected to laws, regulations, as well as standards related to cybersecurity and privacy. The best vCISO should help maintain compliance with minimal business disruption. At Trava, our services support various compliance programs, including SOC2, PCI DSS, CIS, HIPAA, CPRA, PIPEDA, and GDPR.

Diversified Staff

Depending on the threat landscape and your ongoing projects, you may need different skills at different times. The ideal vCISO service boasts a team of diversified specialists with a background in cybersecurity, risk management, data privacy, and compliance. At Trava, our team has decades-long experience, including penetration testing expertise. We can also support administrative tasks such as risk assessments, compliance, and training.


Today's business landscape is as dynamic as ever, meaning your cybersecurity requirements keep evolving. A quality virtual CISO service should not offer a one-size-fits-all solution but customized services to suit your business situation and cybersecurity requirements. At Trava, we work with our clients to craft custom and scalable solutions to keep you ahead of emerging cybersecurity threats.

Why Hire a Virtual CISO?

A CISO is a senior-level executive responsible for developing and implementing robust cybersecurity strategies to safeguard the organization's digital infrastructure. Some day-to-day virtual CISO responsibilities include risk assessment, physical security management, and vulnerability assessment.

Here are some of the benefits of a vCISO:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Hiring a full-time CISO can be expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. A virtual CISO is more cost-effective since you only pay for the services you require. This also enables you to access top-tier expertise without incurring unsustainable costs.

  • Flexibility: Virtual CISOs provide unmatched flexibility in meeting your company's unique needs and requirements. They can offer services on demand and scale them up or down as needed. Such an attribute makes them ideal for businesses with fluctuating security needs.

  • Access to a broader pool of talent: vCISOs offer a wider talent pool that can help you tap into the expertise of top cybersecurity professionals without being limited to geographical constraints. As a result, you stand to benefit from better cybersecurity strategies and outcomes to counter increasingly complex threats.

  • Compliance assistance: Virtual CISOs can help your company meet your cybersecurity compliance obligations. They create strategies and implement plans tailored to your company's compliance needs so you stay ahead of potential risks and avoid expensive non-compliance penalties.

What Is the Role of a Virtual CISO?

To decide the best vCISO pricing, it is also crucial to understand the roles these services play in your cybersecurity goals. Here are some of the critical roles:

  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive information security strategy that suits the company's goals and objectives

  • Create and enforce security policies, procedures, as well as best practices to protect digital assets

  • Perform vulnerability risk assessments to identify, assess, and address cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities

  • Oversee the adoption of cybersecurity frameworks such as NIST 800-53 and ISO 27002

  • Lead regulatory assessments to ensure business complies with relevant cybersecurity regulations, industry standards, and legal requirements

  • Develop incident response plans and coordinate disaster recovery processes and procedures to mitigate breaches and attacks on a business

  • Train employees about cybersecurity best practices and raise awareness regarding potential threats and vulnerabilities

  • Assess the security management of third-party vendors and manage vendor relationships to reduce security risks.

Tap Into Trava vCISO Services to Improve Your Cybersecurity Posture

In today's digital age, cybersecurity is not just an option but a necessity. As cyber threats become more complex, businesses seek expert guidance from CISOs to fortify their defenses. A quality virtual CISO service can be a flexible, cost-effective solution that provides access to top-tier cybersecurity expertise without needing a full-time executive.

At Trava, we have deployed our vCISO services across various organizations and multiple markets. We provide strategic guidance, leadership, and expertise to proactively secure your digital assets. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.