15 MIN READ

The 15 best sites to hire Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) in 2024

Updated on May 21, 2024
Platforms to find talented Chief Information Security Officers (CISO)
Toptal
  • 98% Hiring Success
  • Fast Matching within 48 hours
  • Risk-Free Trial for up to 5 Days
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CIO Partners
  • No placement fees
  • Post a job or find a tech leader
  • The effective hiring rate is 8-15%
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Robert Half
  • Millions of workers on the platform
  • Consultants to direct you to qualified experts
  • Long history of remote and local placements
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Kelly Wilson
Written by Kelly Wilson

Strategist and entrepreneur, with experience in hiring developers across various industries. Kelly has established herself as a trusted expert in identifying and recruiting top tech talent. She shares advanced tips on how to identify the right talent, create hiring strategies, develop your tech teams and much more.

Expertise: IT Recruiting, Tech, Marketing

Data is now your business’s most valuable asset. Therefore, the role of a chief information security officer is essential to protect your company’s digital existence and overall welfare. This guide to hire chief information security officers shows you the skills to look for, hiring tips, and a list of the top sites to find qualified candidates.

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Here are the top 15 sites to hire freelance Chief Information Security Officers (CISO)

Based on facts publicly available as of 01.01.2024

1. Toptal

For over a decade, Toptal has been matching organizations to elite talent across various fields. That includes companies that want to hire the best chief information security officers.

The service ensures that its clients only reach the top candidates by having all freelancers go through a rigorous screening and vetting process. Fewer than 3% of applicants pass. This ensures that only the most qualified professionals are on the platform.

“Toptal provides outstanding customer service. This makes it easy to hire top talent on a contract basis. Toptal also provides a money-back guarantee during the initial period you are working with the contracted talent. I’ve had multiple great experiences with Toptal. I highly recommend Toptal.” — Seth , verified review on Trustpilot

Pricing:

    Key Points:

    2. CIO Partners

    A former chief information officer created CIO Hire to help organizations find reliable executive talent with tech expertise. The company provides access to the top 5% of technology candidates for its client partners. Though it focuses on connecting clients with CIOs, its database also helps them hire CISOs who can manage other security professionals.

    Pricing:

      Key Points:

      • Post a position to let job seekers find you, or work with their team to find a tech leader.
      • The firm utilizes behavioral testing to evaluate candidate fit and has executed over 10,000 assessments.
      • The average 11-week hiring time might be too slow for some, but it improves the odds of a good fit.

      3. Robert Half

      This talent solutions provider offers flexible methods for staffing. You can hire a chief information security officer on your own with Robert Half Direct or let the company handle the process. The site has a long history of assisting with remote and local placements.

      Pricing:

      • Their website mentions no recruitment or job posting fees.
      • Review sites say you will pay a 175% markup for temporary hires and 33% of an employee’s first-year salary for permanent hires.

      Key Points:

      • Find millions of contract or permanent workers on the platform.
      • Their consultants can direct you to qualified CISOs.
      • They do not provide specific details about their screening process, so you may have to spend more time vetting candidates.

      4. BH Consulting

      If you would like to try the unique concept of CISO as a service, consider working with BH Consulting. Instead of having to find chief information security officers, clients purchase an annual package to get connected with a remote senior security consultant as a primary contact over a team.

      “BH Consulting worked with Red Hat Mobile to help validate and provide guidance on the security of our Mobile Application Platform. The team at BH Consulting [is] both competent and professional, providing updates and well-written reports on [the] completion of the work. We found these reports to be helpful in providing guidance on areas of improvement, as well as helping customers to understand the intricacies of the detailed checks carried out.” — Ciaran Byrne , from BH Consulting website

      Pricing:

      • The site does not list the pricing model for its subscription-based service.

      Key Points:

      • Get consulting from a team of over 20 specialists.
      • They offer pro bono work for registered charities and educational establishments.
      • As a smaller team in Ireland, they might not be right for companies looking to hire freelance chief information security officers.

      5. Boyden

      Boyden is a leadership and talent advisory firm helping its clients find executives. It specializes in leadership consulting and interim management solutions.

      Pricing:

      Key Points:

      6. Vaco

      If you are a small business looking to find a CISO, Vaco works to simplify and streamline the search through its various brands and partners. Its global ecosystem of resources allows companies to find onshore, nearshore, and offshore talent.

      Pricing:

      • Pay a percentage of the hire’s annual salary, but the site does not list the exact figure.

      Key Points:

      7. SupportFinity

      A newer solution for finding and hiring CISOs and other security talent, SupportFinity harnesses the power of AI to match freelancers, contractors, and full-time hires to businesses. You are also able to get salary estimates and hire freelance chief information security officers from a database of 1.3 billion profiles.

      Pricing:

      • The platform is free to start using, offering one complimentary job post.
      • Get 12 yearly posts for $75, 60 posts for $250, and 240 posts for $500.

        Key Points:

        • AI helps you create a job description and source talent.
        • You manage the entire hiring process yourself with the help of the system.

        8. K3 Technology

        For a part-time virtual CISO, K3 provides a tailored and flexible solution to any organization. If you fit one of the 11 industries they serve, you might benefit from using them over trying to find freelance CISOs yourself.

        Pricing:

        • You must book a call with the executive team to discuss pricing.

        Key Points:

        • This firm specializes in offering remote virtual CISO services.
        • The company’s locations are in the Western U.S., so it might not be a good fit if you are looking for someone with hours that fit an international location.

        9. Revelo

        Revelo is a top site for finding freelance CISOs from Latin America who are English-proficient and work specifically in U.S. time zones. The company also provides payroll, compliance, and tax assistance.

        Pricing:

        • Review sites say that hourly rates run from $50-$70 but mention a nonrefundable $500 deposit.

        Key Points:

        • Revelo provides a shortlist of candidates within three days and can hire in as fast as two weeks.
        • The sourcing and hiring time might not be fast enough for organizations that need immediate assistance.

        10. Y Scouts

        Y Scouts is a retained executive search firm that you can contract with over a specific period. The firm admits its prices will be higher than most other recruiters. This is because it focuses on helping companies find the top executives (including hiring CISOs) and doing so without revealing details about your organization.

        “The Y Scouts process was fast and efficient. From company info-gathering to digging into the job requirements, Y Scouts had a reason for everything. The presentation to potential candidates was extremely well done and effectively attracted extremely high-quality candidates. Ultimately, we were able to hire a candidate that exceeded our expectations.” — Chad Miraglia , review from Y Scouts website

        Pricing:

        • The site does not list pricing models but acknowledges it is a premium service with higher prices for top results.

        Key Points:

        • Their service has a 92% success rate and a six-month guarantee on executive placements.
        • The 90-day average fill rate might be too long for some companies.

        11. Intaso

        Intaso is a boutique headhunting and talent solution firm that focuses specifically on finding professionals with cyber and information expertise. As a dedicated cyber recruitment agency, you can ask for an executive search, fixed-term contract, or full team builds. Its Talent-as-a-Service model allows you to outsource the entire hiring process to their team.

        Pricing:

        • Their site does not explain their pricing models at this time, and neither do any third-party review sites.

        Key Points:

        • The site offers a convenient salary calculator to help you determine how much you should pay to hire a CISO by location, experience, sector, and company size.
        • As a younger company that started in 2020, the talent pool might not be as deep as others.

        12. Pixelated Talent

        If you are in the gaming or entertainment industry, Pixelated Talent is a niche staffing service that is ready to help you find a CISO or game developer. They put a laser-like focus on catering to these fields but also work with those in AI, IT, finance, and cybersecurity itself.

        Pricing:

        • Pixelated Talent’s site does not mention pricing models.

        Key Points:

        • This is an end-to-end solution to simplify IT hiring.
        • The service might not be for you if you are not in one of its niche industries.

        13. infosec-jobs.com

        Consider using infosec-jobs.com if you are looking for a no-frills job board that offers a direct link to candidates when hiring CISOs. The site provides a platform for cybersecurity job seekers with no spam, intrusive trackers, or ads.

        Pricing:

        • Post a single job for $197.
        • Post 5 jobs for $887.
        • Post 10 jobs for $1,675.
        • Post 20 jobs for $2,950.

          Key Points:

          • The site is on the newer side and is building a growing pool of searchable candidate profiles.
          • This option is primarily for those who want to handle the bulk of the hiring process themselves.

          14. LinkedIn

          LinkedIn remains the world’s largest social media site for professional networking. You can also use its premium Talent Solutions to engage and hire a chief information security officer.

          Pricing:

          • Recruiter Lite is $170/month for a single license or $270/month for a team of 2-5.
          • Professional and Corporate tiers require you to contact the sales team.

          Key Points:

          • You have the widest reach with LinkedIn.
          • You will have to do all of the screening and vetting and must be wary of fake profiles.

          15. Upwork

          Popular freelancing site Upwork does not have a dedicated page for hiring freelance CISOs, but you can find them with a basic search. Client reviews give you a good idea of a freelancer’s quality.

          Pricing:

          Key Points:

          • Upwork is a long-trusted freelancing platform that simplifies finding professionals.
          • You must screen and vet freelancers yourself.

          Guide to hiring great freelance Chief Information Security Officers (CISO)

          Guide to hire chief information security officers

          Every business should prioritize cybersecurity to prosper commercially by staying safe from online threats. As your company grows, this requires you to hire a chief information security officer.

          As an example, Stephen Katz became the world’s first CISO in 1995 for Citicorp/Citigroup. The company created the position in response to a series of cyberattacks. His work was clearly a success as the stock price was over eight times higher when he left the firm in 2001.

          An indicator that you are ready to add this role is when you are about to become a mid-sized firm. A recent Navisite survey found that only about a third of small businesses hire a CISO, while nearly half of mid-sized companies do.

          You should also start finding CISO candidates if you face any of the following challenges:

          • Repeated security breaches

          • Strict governance, risk, and compliance regulations

          • A complex threat environment

          • Coordination of multiple cybersecurity employees

          • Preparation for transitions, such as a merger or an IPO offering

          However, finding, hiring, and retaining a capable CISO can be a challenge because of the high demand and turnover rate. The average staff turnover rate for cybersecurity experts is unexpectedly high at 20%. At the same time, there is nearly 35% growth in the information security analyst sector.

          Fortunately, you can look at our guide to find the best sites to uncover top candidates. We also show you how to hire chief information security officers.

          Why Should You Consider Hiring a Freelance Chief Information Security Officer?

          The growth of SMBs that can profitably cater to niche markets has corresponded to the rise of fractional executives. These professionals can care for your company’s needs in vital areas without being full-time, on-site employees. This provides a refreshing level of freedom and flexibility for all parties.

          For cybersecurity, this is why you see more experts offering their services as virtual CISOs or vCISOs. When you hire a freelance chief information security officer, you have a cost-effective and convenient way to access top talent from around the globe.
          CEO of a CISO coaching and consulting firm
          “As the role has evolved, it’s actually moved further away from the keyboard of technology and more into the executive meeting room. So, the CISO’s skills have evolved, but their interactions have also really shifted.”

          What Does a Chief Information Security Officer Do?

          Naturally, any discussion of a CISO’s responsibilities also involves the word “risk.” Stephen Katz said: “The role is all about business risk… Cybersecurity is a tool for managing business risk — it is not an end in itself.”

          However, the position is not about just identifying and avoiding or eliminating risk. To accomplish that, the CISO must be able to communicate the reality of that risk to other stakeholders and leaders so they will invest in solutions that reduce threats. What does a chief security officer do in the modern age to meet that challenge?

          Yael Nagler, CEO of a CISO coaching and consulting firm, says, “As the role has evolved, it’s actually moved further away from the keyboard of technology and more into the executive meeting room. So, the CISO’s skills have evolved, but their interactions have also really shifted.”

          In a separate interview, Katz explains: “It’s the ability to articulate risk in a way that is related to the business processes in the organization. You need to be able to translate what risk means.”
          “It’s the ability to articulate risk in a way that is related to the business processes in the organization. You need to be able to translate what risk means.”

          Therefore, a primary reason why you hire a chief information security officer is to have a “technical security translator.” Determining your need for locks, barriers, and personnel is easier for brick-and-mortar operations. However, security is much more challenging in the digital realm. A CISO’s job is to make that plain and show how you can do it.

          Additionally, when you hire a dedicated CISO, your company can more easily stay compliant with increasing government regulations, whether local or international. Remember, your company is on the hook for following the rules anywhere it does business. In the digital age, that is literally worldwide.

          This is all the more important as you now likely process and retain your customers’ sensitive information, such as bank account and credit card details, as well as passwords and personal data.

          Furthermore, well-rounded cybersecurity requires having a strong offense and a solid defense, alongside many other valued contributors. A CISO is capable of overseeing all sides and coordinating their efforts. Cybersecurity experts often represent these tasks with the different colors you see below.

          If you hire a CISO, you also get these benefits:

          • A trusted advisor with the education to make sound decisions about your cybersecurity roadmap

          • An industry expert who stays aware of current trends and potential threats

          • Someone to ensure you do not invalidate your cybersecurity insurance and have to pay out of pocket for a breach

          With this support, you do not have to worry so much about cyber attacks and can focus on running your team. These advantages give you every reason to search for qualified chief information security officers for hire.

          How To Hire Chief Information Security Officers

          In a highly sophisticated field like cybersecurity, you cannot afford a misstep when hiring a freelancer CISO. The stability and strength of your company is at stake.

          The key thing is to start your search as soon as you discern a need for a CISO. Because you are looking for a trustworthy member of your executive team, you need to pay particular attention to screening and vetting.

          If you only need to hire a freelance CISO, trustworthiness is even more important. Fractional executives who work only part of the time must be completely reliable and able to work remotely on their own schedule.

          By default, a chief information security officer is a senior-level position. However, you might consider someone to be an “entry-level” CISO if they are handling the position for the first time or have less than a couple of years of experience.

          Such a professional is likely ready to lead a smaller team or work part-time with a small company. You would want to look for someone with more experience if you are larger or need an expert to correct a significant data breach.

          Much like any other C-suite executive, what determines the skill level of a CISO will often be the individual’s management and leadership experience more than any technical skills. To get a balanced perspective, discuss your company’s needs with representatives from each department your CISO will interact with and create a comprehensive list. You must also have the necessary services to perform a full background check.

          If you do not have time for all of this, consider a staffing service or freelance agency that handles the screening and vetting for you. Toptal, at the beginning of our list of sites to find freelance CISOs, can do this work.

          Skills To Look For When Hiring A Chief Information Security Officer

          One way to determine the level of qualifications when hiring a CISO is by an applicant’s certifications and experience. A bachelor’s is typical, but years of hands-on interaction and leadership can be just as valuable. Top CISOs usually have a master’s in some specialty.

          Anyone with top chief information security officer skills has a string of letters next to their name. Look for someone with the certifications that address your particular challenges and pain points. The following credentials are a good starting point:
          TitleCertified Information Systems Security ProfessionalCertified Information Security ManagerCertified in Risk and Information Systems ControlCertified Cloud Security ProfessionalSystems Security Certified Practitioner
          AcronymCISSPCISMCRISCCCSPSSCP
          PurposeEssential for senior IT careers; enables a person to evaluate vulnerabilities, identify needs, recommend solutions, and design best-in-class cybersecurity programsEquips someone to develop and manage enterprise information security programs through testing in domains of security governance, risk management, program development and management, and incident managementVerifies that the certificate holder is proficient in risk management through examinations in governance, IT risk assessment, risk response and reporting, and IT securitySpecifically recognizes the ability to design, manage, and secure data, applications, and infrastructure in the cloudDemonstrates capabilities in following cybersecurity best practices for implementing, monitoring, and administering IT infrastructure, with the exam including testing in the domains of access controls and cryptography

          Various “soft” skills are also essential for a successful CISO. Three of the top ones include:

          1. Leadership: What makes a CISO different from other tech experts is the ability to manage a team to get results. This person typically reports directly to the CEO or CIO and regularly discusses action items with the board of directors.

          2. Financial fluency: CISOs need to be able to competently express the financial impact of any action or inaction. This is key to helping other stakeholders commit to important cybersecurity initiatives.

          3. Tenacity: Since adequate cybersecurity is nonnegotiable, you need someone who sticks to the assignment until finishing the job. Most CISOs regularly work more than the standard 40-hour workweek.

          As with any assignment, look for the right cultural fit when you hire a CISO. As an integral part of your team, you need someone who will blend well with your crew.

          The Cost To Hire Chief Information Security Officers

          Though the pay rate for a freelancer CISO varies, the median base annual salary is $243,783. This equals roughly $117 per hour.

          The average CISO typically also earns another $52,000 in bonuses. The lower percentiles will make closer to $213,000 in total, while top executives rake in nearly $400,000.

          Tips for Writing a Chief Information Security Officer Job Description

          Writing a CISO job description can be more challenging than it initially appears. Too little information brings in an overwhelming amount of unqualified candidates. Too many details discourage competent job seekers or freelancers from applying.

          After clearly stating the job title as the header, the following layout works well:

          1. Company overview describing your culture and the kind of teammates you need

          2. Primary responsibilities and strategic objectives of the role

          3. Preferred and essential qualifications, skills, and experiences

          4. Compensation, benefits, and opportunities

          5. How to apply

          With the exception of the overview, you can use bullet points that focus on action words to show CISOs what someone in the role will be doing, which is most important.

          Common Interview Questions To Ask When You Are Looking To Hire a Chief Information Security Officer

          When hiring a CISO, your interview questions must go deeper than the standard queries. This is a challenge if you do not have an IT background.

          We find the questions to be effective:

          • What steps do you take to stay within budget when implementing a new security system strategy? Uncover their flexibility and reasonableness.

          • How do you explain tech jargon to staff members with an IT background? Understand the quality of the applicant’s communication skills.

          • How would you persuade a CFO or executive team to adopt new cybersecurity measures? Get a better idea of the candidate's persuasive skills.

          • Describe a time when you had to make a decision and neither option was ideal. Learn how the individual employs critical logic for difficult choices.

          • What do you consider to be the most important qualities of a CISO? Find out if the person focuses more on being a big-picture facilitator than a techie.

          Talk with other hiring managers to determine additional questions you can ask to see whether a CISO freelancer will work well with you.

          How To Find Freelance Chief Information Security Officers For Hire

          The key to success when you want to find chief information security officers as job candidates is to keep your eyes and ears open. You might try various job boards, outsourcing agencies, networking, or freelance marketplaces.

          When you want to make the process as smooth and painless as possible, we recommend examining our list of sites to hire CISOs. Find a match that meets your needs for speed of hiring while locating world-class talent. For that, we have found that Toptal can do it all.

          Finding and hiring a CISO keeps your organization safe in the digital realm. You can locate and retain top talent by understanding the market, creating an intelligent hiring strategy, and carefully vetting candidates. By doing these things, you will run a safer and more productive team.

          Frequentely Asked Questions.

          Are Chief Information Security Officers in Demand?
          It can be challenging to hire chief information security officers because they are in high demand. The job growth in the IT analyst field is much faster than average at 32%, so you have to be highly intentional and have a good strategy to succeed.
          Why Should You Hire a Chief Information Security Officer?
          You should hire a CISO when it is necessary to have a team of experts ensure cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. Mid-sized businesses, in particular, should find CISOs for their teams.
          Where Can I Hire Chief Information Security Officers?
          Five sites that do an excellent job are Toptal, Boyden, Robert Half, CIO Partners, and BH Consulting. Take a closer look at our complete list to see the advantages of these and other sites.

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