Top 12 vCISO Influencers You Need To Be Following

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The Virtual CISO or “vCISO” concept has been gaining traction of late, as companies face unprecedented cyber risks. Hiring a full-time CISO is not always feasible, and so vCISOs – a fractional model where an external CISO provides services to a number of companies – have become extremely popular.

The vCISO role is still evolving, with the definition of this role or service still being finalized or agreed upon. There are many perspectives, thoughts, and thought leaders in this space that are contributing to this role. As such, it’s critical to be in the loop and ensure you’re up to date, following the opinion leaders who shape this field.

These are the people worth following in order to keep yourself up to date about this increasingly important topic.


Before we jump in, here is a quick primer on vCISOs.

Cyberattacks are increasing. Not a day goes by without a headline about some company experiencing a ransomware attack, data breach, or some other form of cyber strike. This makes sense; why rob a bank, when a cybercriminal can generate a massive payday, without taking their fingers off a keyboard?

Add in nationalistic and government-sponsored attacks, and the cyber landscape looks daunting indeed.

Large enterprises can afford a full-time Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO, to manage these risks and set out strategic policies to ensure that the company stays protected.

For SMEs and SMBs however, it’s not so easy. Thus vCISOs, or virtual CISOs, become fractional CISOs for multiple companies. Of late, many service providers such as MSPs, MSSPs, and consultants, have begun offering vCISO services.

With that intro out of the way, let’s jump into our top vCISO influencers!

1. Greg Schaffer

LinkedIn: Greg Schaffer, vCISO, Author, Podcaster
Twitter: @newtnoise
Podcast: The Virtual CISO Moment podcast

Greg is the driver behind vCISO Services, LLC, as well as The Virtual CISO Moment podcast. With 33 years of experience in information technology and security, including over 15 years at the CISO level, Greg is an industry expert and is delighted to share his knowledge with the community.

2. Dr. Eric Cole

LinkedIn: Dr. Eric Cole, Cybersecurity Expert
Twitter: @drericcole
Personal websites:

Dr. Eric Cole is a cybersecurity expert who has been helping businesses improve their cybersecurity for over 30 years. He’s the CEO and Founder at Secure Anchor Consulting, the author of “Cyber Crisis,” a SANS Institute faculty Fellow and course author, and a member of the Forbes Technology Council. He often posts value-adding content including fascinating articles and infographics and provides vCISO training.

3. Rob Black

LinkedIn: Rob Black, Virtual CISO to SaaS companies, building cyber programs. | vCISO | Fractional CISO | SOC 2 | Cybersecurity Consulting
Twitter: @IoTSecurityGuy
Personal website:

Rob is a leading social media expert when it comes to vCISOs, and also focuses on founders to help them tell their cybersecurity story to enable sales. Rob has participated in many Podcasts, Webinars and other events as a thought leader and discussing issues pertinent to vCISOs, as well as general cybersecurity issues. He is the founder and CEO of Fractional CISO, which specializes in vCISO services.

4. Jim Tiller

LinkedIn: Jim Tiller, Executive | CISO | Security Strategy | Business Leader | Cybersecurity Author | Patent Holder

Jim is an internationally recognized cybersecurity authority, with over 25 years of cyber risk management, and security technology experience. This experience enables him to understand both the C-Suite and Board-level perspectives, as well as deep technical areas. In his current position, he leads the vCISO practice of Harvey Nash Group, This passion comes through in Jim’s social media activity, with thought-provoking articles and opinions.

5. Michelle Drolet

​​LinkedIn: Michelle Drolet, Operationalizing Cyber Security by building security solutions that safeguard your most critical assets.
Twitter: @Michelledrolet2

Michelle speaks about cyber risks, compliance issues, as well as making cybersecurity accessible to all. She is a sought-after speaker, and panelist, and is a regular contributor to leading online publications such as Forbes Technology Council,, and IDG CSO Online.

6. Chris Roberts

​​LinkedIn: Chris Roberts, CISO, Senior Director, Researcher, and Hacker
Twitter @Sidragon1

Chris is humorous, knowledgeable, and engaging. Check out his featured content to start and follow him for his ongoing thoughts and opinions. You won’t regret it.

7. Joe Panettieri

​​LinkedIn: Joe Panettieri, Angel Investor, Tech Media Entrepreneur
Twitter: @joepanettieri
Personal website:

Joe is an angel investor, a tech media entrepreneur, and, as he puts it, an “alleged” MSSP & MSP market expert. As co-founder of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, he is central to shaping the perspective on the vCISO role.

8. Andrew Morgan

​​LinkedIn: Andrew Morgan, Founder at The Cyber Nation

Andrew is the founder of The Cyber Nation, and the host of The Cyber Call. He is focused on the nexus of MSPs, MSSPs, and security, and brings strong industry experience together with a balanced perspective incorporating other business areas such as sales, professional services, data centers, the software industry, and Software as a Service (SaaS). He hosts a podcast called The Cybercast which covers different security controls and is built especially for MSPs, MSSPs, and IT Practitioners, and is the founder of Right of Boom, an MSP-focused cybersecurity conference – which Cynomi will take part in this year, and we’d love to see you there.

9. Steve Morgan

​​LinkedIn: Steve Morgan
Twitter: @CybersecuritySF
Websites: (Company), (Blog)

Steve is the founder of Cybersecurity Ventures, the Editor-in-Chief at Cybercrime Magazine, and the Executive Producer at Cybercrime Radio. He’s also written or co-authored fascinating articles and books such as “Hacker’s Movie Guide: The Complete List of Hacker & Cybersecurity Movies” and “Women Know Cyber: 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime.” Very worthwhile to follow and learn from.

10. Naomi Buckwalter

​​LinkedIn: Naomi Buckwalter, Information Security Leader | Nonprofit Director | Keynote Speaker | LinkedIn Learning Instructor

Naomi is a LinkedIn Learning instructor and presents the course, “Building The Next Generation of Cybersecurity Professionals.” Her non-profit venture Cyber Security Gate Breakers was founded in order to close a demand gap in cyber security. She is an inspiring vCISO, a cybersecurity career adviser, and a mentor for people around the world. Her passion is helping people get into cybersecurity.

11. William Birchett

LinkedIn: William Birchett, CCISO, CISSP, CISM, CISA
Twitter: @wbirchett

William Birchett is the president of Logos Systems, and the founder of the vCISO network. With a background in novel technologies, network and security operations, and global relationship management, Birchett posts thought-provoking content around cybersecurity awareness, learning, and the emerging vCISO landscape.

12. Donna Gallaher

​​LinkedIn: Donna Gallaher
Twitter: @donnacgallaher

Donna is a vCISO, a Board advisor, and a fractional cyber security and data privacy risk advisor. Donna posts fascinating thoughts and opinions, expert advice, and a whole lot more.

vCISO influencers: The List is Growing

The field of vCISO influencers is diverse, and thought leaders come from various disciplines including MSPs, MSSPs, consultancies, service providers, pure cybersecurity backgrounds, and even large accounting firms.

Following vCISO influencers is a great way to stay abreast of industry trends, opportunities, and best practices.

While these are some of the leading vCISO influencers right now, there are many up-and-coming vCISO influencers who are incredible, and definitely worth following.

We’ll be updating this list, so make sure to check back in soon.

Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program. Read more Cynomi guest blogs here.