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Cybersecurity firm Pratum opens new office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - Earlier this month, cybersecurity firm Pratum opened an office in Cedar Rapids to satisfy the growing demands of its services in Eastern Iowa. Pratum president and CEO, Dave Nelson, made the decision to expand due in part to the growing threat of cybercrime and the likelihood of new and updated state regulations. “The Iowa legislature is working to update existing legislation to address cybersecurity challenges. Additionally, throughout the nation, business groups such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners are calling for state regulations to prevent cybercrime,” says Nelson.

The new Cedar Rapids office, located at 305 2nd Ave SE, is the company’s second in Iowa and fourth in the U.S. For the past decade, Pratum has served businesses throughout the state and across the country, but Nelson feels that we as a nation are just now beginning to understand the severity of cyber threats. Nelson emphasizes, “As awareness builds, companies will act to mitigate the cybersecurity risks facing their businesses. Our new office helps position us for an efficient response to the increased demand for our services.

In 2017 Pratum grew its employee count to fifteen, up 50% from 2016. The company plans to increase that number to more than twenty by the end of 2018. Pratum’s new headquarters in Ankeny, IA is under construction and is planned to open in late summer. Most employees will call headquarters home, but as is the case in Cedar Rapids, both Dallas and Kansas City offices will also increase employee headcount.

Pratum is a cybersecurity consulting and managed security services firm that helps clients solve information security challenges based on risk, not fear. Our goal is to enable every client to securely use technology to meet business objectives.

Please contact us if you have any questions about Pratum.

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Virtual CISO is an outsourced senior-level security executive.

A virtual chief information security officer (vCISO) is an outsourced senior-level security executive who is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of information security programs. Included in vCISO services is a supporting team of information security professionals who help implement the vCISOs cybersecurity vision.

The vCISO team is responsible for structuring policies and procedures to align with company culture, risk tolerance, and compliance requirements. A tailored approach is integral in the creation of an effective security program. Most vCISO engagements begin with an IT risk assessment, which identifies areas of needed improvement and helps set priorities for the security program. Once deficiencies are identified, a plan is generated to begin addressing security gaps.

Why does the Virtual CISO (vCISO) service exist?

The demand for vCISO services has rapidly grown the past few years. As information security threats increase and businesses remain the primary target, the demand for security professionals will continue to rise. The employment gap between the demand for security professionals and the supply of them is widening. This drives a competitive market for security professionals and places a major burden on companies seeking to staff for their cybersecurity needs.

This is where a vCISO offers its value. Virtual CISO services provide organizations that would otherwise not be able to hire a qualified security candidate the ability to work with an experienced CISO and security team, without increasing their organization's headcount. Many organizations don't need a fulltime CISO, they need an independent security professional to lead their organization by assessing cybersecurity issues, building a cybersecurity program, and ensuring the achievement of proper security milestones.

5 Reasons to Consider a Virtual CISO (vCISO)

  1. Expertise Across Industries:
    vCISOs work with various clients in unique industries, exposing them to opportunities not available to CISOs working in isolated verticals. The security knowledge gained by a vCISO from each unique client environment ensures continual growth and improved expertise for the security leader, which positively impacts each client the vCISO leads.
  2. Flexibility in Unique Business Environments:
    Virtual CISOs are prepared to begin working immediately with little on-boarding time and can adapt to most any setting. By their very nature, vCISOs can enter a new environment and quickly adjust as business and security demands require. vCISOs first gain a thorough understanding of each organization’s business model, company culture, risk tolerance, and objectives. From there, they gain an understanding of security risks faced by the organization. With a full view of the security landscape, the vCISO will communicate the findings to help clients make the appropriate security decisions for their environment.
  3. Efficiency with Core Competencies:
    A virtual CISO fills in the security gaps where organizations need it most. By focusing on cybersecurity strategy and implementation, vCISOs relieve internal teams of the daunting responsibility. This enables both internal staff and cybersecurity professionals to remain dedicated to their respective core competencies.
  4. Objective Independence:
    vCISOs are not swayed by internal politics or personal career goals. vCISOs are an independent third party with an objective viewpoint and goals of helping clients make the best security decisions for their business.
  5. Economical:
    Pratum’s vCISO programs generally cost a fraction of a full-time CISO and supporting security team. According to SilverBull's May 2016 report, the Median salary for a CISO is $223,000 per year. The base salary doesn't even include the expenses incurred with additional employee headcount. On average, Pratum's vCISO clients pay a fraction of what it would cost to hire an in-house CISO. vCISO clients also gain access to the expertise of an entire team, which eliminates the inherent skills gap of a single employee.

What types of businesses are using vCISOs?

There are organizations of all sizes in various industries that are benefiting from vCISO services. For example, at Pratum we work with businesses in healthcare, manufacturing, technology, analytics, printing, marketing, insurance, retail, and finance. Regardless of the industry, technology plays a major role in operating a business, and with technology comes security risk.

Each business is unique, and every organization handles risk differently. However, the approach is the same with every organization. First, a vCISO helps an organization understand its risk, and second, the vCISO helps organizations make the appropriate security decisions to align with business objectives.

To learn more, follow this link to Pratum’s Virtual CISO service.

Learn More About vCISO

On January 3, 2018, two new high severity vulnerabilities were disclosed. The vulnerabilities are named Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 & CVE-2017-5715). The vulnerabilities are inherent to certain computer processors and how memory is protected. Specifically, the vulnerabilities target how malicious applications could access protected memory reserved for an operating system kernel, thus causing leakage of protected sensitive data.

Intel has reported they have been working with various developers of operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Linux distribution for several months to address these issues. A press release from Intel states they were planning to release this information the week of January 8, 2018. We believe this indicates that Microsoft was likely planning to issue a patch during the normal January 9, 2018 patch cycle. The patch for Windows 10 from Microsoft was released out of cycle and became available at 5PM EST yesterday, January 3, 2018. Customers who are not using automated Windows Updates should apply this patch as soon as possible. Patches for other Microsoft operating systems have not been released yet.

Customers should continue to monitor security updates from vendors of operating systems to determine when a patch will become available for their products.

At this time, there are no other actions users can take to mitigate this issue. Affected hardware and software will need to be patched once vendors release these security updates. Once these updates are released, vulnerability scanners will be updated to identify systems which are missing these patches.

Pratum advises all customers to continually update vulnerability scanning signatures and profiles to check for existence of these patches. Customers of Pratum’s managed vulnerability scanning service will automatically receive these updates and no additional action is needed.

Pratum customers who have questions or concerns about these vulnerabilities should contact the support team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If you are not a current customer of Pratum but would like guidance on how to address this or other vulnerabilities, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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