6 Questions to ask before investing in a cybersecurity partner

6 Questions to ask before investing in a cybersecurity partner

Cyberattacks are at an all-time high. Ransomware continues to plague everyone from local Kansas hospitals to international brands like Garmin. Hackers create more dangerous malware strains, and online scams taking advantage of the global health crisis are growing in popularity.

There are plenty of cybersecurity providers that are willing to protect you from these threats, but choosing them can be a challenge. You’ll have to sift through dozens of potential options and hear a good amount of technical jargon that you just don’t have time to learn.

To make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask before partnering with a security provider.

1. Do you conduct security assessments?

Any cybersecurity partner who doesn’t understand your current security framework won’t be able to recommend the best solutions for your company. They’ll likely push expensive products and services that your company may not even need.

Before making recommendations, top-notch cybersecurity providers assess your IT infrastructure and business processes for weaknesses that may lead to potential security incidents.

They perform vulnerability scans and risk assessments to find the gaps in your systems. First-rate providers even conduct penetration tests, in which ethical hackers use real-world hacking techniques to determine the strength of your company’s security framework.

These security assessments will give providers true insight into your cyber defenses and allow them to suggest solutions that can greatly minimize your security risk. For instance, if a penetration test reveals that your network is susceptible to attacks, a top-notch partner may recommend stronger firewalls and intrusion prevention systems.

2. What security solutions do you offer?

Cybercriminals are relentless, using every tactic in their arsenal to compromise vulnerable systems. It’s for this reason that you need a security advisor that offers industry-leading tools to protect your business from all angles.

More specifically, you must seek out providers that implement a multilayered security framework comprised of the following solutions:

  • Enterprise-grade firewalls like Sophos XG firewalls to actively inspect network traffic for malicious activity and blocks detected intrusions
  • Antivirus software to scan for and remove malware from computer systems
  • Endpoint management software such as Microsoft Intune to oversee company-registered devices from a single dashboard, set device access privileges, and wipe contents of lost or compromised devices
  • Patch management to distribute the latest security updates from a single console
  • Email security solutions to prevent fraudulent emails from reaching user inboxes and to limit users’ ability to share sensitive information via email
  • Virtual private network to create a secure internet connection that encrypts the data users transmit from their devices through a network, hiding their online activity
  • Account security utilizing multifactor authentication and role-based access restrictions so that unauthorized users can’t easily access company systems
  • Data backups like Datto’s File Backup and Sync to store data in secure cloud servers that can be accessed with authorized devices at any time

3. How qualified are your technicians?

When vetting a prospective cybersecurity partner, it’s critical to assess the expertise of both the company’s leaders and the technicians who will be looking after your systems.

Ask whether security consultants hold base-level qualifications such as CompTIA Security+, Sysadmin, Audit, Network, and Security (SANS), and Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) certifications.

It’s also worth teaming up with technicians who have specialized qualifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP).

These certifications demonstrate that a prospective cybersecurity partner possesses the skills and knowledge required to secure your IT infrastructure.

Equally important to certifications is the security provider’s track record with current and previous clients. Make sure to check reviews and testimonials, and ask them about specific security issues they’ve handled in the past. This will show you what the security provider is capable of and the level of service to expect should you choose to work with them.

4. How much experience do you have in my industry?

Security partners well-versed in compliance management is a must, especially if you’re in highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance. However, not all security experts are familiar with industry-specific data privacy and security regulations.

Initiatives such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS have different, nuanced requirements on how to ensure the safety of sensitive information.

Your partner should therefore have decades of experience and a good track record of helping similar companies in your industry minimize security risks and achieve compliance. The easiest way to confirm this is by requesting for their case studies and client portfolios.

If they serve a long list of companies in your industry, that’s a good sign. This means that they’re well aware of what compliance and security protocols must be in place, how to walk you through a risk assessment, and what to report to government agencies to ensure compliance.

5. Do you provide 24/7 monitoring?

Having 24/7 monitoring means a team of experts are proactively looking for anomalies and unusual behaviors that may indicate a threat. Examples of these behaviors include unusual spikes in downloads being made from company databases or high counts of login attempts to corporate accounts.

First-rate experts can identify these threats and address them right away, so they don’t become serious, business-ending problems in the future.

6. What’s your strategy for when a security incident occurs?

Threats are ever-evolving and often quickly outpace current security measures. And although a good partner will do their utmost to close the gaps in your cybersecurity framework, they also have contingency plans when threats slip through the cracks.

A top-quality security provider formulates and fully tests an incident response plan tailored to your business. This response plan must outline everything from threat identification to containment to eradication.

Their technicians should be willing to provide on-site support and launch full-scale investigations to address complex issues and ensure the same threats don’t occur again.

Your provider's servers must also be fully backed up and stored in multiple locations to ensure your data remains intact in case one set of backups fail. If your provider can’t at least do this much, your company’s long-term survival is in doubt.

Finding a trustworthy security partner is a difficult decision, but it’s one that has long-lasting repercussions for your business. If you’re looking for leading security partners in Kansas and Wichita, Summit Advisors is the partner for you.

We provide comprehensive vulnerability assessments, robust security solutions, and a team of security experts at your beck and call. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can keep your business safe.

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