Navigating the Cyber Sea: Finding the Right Cybersecurity Partner

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Many businesses are currently in the process of navigating the vast “Cyber Sea” in search of a security partner to help them protect their environments. I know this task has many difficulties because I faced them during my time spent as an IT Director.  The more obvious difficulties included the amount of time and effort involved, but the biggest challenge I ended up facing was finding the right partnership.  I decided to write this blog to share some of the key insights I learned along the way, and to provide a how-to guide for others as they search for the right cybersecurity partner.

Finding a “good” security partner should always begin with conversations about your goals, objectives and any known gaps in your current security posture.  This first contact should NOT be a sales pitch for tools, products, and pricing.  A common issue with cybersecurity today is that it’s being driven by groups trying to quickly sell products, just so they can move on to the next opportunity.  Those are not true partners. Think about it like this­­­, how do you start the conversation when you’re hiring a new employee? Do you begin by discussing their salary? Benefits?  Vacation time?  No!  You start the conversation off by discussing their background, experience, and depth of understanding necessary to the position. So why doesn’t it make sense to have a similar conversation when you’re interviewing a cybersecurity partner?  A true partner will focus on efficiencies, value-added features, time-saving measures, ROI and how to make you and your staff look better to executives.  None of this can happen until your partner understands your company’s needs, and it won’t happen if they are not asking the right questions.

Another key attribute you should look for in your cybersecurity partner is innovation. The team you want to work with will be forward thinking with a long-range perspective that spans years in advance. A partner with a mentality from five or ten years ago is the last thing you need. For instance, let’s look at the penetration testing and vulnerability scanning that most companies complete once a year for their audit routing. With the IT landscape shifting like it is, companies should opt to run this scan once a month, or at minimum, once a quarter. You need real-time data to help you make real-time decisions and your security partner should be able to help you identify future needs.

If you’re having these initial conversations and focusing in on finding someone with a forward-thinking mentality, then the right relationship should naturally present itself. In the sport of racing, it is imperative for the pit crew to monitor the tires, the engine, the driver and even the other drivers. The same should be true for your cybersecurity partner. They are your pit crew, helping with monitoring, detecting and responding to impending threats inside and outside the company.

We have entered into an era where cybersecurity is no longer just “nice to have”, it is an absolute necessity and, in my opinion, the lifeblood of any business. Cyber-attacks are happening every moment of every day, so businesses cannot continue relying on luck alone to keep them safe; a solid plan must be in place.  I hope some of these tips will help you on your journey to finding the right cybersecurity partner.

To the success of your security,

Jason Miller

 
Jason Miller