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Businesses in all shapes and sizes and have various cybersecurity needs, primarily based on the data they store and the type of systems they protect.
Within these business environments there often are technology resources that support and protect the business by implementing security programs or various risk reduction measures.
One important aspect of developing your cybersecurity program is ensuring there are checks and balances to verify that the work being done is adding value to your business and reducing organizational risk.
Developing partnerships with external vendors for the purpose of testing your cybersecurity is extremely important to help achieve your business goals. Even the most experienced and well-trained security professionals inside or assisting your organization need some type of oversight.
An important distinction to point out is the difference between a vendor and partnership relationship.
A vendor relationship may often be short-lived and for a specific engagement. Once the work that was commissioned has been completed a vendor will be on to their next customer, never to be heard from again.
When you work with a partner, they have a vested interest in ensuring that you not only complete your initial goals but continually are focused on the steps to improve your cybersecurity posture.
The successes and failures often are viewed as a reflection of the ability of your partner to make meaningful change with your cybersecurity practices.
Cybersecurity can be a very complex world because there frequently are many variables that need to be considered when evaluating the overall cybersecurity posture. Any significant gap or misstep within your cybersecurity program could affect the business survival.
Working with a company that has a strong reputation for cybersecurity that can understand your business and provide quality work is a step in the right direction.
Always ask your partners for references before starting your relationship. Having insights to what other businesses of a similar size or industry can be telling in how you may work together.
Use any networks and relationships you have with other businesses in your vertical to find out with whom they work and how they started their relationship.
Talk to your IT teams about people they know and cybersecurity firms they are familiar with that can help bring resources to the table.
Performing the tactical work and being able to deliver on the goals and objectives is obviously at the heart of the engagement.
A strong cybersecurity partner will bring industry, technical, compliance and governance expertise to the table to look through many different types of lenses.
A strong partner also will be able to holistically understand the challenges and opportunities they see within your organization and communicate and provide a vision for a better future.
External security partners are going to look for blind spots that may seem adequately addressed but are found to have significant gaps or missed entirely. These partners also are plugged into different company cultures and have visibility to many different scenarios that you may have never seen before.
When you partner with an organization to help your cybersecurity needs, you not only are paying for the tactical work being performed — you also are paying for the experience they have and consultation they can provide with years of experience assisting other businesses.
A validation by an external party to ensure there are no major holes in your cybersecurity program is the preferred route and a necessary step to keep your business protected.
Paul Nus is the director of technology at Folience, The Gazette’s parent company, and a board member of SecMidwest, a Cedar Rapids-based not-for-profit focused on cybersecurity education; SecMidwest.org.