#HowTo: Identify and Appoint the Right Security Partner for Your Organization

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In the field of cybersecurity, finding a partner you trust can be daunting. It’s an area that still creates uncertainty within many organizations, so it’s no wonder many cybersecurity executives may be hesitant to make this move.

But given the mounting list of CISO challenges, from justifying resource requirements to demonstrating a team’s effectiveness, more and more organizations are looking into outsourcing some, or all, of their cybersecurity.

So, how do you know if partnering is right for you?

The Advantages of Partnering with a Security Provider

Many people wait until after they have suffered an attack or been dinged on a compliance audit to look for a partner, putting them in a rushed situation to make a selection. However, creating a symbiotic relationship takes time – and if done correctly, is a great way to help improve your cyber posture in both the near and long-term.

The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us how quickly businesses can be disrupted. With budgets being cut and further scrutinized, and the on-going shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals, outsourcing cybersecurity has become part of the new normal. Partnering with a security provider, such as a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service provider, is a great way to stretch your security budget.

Having 24/7 monitoring is essential but building your own in-house Security Operations Center (SOC) is often complex, time consuming and expensive – and for most small to mid-size businesses, rarely practical. It is often more effective to focus on your strengths and outsource the rest to a service provider who is staffed full of dedicated, security experts, that can help fill those gaps.

How to Find Your Ideal Security Partner

Once you’ve decided to outsource some, or all, of your security needs, you must decide what to look for. With an internal team, you have certain expectations of your teammates and how you can rely on them in critical situations. The same should be said for an outsourced cybersecurity partner; even though they are not sitting within your organization, they become an extension of your team.

To find the right partner, you must understand where your team’s strengths lie and what skills are still needed. Finding complimentary skills is one of the best ways to take full advantage of a partnership. For cybersecurity, look for a partner that not only has the skills and resources needed to quickly respond to security incidents, but one that also helps guide your overall cybersecurity journey.

A true partner does not prioritize selling you the latest tools or services; rather they focus on improving the security outcomes for your company. Equally important are the culture and values of the partner organization – but this is not always easy to assess. Start by getting references, talking to senior management, and knowing what’s important to your organization. For example, if you value open communication, are their senior management team willing to share their mobile numbers?

Understanding the benefits of each unique security provider is an important aspect of finding the right partner.

Asking the Right Questions

When searching for a partner, how do you know when you’ve found the right one? It’s often more complex than selecting one who ticks all the boxes. Many may sell you on ideals but it’s crucial they also follow through with what they sell. Here are some critical questions to ask yourself that will help you make an educated choice:

  • Do they provide transparency and trackable metrics?
  • Will you receive insights into your cyber risk and recommendations for improvement?
  • How will they increase your efficiency in achieving cybersecurity management outcomes?
  • Are they able to customize their service to meet your changing business needs?
  • Do you have similar preferred methods of communication?
  • Are they fully compliant with industry best practices?
  • Can you visualize the value they would bring to your team?

Ensuring a Successful Security Partner Relationship

The more closely you work with your security partner, the more successful the partnership will be.

It is vital that your partner has a strong understanding of your organization and your high value assets, to ensure they’re protecting what matters most. Utilize your partner’s experience to learn about different cyber-attack trends and how to best mitigate your risk.

As your partner helps you mature your cybersecurity program, you should be able to see a measurable change throughout the partnership and be able to track metrics over time. By providing insightful security metrics and regular communication to your board, you will gain confidence that you are building a more secure organization as well as create a cybersecurity culture where everyone feels as if they are part of the solution.

Once you find the right partner, you will be enabled for success not only tomorrow but for the long-term future.

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