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Five Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Cybersecurity Provider

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As cyberattacks continue to threaten organizations of all sizes, many cybersecurity professionals have chosen to outsource their network safety to cybersecurity providers. This can be a useful way to secure your informational assets, safely share data, and maintain operations; however, before working with any provider, it’s important to ask the right questions to determine if they will be a good choice for you.

Here are five crucial questions you should be asking cybersecurity providers before you decide to outsource to them.

“What steps do you take to keep information safe?”

What you’re looking for is an IT services provider with stringent policies and expectations in place. The service should preferably be manned by an in-field expert on cybersecurity who best understands how to verify identity and eliminate unauthorized data access.

A good provider would have policies in place to protect information. It’s reasonable to expect an outline of the practices and policies that would be used to secure your network in much the same way that others’ data is also preserved.

At a minimum, organizations should demand a provider that offers comprehensive methods, including two-factor authentication. With this form of verification, reliance on a traditional password is accompanied by another real-time verifier, such as a custom PIN delivered to the user’s device or email account.

It’s also worthwhile to consider the cybersecurity management service’s database of known threats, as well as whether active scanning against those risks is offered. Another factor could be reliance on “Zero Trust” policies, which lead to additional verification that generally keeps data safer.

“How do you handle and secure critical information?”

The key, in this case, is to promote peace of mind. Most service providers today tend to offer a traditional route that restricts information sharing by improving verification and enforcing active tiers as to who can view and use data. On the backend, it’s also helpful to offer custom forms of encryption that keep the info unreadable to any outsider (or policy cheating insider) that gains access.

In particular, a focus on reliability is important. Is the information stored in a geo-redundant manner that makes it accessible? What security measures are employed to protect it? Don’t be shy about asking – any truly effective cybersecurity expert will have an answer that passes the sniff test.

It can also be helpful to consider some of the provider’s previous body of work, including its ability to thwart attacks for comparable companies. By looking at this, you’ll be better positioned with a cybersecurity firm that you know has a strong understanding of the risks and remediation.

“How complex is the system, and how easy is it for staffers to comply?”

The bottom line is that overly complex or over-burdening services could potentially do more harm than good. For example, they can be overly restrictive, resulting in your own staff being unable to do their work because it is too difficult to access the corporate network. Another unpleasant side effect is that staff members may try to circumvent the security measures, resulting in unanticipated threats. While the ideal cybersecurity system should prevent users from evading it, this nonetheless presents dangerous potential for problems.

While considering how the system is set up, it can also be useful to examine what forms of support and training are available. Onboarding a select few makes it easier to internally adapt the system and promote more effective use by all. Given how any mistake or miscue can have devastating effects, your own inner circle should be one of your most pressing concerns.

“How adaptable are your services?”

Because every business is different, there is a wide array of potential flaws that bad actors can find and exploit. To deal with such a variety of possible weaknesses, an idea security system should be suited to adapt to your own company’s needs, addressing unique security loopholes quickly and efficiently. It is also absolutely critical that the service offers active scanning against the latest emerging threats. This requires regular software updates and patches to address these vulnerabilities, and mandates that the provider is the one enforcing security patch management.

After all, information is at stake any time your company’s staff are left to their own devices.

“How do you handle security on the back end?”

Cybersecurity providers tend to either (a) outsource assessments or (b) perform this task in-house. While this may not seem like an important distinction, it can certainly help with your own internal thought process. The concept here is that you want the information accessible to as few people as possible. The focus should be on policy that considers how the provider accesses your data, including its storage, backup (in some cases), and securing.

It can also be helpful to understand how the provider’s personnel operate. Are they trusted? Are they regularly screened? Are there automations in place that could limit their ability to do harm? In most cases, the answers to these questions should be yes.

Finally, it is helpful to understand if and how your information will be stored. Assuming that the cybersecurity service is cloud based, that usually implies information is housed on a remote server to facilitate their own security methods. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this tactic, this data can potentially be exposed, whether it is in or out of your own organization’s hands.

Another concept to consider is geo-redundancy. This technology has been very good at reducing downtime and increasing access, but it can also introduce more risk because the data is potentially vulnerable from more than one physical location.

Of course, these are just some considerations to make. Just as every business is different, most cybersecurity service providers are as well, minus adhering to a few general industry standards. From your own perspective, it can be helpful to keep information as safe as possible on your own end. Consider some basic cybersecurity tenets, like maintaining software patches and updates; employing basic security software and firewalls; and promoting smart password practices that encourage unique credentials, discourage sharing, and promote multi-factor authentication.

That way, you have a solid foundation before investing in any additional coverage.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that Quest Technology Management and its roster of experts can help determine the right kind of cybersecurity coverage for your business. Visit or call (800) 326-4220 for more information – and answers to your questions.

Thank you for trusting us to help with your cybersecurity needs. Contact us any time – we’re always happy to help.


Meet the Author
Adam Burke is Quest's Vice President of Sales and Partnerships.
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