Why Working With a Security Consulting Partner Can Help Reduce Cyber Risk

February 8, 2021 David Finn

The market for working with a security consulting partner has increased faster than the technology space according to a recent IBIS report. Why is that?

Security used to be easy. And by security, I mean what we now call cybersecurity. Security in business used to mean the state of being safe, being free from worry or anxiety. That was easy when you could lock the doors, turn on the alarm and hire the guards. Then we had to add cyber to that and it changed everything – – now cybersecurity includes the characteristics of the culture (people and processes), information technology, and living in a reality that can be completely virtual – – in the sense that “things” do not actually exist. You cannot hold bits and bytes in your hand. People can appear to be anyone and can be anywhere while appearing to be somewhere else.

Today Cybersecurity is a Wide and Diverse Field

It is a lot more than the provision of IT support around security. It’s about needing a security consulting partner that has security consultants, security architects, penetration testers, risk managers, forensics investigators, or someone who understands your business and can translate cyber risks into the business risks that security represents to the business itself – – not to IT or security. The important thing when looking for a security consulting partner is finding an organization with wide-ranging experience, proven effectiveness, and a comprehensive set of skills.

Security Consulting Complements a Comprehensive and Continuous Strategy

Because cybersecurity, today, is a strategic function of almost every business, a robust, comprehensive security program is critical to any modern company. At the same time, almost no organization has the staff, skillsets, or time to address security comprehensively and continuously without assistance from security consulting professionals. Cybersecurity must address risk management, information assurance, and securing critical technology (hardware, software, data whether on-prem or in the cloud) and third-party risk management (partners using your data or providing services with your data or coming into your network/systems to provide service to that hardware or applications).

Cybersecurity is about locking different doors, setting different kinds of alarms, and using tools as your 24x7x365 guards. In a world of specialization, a security consulting company needs to be up to date on attacks, attackers, and their motivations and approaches. They must be creative in building defenses for attacks that may not even have occurred yet. They need to understand data, the devices, applications, networks, and the workflows and how staff access and interact with systems, applications, and data – – and who they share it with. They must think like and play both the attacker and the defender in computer systems, networks, and software programs. Seeing what weaknesses there are and figuring out how to strengthen systems, technology, people, and processes to prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities – – known and unknown.

There are some key functions that a security consulting partner such as CynergisTek can provide an organization to help mature their cybersecurity program and reduce their cyber-risk. Here are some of the reason’s organizations would want to engage a security consulting company to assist them in their security journey:

  • Assessment and Planning
  • Maximizing Investments in Security
  • Extending the in-house Security Team
  • Compliance and Regulatory Issues
  • Experience with Most Current Cybersecurity Issues

Assessment and Planning

Third-party, independent assessment of your security policies and programs in considered best practice. Even if you do not do this every year, (assuming you have not had major system changes, upgrades, or changes in IT utilities or security tools and your business model and IT requirements have not changed significantly) it should be assessed every other year to make sure that what you “built” has not shifted on the security foundation. This assessment should include physical security architecture and how it can be penetrated by attackers, detection and response capabilities related to cyber-attacks, policies and procedures governing the overall security program for the organization and if it is progressing, and the security solution design should address and handle your business goals. This is not an exhaustive list of what may or should be assessed but it should give you an idea of what a consultant can provide. Additionally, a team of security consulting professionals should be able to build you a tailored security blueprint that supports your IT strategy and business goals.

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Maximizing Investments in Security

For too long security has been viewed as nothing more than a cost center. The discipline and controls that well-designed security brings to both IT and the business should accelerate the time to productive use for new systems, applications, broader connectivity, and trusted vendors and other third parties. Your Board and your CEO want to see a simple return on investment to prove that security investments are worth the time, the staff, and the money. Security consultants can assist you in building a long-term, mature security blueprint that not only accelerates your security ROI but can speed innovation in IT – – frequently privacy and security are the biggest drags on digital transformation – – having that foundation built can eliminate re-pouring that foundation for every major product, new business line or merger and acquisition activity. When security goals align with business use cases, it speeds time to meeting business objectives and goals with metrics that move the business forward.

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Extending the In-house Security Team

You need your security team engaged in the many projects and business initiatives that are better supported by your employees who know the players, the business, and the systems. A security consulting firm can serve as an extension of your team and are a cost-effective way to continue to address evolving threats and risks managing and overseeing security operations and projects while your team can focus on the work of the business. Additionally, consultants will bring specialized expertise and experience that you may not have on staff – – functions like security architecture, attack detection, adversary assessment, and security controls validation. The right consultants will develop with you a customized security plan based on best practices for your needs, environment, and business.

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Compliance and Regulatory Issues

The right security consulting partner will also offer certified and qualified experts to address compliance and regulatory issues from HIPAA to Information Blocking and from CMMC to PCI DSS and from GDPR to CCPA. Most companies are not PCI DSS compliant, yet nearly every industry handles credit card payments in one form or another. Security and Privacy requirements are continuously evolving and may impact your business. Consulting services can help your team stay current on the latest compliance and regulatory requirements. Potential or imminent audit may also impact your business and an experienced security firm can help you prepare for and navigate the requirements you will need to pass specific audits or attain necessary certifications.

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Experience with Most Current Cybersecurity Issues

An experienced cybersecurity consultant will understand and have the experience to address the risks and vulnerabilities across your organization. You will feel comfortable working with experts who have helped you identify risk and helped you build and validate solutions that reduce your cyber-risk. In an age where the threat landscape and attack surfaces change almost daily and systems can be brought down by everything from a mistaken configuration setting to a nation-state attacker, it is critical to be current with not only tools but knowledge. Many organizations can point to “positive and improving scores” for their cybersecurity program but achieving maturity on paper is very different from realizing reduced risk in your security environment. Experience with a variety of customers in your sector and across multiple sectors helps you avoid the pitfalls and traps as you continue your cybersecurity journey.

Schedule a call to discuss your security environment today!

About the Author

David Finn

David Finn is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Innovations at CynergisTek. David has been involved in leading the planning, management, and control of enterprise-wide, mission-critical information technology and business processes for more than 30 years. His unique experience in risk management and control objectives of technology (including audit, security, and privacy) allows him a distinctive perspective in the design and implementation of business applications and the processes that the technology must support. David is focused on using technology as an enabler of operating efficiency and deriving business value through the optimization and control of technology. He is known for creatively engaging all types of audiences, conveying messages that even change-resistant users listen to and remember. David is a member of the Health Management Technology Editorial Advisory Board.

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