When the internet was introduced to the public, its primary purpose was for communications. Today, the internet has exploded into a means of collecting and storing sensitive data. The rise of the internet has given birth to a brand new industry – IT Security Consulting.
Now, if you are the owner of a small or medium-sized business, you are probably saying to yourself as you read – I have great security software in the way of antivirus and anti-malware, I don’t need the expense of an IT security consulting firm. Chances are that your thinking is flawed and you are an excellent candidate for an IT security consulting firm to aid you.
IT risks are far more than the viruses and malware cybercriminals use to gain access to your sensitive information and an IT security company will tell you how to best mitigate the risks. Risks include a lack of a coordinated method of managing third party access to your systems such as vendors, customers, and even employees using their own devices to access your stored data.
Failure to adequately protect your data can lead to civil actions by various federal agencies. Chances are if you store electronic personal identifying information (ePII) and/or personal financial information (PFI) there is a federal agency that enforces privacy laws applicable to you. Security is a big deal and each day, as more information goes onto your storage servers, risks grow. An IT security consulting firm can help you avoid unfathomable fines and legal expenses that could even threaten your company’s existence. These firms work around the clock to protect your data while reducing your overall security expenses by taking a large load off your in-house IT team.
How to Choose an IT Security Consulting Firm
Choosing a competent IT security consulting firm is an important and complicated decision. Following are some important questions to ask as you interview prospective IT security advisors.
If you plan to use security services through a Managed Services Security Provider (IT Security Partner) pick at least three providers to interview. This gives you a basis for comparing the offerings and costs associated with your security consulting. When this is done, ask each of them the following questions:
- Anyone can get a website and then say they are “security experts,” so you want to know how long have they been doing IT security consulting. Drill down to find out if they have provided services to companies in your industry so they better understand your security needs. Can they provide references that you can speak with personally to determine how well the firms you interview work with clients in your industry?
- Any company can have slick brochures and engaging online content. You want to know what is going on where the work is done. Ask to see the credentials of the engineers and other hands-on staff used to protect client data.
- You know the old expression “they closed the barn door after the horses ran off?” You don’t want this to be your situation with your data security. Question prospective security consulting firms about how they do protect you from known threats and how prepared they are for new ones. When you deal with a solid internet security provider you deal with an organization that brings its knowledge from other customers, industry sources, and government sources to the table. This enables them to anticipate and prevent successful attacks on your company’s data.
- When it comes to sensitive data you must understand how your IT Security Partner handles it. Where will it be stored, how is it accessed, and how and what data is moved within the environment controlled by the IT Security Partner.
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