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How do you choose your cybersecurity service provider?

Updated: Mar 15

Comment choisir son expert cyber
Photo de Joshua Woroniecki sur Unsplash

Cybersecurity is now essential for all organisations, whatever their business, market or size.

With the growing sophistication of cyber-attacks, the risks to organisations are becoming ever more acute, so much so that it is essential to protect against these new threats.

In this context, one profession is gaining in popularity: that of cybersecurity service provider.

The cyber service provider is an information systems security expert responsible for :

  • Carrying out monitoring and surveillance activities to protect the organisation from new and emerging threats;

  • Protecting the organisation's sensitive data (customer data, business data, protection of intellectual property or the organisation's secrets);

  • Ensure continuity of operations and activities in the event of a proven attack;

  • Develop the governance strategies required for effective risk management within the organisation;

  • Raising awareness and training employees in good IT security practices, and reducing the risk of human error.

As you can see, the cybersecurity provider has a major role to play in the smooth running of an organisation's activities.

So how do you choose the right cybersecurity provider? What factors should you take into account, and what aspects should you be vigilant about when choosing your cybersecurity provider?

1- The experience and reputation of the cybersecurity provider

The cybersecurity service provider must be a cybersecurity expert, so as to protect the organisation effectively. CIOs and CTOs are not cybersecurity experts, although their role is complementary to that of a cyber expert. So look for service providers with solid experience in cybersecurity. Don't hesitate to ask for customer references to get an idea of your cybersecurity provider's experience and expertise.

Experience is essential if your cybersecurity provider is to make informed decisions and implement strategies that are appropriate and relevant to your organisation, thereby ensuring the best possible IT security.

2- Certifications and accreditations of cybersecurity service providers

Depending on your field of activity, certain security certifications or accreditations may be important or even essential.

This is the case, for example, with ISO/IEC 27001 Lead Implementer certification.

The ISO/IEC 27001 Lead Implementer training course enables cybersecurity providers to acquire the skills needed to help an organisation plan, implement, manage, monitor and effectively maintain an information security management system (ISMS) within an organisation. This certification is important because it ensures that the cybersecurity service provider has mastered best practice in implementing an information security management system, so that sensitive information can be secured and the company's overall performance improved.

So don't hesitate to ask your cybersecurity provider if it has certain certifications or security accreditations that can ensure effective management of cyber risks in your organisation.

3- Evaluate the responsiveness of your cybersecurity service provider's support

In cybersecurity, it is entirely possible to anticipate, understand and control risks. But there is no such thing as zero risk! Whatever preventive or corrective action you take, there is always a risk of being targeted by a cyber attack.

It is therefore essential that your cyber security provider is able to react quickly in the event of a security incident, so as to contain the attack and limit its negative consequences, but also so as to enable you to continue working or resume your activity quickly (in the event of a shutdown).

This responsiveness is essential in the context of a cybersecurity support service. So don't hesitate to ask your cybersecurity service provider how security incidents are managed, and within what timescales, as well as the procedures that can be established in the event of an incident, so that you don't find yourself completely paralysed in the event of a successful attack.

4- Assess the professional's knowledge and understanding of your business sector

While cyber security is important for all organisations and all areas of business, the way in which cyber risks are approached and understood varies from one sector to another. Hospitals, banking institutions, digital start-ups and software publishers do not all manage risk in the same way. The threats are not quite the same, nor are the challenges, and a very specific approach to the context of the organisation is required. A cybersecurity provider must therefore have sufficient experience in your field of activity to be able to adapt to your corporate context and thus to the specific risks of your field of activity.

So be sure to ask your cybersecurity provider about its understanding of your business and the specific risks associated with it.

5- Find out about your cyber security provider's methodology and approach

When working with a cybersecurity service provider, it is essential that you are familiar with the processes and approach and that you are comfortable with them. It will be very unpleasant to work with an expert whose approach or way of working does not suit you.

So, before you even start working with a cybersecurity service provider, don't hesitate to ask them about their working methodology and how the collaboration will work (how often they will report, how available the expert will be), to ensure that you have a smooth and pleasant collaboration with your cybersecurity service provider. The most important thing is also to understand that this is an assignment requiring ongoing collaboration!

6- Don't hesitate to ask for customer references

If you feel that your area of activity is a little unusual, or that the software you use in-house is a little complex, don't hesitate to ask your cybersecurity service provider for more details about these previous customer references, so that you can understand to what extent they will be able to meet your specific needs.

Ask your service provider if they have already worked with a company like yours, operating in the same business sector, offering more or less the same service, or using the same digital and IT tools.

So ask for references, but don't hesitate to ask your service provider about the way in which they have worked with these customers: what was the need, what service was provided and how, and what were the results (tangible or intangible) of this collaboration.

In this way, you can be sure that your cybersecurity service provider is able to meet your needs in a relevant way.

7- Ensuring the cybersecurity provider's regulatory compliance

This last point is crucial. You should be aware that, in the eyes of the CNIL (and as part of your regulatory compliance with the GDPR), you remain the data controller for the personal data handled within your organisation, by your employees as well as your service providers. So it's up to you to ensure that your cybersecurity service provider follows good practice in terms of data protection, data confidentiality, and so on.

So be sure to ask your cybersecurity provider about its level of regulatory compliance, the practices and processes it has put in place to ensure a satisfactory level of regulatory compliance, and to be absolutely certain that these issues are being dealt with conscientiously.

To conclude

Choosing a cybersecurity provider is not a decision to be taken lightly. Over and above simple relational aspects and preferences, a cybersecurity expert must be able to meet a number of equally important requirements. To make sure you make the right choice, don't hesitate to use this list of criteria as a guide when choosing your cybersecurity provider.


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