7 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Cybersecurity Solutions

By Phoebe Fasulo

Posted on Nov 19, 2019

Choosing cybersecurity solutions isn’t easy. The information security business is full of new platforms and software and those solutions are rapidly multiplying: the global cybersecurity market is projected to reach $259 billion by 2025

It’s easy to get lost in a market of that size. How can you find the right cybersecurity solution for your business? How do you know what is a must-have and what is a nice-to-have when you’re looking for a solution that will protect your organization’s assets? And how do you decide which threats are real, and which have been blown up out of proportion by a solution provider who wants to sell you their product? 

Picking out a cybersecurity solution can be difficult, but it’s not impossible, as long as you know your own needs and keep your eyes open for potential pitfalls. To help you out, here are a few common mistakes to avoid during your search.

1. Not knowing your own risks

If the thought of a data breach or a cyber attack sends a chill down your spine, that’s a completely reasonable response. Cyber attacks can cause crippling loss of data, reputation and  — of course — money.  According to IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Study the average total cost of a data breach is $3.92 million.

Vendors know how scary breaches can be, and they also know that some of their potential clients might be worried about breaches but may also not know their own risks. Unethical salespeople can prey on those worries by pushing their solution as a cure-all, even though it may not address an organization’s specific risks, causing a buyer to spend time and money on a solution that can’t protect their assets. 

When you’re shopping for a cybersecurity solution it’s important to know what your risks are going in. Do you have configuration issues? Several third parties with access to your data and systems? Are your employees clicking links they shouldn’t be? 

When you’re armed with the facts, salespeople can’t tell you what problems you need your cybersecurity solution to solve, because you’ll already know.

2. Thinking you can do it all in-house

Why spend money on a cybersecurity solution when you’ve got an in-house team, right? If you’re a CISO or Director of Information Security, you may have heard this from your colleagues. Some may even think security should be the job of the IT department. 

While good information security practices are everyone’s responsibility, cybersecurity for an entire organization is a big job, and your in-house team may need tools — or help — to manage it. In fact, many companies look for outside help when it comes to security; according to EY’s Global Information Security Survey, 30% of big organizations outsource security, and only 40% of smaller companies have their own security operations center. 

There’s no shame in getting outside help; remember a single breach may cost you more than the cost of outsourcing some (or all) of your cybersecurity operation. 

3. Not doing a demo

It’s always helpful to try before you buy, especially when you’re dealing with something as important as information security. You’ll want to test the product in-house to make sure it does what it’s supposed to do, and to be certain that it’s the right product for your organization’s needs. 

In fact the availability of a demo functions as its own red flag — if the solution you’re looking at doesn’t offer a demo, be very careful. 

4. Not taking your industry into account 

Chances are, your organization has to abide by specific information security rules and regulations. Government, finance, healthcare — all industries have their own regulations, standards, and best practices when it comes to information security. You may also be required to comply with specific standards, like GDPR, based on your location or the location of your customers. 

Don’t forget these regulations when it comes time to choose a cybersecurity platform; not all platforms are designed to work with every set of regulations. You’ll want a solution that makes compliance with your specific industry easier, not more difficult.

5. Ignoring your third parties

When you think of the people in your organization, do you think of the people who work on site? The people who get a paycheck from you? If that’s the case, it’s time to start thinking bigger. 

Your organization’s information is comprised of your employees, but it also includes your third parties — contractors, vendors and other suppliers who may have access to your data and networks. 

Your security solution will need to include those third parties as well. Why? Well, you might be able to control your employees’ information security habits, but controlling risk in your supply chain is another story. Cybercriminals often attack organization through vendors like cloud providers. When that happens, you’ll be held responsible for the breach.

Find out who your third parties are, what they have access to, and what their risk profiles are. 

Once you’ve done that, you’ll know if your organization is at risk of a third-party breach, and if you need a cybersecurity solution that specializes in third party and vendor threat management.

6. Not checking in with other customers

You read reviews before you go to a restaurant or buy a product online. There’s no reason you shouldn’t do the same due diligence before you choose a cybersecurity solution provider. 

Rather than simply accepting the vendor at their word, seek out some customers and ask them about their experience. You might want to specifically find customers in your industry and ask how the provider has helped them with compliance. You may also want to find customers who left and ask them why.

No matter what questions you ask, this sort of due diligence will tell you things about the solution that you won’t get from the vendor themselves. 

7. Ignoring assessment

It’s tempting to buy a cybersecurity solution, implement it, and assume you’re protected against all online threats —  but that’s not the way information security works. Threats are always evolving and changing and you need to be able to keep an eye on them and adjust your strategy to meet them. 

When you’re shopping for a cybersecurity solution, make sure that tool offers a way to track and assess your security data. Chances are, your organization is using data to track other things, like sales, human resource data, and finances. You should also be tracking risk and your own cybersecurity. If you can’t measure it, you can’t effectively manage it. 

How SecurityScorecard can help

It’s important to know where your risk is, and what you have to do to remedy problems before there’s even an attack on your organization. 

Smart tools, like SecurityScorecard’s security ratings, give an organization a window that allows them to easily see and understand their risk profile (and that of their vendors) at a glance. Our ratings help you continuously monitor all your organization’s potential risks, so you know where your risk is, and exactly what you have to do to remediate it. 


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