How to Properly Vet Cybersecurity Companies

By Phoebe Fasulo

Posted on Aug 12, 2019

Finding cybersecurity companies is easy. However, finding the right one for your company can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. If you’re having trouble identifying the right cybersecurity company to protect your business, you’re not alone. Customer base and company growth are among the key indicators for identifying a legitimate cybersecurity company that you can trust.

According to the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Overview from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is $150 per record. Businesses today must protect their assets or they will become victim to digital vultures. Here are a few helpful tips to vet cybersecurity companies and connect with one that perfectly fits your organization.

Use security controls that are already available

Before you do anything, step one is to test the functionality of your current in-house security products. You must first identify the problem before aimlessly roaming through the cybersecurity marketplace without a specific target. Time and money are precious commodities for any business. So the process of sifting through countless cybersecurity companies must be efficient.

There are numerous sectors and subsectors in cybertechnology, and it can be overwhelming to filter them. Consider first utilizing your existing cybersecurity system to pinpoint your specific needs. That way, you can determine the benefits of specific technology and the return on your investment.

To get a quick handle on things, if nothing else, use SSL and antivirus software to provide the minimum level of data protection. SSL will encrypt network traffic, while antivirus software will discern and halt malicious incoming traffic.

Unfortunately, this will only cover the bare minimum. Take it up at notch by implementing a virtual private network (VPN) and firewall. Once you’ve covered these bases, consider tightening security by adding more security products such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), data loss prevention software, enterprise mobility management software, etc.

Performance evaluation and scalability

To avoid buyer’s remorse, have a solid search plan for specific products and services. Some cybersecurity companies (the good ones) are more than happy to tailor products to the needs of your company. Look for crucial business features such as performance-based service-level agreements that are subject to termination on the condition of poor performance.

Be sure to discuss the metrics you’ll apply to evaluate their performance. This is a vital opportunity for you to indicate your success criteria and integrate that into your service contract. Warning: a one-size-fits-all agreement is a red flag.

Transparency Is key

The key to finding the best product is listening to customer recommendations. Don’t simply rely on what a provider says. For example, a high customer retention rate is a good indicator of great products and services. 

Be cautious of cybersecurity companies that can’t provide customer references. They should willingly furnish reports and analytics. The vertical integration of cybertechnology is a highly involved process, and you should know what the companies are doing and how they are doing it. So don’t shy away from asking the hard-hitting questions.

According to the latest forecast from Gartner, a leading research firm, the worldwide market for information security products and services is expected “to exceed $124 billion.”

So, do your due diligence, because your money is on the line and your business deserves the best. Locate evidence of a provider’s long-term financial stability. History of experience and expertise specific to your industry are always important. Transparency is key.

Marketing strategy red flags

A cybersecurity company invested in helping you secure critical infrastructure is not merely looking for sales. Avoid falling victim to scare tactics known as “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). It’s a marketing strategy that plays on negative perceptions to persuade you to buy. Look for deterrents indicative of company interests built on the strategic setup for acquisition.

Ideally, customer-centered cybersecurity companies will focus on risk mitigation and use language around risk management, rather than trap you with a doom-and-gloom tactic.

Conclusion

It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting involved in. Most security breach headlines accentuate nefarious hackers from other countries and site statistics that hackers attack every 39 seconds, but the reality is that a significant number of breaches are a direct result of someone inside the company—most being accidental or unintentional. Consider taking measures to build an insider threat program in addition to fighting external threats.

The best cybersecurity companies offer information, training, consulting, or education to support your enterprise and help you make effective and qualified decisions around cybersecurity. They implement measures that are proven to protect, such as application whitelisting. And they offer services to monitor or manage certain cybersecurity systems.

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