5 Questions to Ask When Looking For a Cybersecurity Consultant

Cybersecurity is one of the major concerns for businesses across the world. The rising number of attacks and breaches, along with stricter regulations to deal with such incidents have made cybersecurity a priority for businesses in every industry.

According to reports, cybercrime against businesses went from 55 percent in 2016 to 61 percent in 2017. 2018 has already seen a fair share of incidents that resulted not only in the loss of data but also in heavy fines and penalties. Smarter enterprises are no longer playing with fire. The cybersecurity advisory services market has witnessed a drastic growth this year. It is expected to project 20 percent annual growth and reach USD $13.7 billion by 2022.

Due to the intensity and diversity of threats faced by various industries, services of cybersecurity consultants are now essential for any enterprise. Many falsely believe that a simple security software is enough to protect their enterprise. However, cybersecurity has now exceeded the bounds of data security. It must resonate in every area, every process of the organization. A well-rounded cybersecurity infrastructure is achievable only with the help of an expert cybersecurity consultant with experience serving the relevant industry.

It is important to work with a cybersecurity consultant with the right experience and expertise. Business owners or IT administrators must ask the right question to find the best match for their enterprise. Since every consultant has a different set of expertise and capabilities, it is imperative to ask the right questions.


1.    What Will Be Your Roles and Responsibilities as a Cybersecurity Consultant?

Cybersecurity consultancy is a broad umbrella. The role of a consultant can cover a multitude of aspects ranging from planning and strategizing to mitigation and prevention. While many organizations hire consultants to prevent attacks and strengthen their security net, many hire them to investigate the cause of a breach.

When working with a cybersecurity consultant, it is important to know the scope of their responsibilities. It is also important to ask if the consultant has a trusted security or relies on third-party entities for tasks that go beyond their scope.

A reliable consultancy has an in-house team of trusted professionals capable of developing custom security solutions for the specific needs of every client.


2.    Are You Aware of the Industry Specific Security Needs and Requirements?

Cookie-cutter security plans no longer work. If anything, they add to the impending risks. Since security is a huge concern, almost every sector is now governed by several laws and regulations. Industries that deal with sensitive personal information such as hospitals and healthcare organizations are governed by stricter and entirely different set of regulations HIPAA and HITECH are just two of such examples for the healthcare sector.

Due to these heavy regulations, compliance becomes just as important as security. A cybersecurity consultant who fails to understand the regulatory requirements of the client is bound to make huge mistakes. Those mistakes can cost millions, not just in the form of penalties and fine but also due to duplicity and redundancy in security policies.


3.    What Type of Information Will the Security Team Access?

If a cybersecurity consultant is adamant on providing more than necessary access to the data stored in the device, it should be considered a red flag. Similarly, if a consultant cannot answer any concerns on where that data is going or how it protected, it is a clear steer-away signal.

This question is of high importance for enterprises where employee devices are connected to the infrastructure. A reliable security consultant will offer a satisfactory answer. Ideally, they will recommend changes to keep the data on the premises. However, if on-premises storage and security are not possible, an effective encryption policy must be in place to effectively transfer data to another location.

Meanwhile, it is also important to know if the consultant works with any third-party companies and if any of the data is shared with those parties.


4.    What Certifications Does Your Staff Hold?

Certifications play a key role in enterprise cybersecurity. It ensures that the team and consultant have the relevant knowledge and expertise required by the enterprise. The number of certifications, along with the years of experience can tell a lot about the credibility and capability of a security team.

The team must have relevant experience and rigorous technical training. Some main security certifications to look for include GCIH, CCNP, OSCP, and GCIA.


5.    What Will Be the Nature and Frequency of Reports?

Cybersecurity consultants should be able to assess the existing security environment and accurately report on the performance of the system. They must be able to provide reports regarding the resilience and robustness the security infrastructure. Any successful or unsuccessful attacks must also be reported. The more frequent the reports, the lower the risk of a breach.

It is crucial to decide on the frequency of these reports. The frequency must at least be able to fulfill the regulatory requirements if any. More importantly, cybersecurity consultant must be able to provide guidance regarding effective utilization of these reports.



Finding the right cybersecurity consultant can save organizations from huge losses and penalties. However, it is important to ask the right questions to make sure the right team is hired with a clear understanding of its roles and responsibilities.

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