John Guido | April 10, 2020
With the rapid pace at which technology evolves, we live in a world where companies that collect data digitally (aka all companies) are constantly under siege from cyber attacks, whether they know it or not, which can cause undue danger and harm.
Given the fact that we are sharing more data than we ever have, it is no surprise that cybersecurity skills are in such high demand: Cybersecurity is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. Therefore, it is more important than ever to ensure businesses globally are protecting their data and digital assets.
For IT firms that specialize in areas outside of cyber security, working with an IT security partner can ensure clients’ data is kept safe. It also allows such firms to continue to dedicate their time and resources to doing what they do best. Whether your IT firm specializes in business intelligence, software development, cloud migration and infrastructure, or something else, you can rest assured that a team of highly experienced specialists will be working hard to protect your clients’ data round the clock.
Let’s examine the benefits of partnering with a security firm to approach projects with the security perspective in mind, and how you can qualify clients to know it’s time for you to partner on a project to provide a comprehensive solution that includes security.
Benefits of collaborating with an IT security firm
Offers New Ways of Working
Never has this point been so relevant; remote work has seen a huge uptick recently. Whether simply due to companies realizing the numerous benefits remote works offers, or due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are requiring staff to work remotely.
Arguably, the easiest part of setting up a remote work environment for employees is making sure they have access to laptops/computers (although, with some companies being stretched thin, even this can present a challenge), a decent Wi-Fi connection, and communication channels set up. The security needed to digitally protect every employee in a company to allow them to work remotely, however, is trickier.
It is already clear that hackers are using the Coronavirus as an opportunity to send out phishing scams; no doubt exploiters are looking for other ways to use this opportunity to steal data. Thankfully, an analysis conducted by an experienced IT security firm can prevent this. For example, penetration testing can help testers analyze how hackers would conduct actual attacks and then work to counteract them. By working with an IT security partner, firms can ensure that no matter what time it is, their clients’ security is being maintained and protected. This, ultimately, will help to build trust within your client base and with other partners.
No Stress About Recruitment
Technology moves fast, forcing security experts to learn rapidly. It can be incredibly difficult to find competent staff who have sufficient experience in cyber security. By partnering with an IT security firm, businesses avoid wasting precious resources searching for and recruiting experts internally. Collaboration with a security firm will ensure access to staff that understand how to identify emerging trends and patterns in data, be well-versed in corporate confidentiality, as well as the ability to communicate these to their respective audiences.
This kind of mutually beneficial relationship helps to bridge the skill gaps for IT firms – in any industry. It also frees time and energy for IT Directors who would otherwise have to take on the tasks of keeping up with every new technology, keeping everything working securely and, most importantly, doing this round the clock—as hackers seeking to steal data, especially during times like this, don’t take breaks.
Saves Money – And Reputation
Economies worldwide are becoming increasingly connected, and so are risks associated with these connections. Most businesses are not equipped to deal with the array of threats they are facing and admit it. Up to 90% of companies worldwide have come to the realization that they cannot protect their digital assets. It is predicted that cybercrime will cost companies worldwide a staggering 6 trillion dollars annually by 2021 – and yet global spending on cybersecurity is a meager 114 billion dollars in comparison.
Attacks from sources such as malware and DDoS cost millions to individual companies every single year. Many businesses hit by such attacks are pressured to pay ransoms or call in ‘incident response teams’ to deal with things quietly to prevent them from having to alert the authorities and suffer the inevitable PR nightmare that will follow—we all remember the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica incident. In addition to suggesting cyber insurance, partnering with an IT security partner is the best thing you can do for your clients to protect their data, bottom line, business relationships, and reputation.
How Do You Know When You Need to Collaborate with A Security Firm?
If your firm has taken on a project, but realizes that in order to complete the project successfully, you need a security expert’s perspective which you can’t provide internally, that’s when it’s time to collaborate. In order to provide a complete solution for your client, you will need the expertise of an acclaimed security solution provider, like Terry Bradley and PLEX.
Terry is the vice president at PLEX Cyber, which is a National Security Agency (NSA) accredited Vulnerability Assessment Services (VAS) provider—one of only five companies in the world to have earned this distinction—that specializes in testing security and assessing vulnerabilities, application security, and network analysis. PLEX is renowned for their highly knowledgeable staff and vast experience working alongside both government and private sectors to defend against complex cyber threats.
Terry provided a reminder that some of the most effective questions to qualify clients for a security assessment are also the most fundamental:
1. Do you have a budget for this?
Find out if your client has the financial capabilities to create, manage and maintain a security program themselves. Different businesses will have different security requirements – you should be able to personalize the service you need by working with an IT security partner. One of the benefits of working alongside an IT security partner is their ability to identify precise levels of security programs that IT firms will need – for example a bank will likely need differing levels of security than a healthcare organization – and then they can test this.
2. Why are you doing this?
Clients should be able to provide a solid reason for wanting to hire a security company. The two most common reasons are fear and compliance. If your client has to comply with certain legislation then that is a great qualification for needing annual tests, for example. Fear is also a brilliant motivator – especially when the client has experienced some sort of data breach previously.
3. What does management want?
Often, this will come down to management being aware of the risks to their business and feeling worried that they are “behind the curve.” They know that they need to do something.
Alternatively, leadership may just want to get ahead of any potential issues and do the right thing by being proactive.
Rob Anderson, one of Terry’s many partners and CEO of Pinnacle, a company that provides custom networking, cloud, big data and analytics, virtualization solutions, and consulting services, said this of knowing when to partner with a security firm:
“We pride ourselves in delivering value to our customers. As such, when one of our customers requires a skill that we cannot address with our own internal team, we partner. When we engage PLEX on cyber security consultations, together, we know we are bringing the collective best. We consider Terry Bradley and PLEX a true extension of our team. And of course, when Terry sees an opportunity that is a good match for our skills, he has an easy means to engage us through the P2P Global platform.”
Wherever possible security should be a top priority for any company dealing with digital data. Terry Bradley explains that “even a basic security program can help most small or mid-tier IT companies, whether that focuses on penetration testing, external network scans or utilizing secure VPNs.” Because of the volume of data clients work with and the ever present risks of attack, every IT firm should be considering security when they initiate a project.
As a trusted solution provider for your clients, you are the expert in all things IT. If the project you’re working on doesn’t have a security element but should, it is vital that you add a security firm to your partner ecosystem. Every small change IT firms can make are steps in the right direction to keeping clients’ and their customers’ data safe.
You can create a partner ecosystem using the P2P Global marketplace for solution providers. P2P Global takes all the guesswork out of building alliances by providing a curated list of vetted partners for your specified projects.