You have no doubt heard about the importance of having a cybersecurity team. Hackers are becoming smarter by the day. News of phishing attacks, spam attacks, and black hat practices are increasing by the day. A cybersecurity team will help you watch your systems on a day to day basis. They inform you of any breaches and mitigate them to cut their effect. Breaches cost institutions money and time and put people’s data at risk.
You may be wondering why you need an external cybersecurity consultant, especially if you already have a cybersecurity team. Cybersecurity consultants are also called IT security consultants or information Security consultants. There are generally two types of consultants:
- Project-based consultants – These contractors provide specialized oversight and advice on specific projects. They may be security-related or have a particular security need.
- As needed consultants – Small organizations may have a small security team or none at all. They hire these consultants to provide security solutions as needed.
Why You Need a Security Consultant?
These consultants can either work with a security firm or as independent contractors. They work as advisors and supervisors on matters security. Here are a few reasons why you may need a security consultant.
- You may have a small firm. In such firms, it is expensive and unnecessary to have a large security team. A scheduled consultation will help keep your systems up to par. This way, they can keep up with current security threats.
- Security expert help provide an organization with an outside perspective. Sometimes your team is so close to the issue they can no longer see it clearly. A consultant is unbiased.
- They can have more experience than your team. They are aware of what works for organizations and what doesn’t. This is because they have worked with many different firms. They transfer the techniques that have worked before to you. They also have more experience in report writing and policy-making. This is because they do this for many organizations.
- A consultant is free to work on a project with undivided attention. Your security team has to juggle the day-to-day security responsibilities. They may not be able to give a new project all the attention it deserves.
- A consultant can give unfiltered opinions on your security issues. They are not afraid of internal politics or being whistle-blowers. Security managers have to be more careful as their jobs are at stake.
- They analyze the organizations’ current security measures. They ensure that they are compliant with current regulations.
- Security consultants sometimes have more technical expertise than your team. When it comes to handling new projects, it is best to hire an expert. They save you the need to hire new in-house security personnel for temporary tasks.
- They can train your current security staff. Since they have more experience, they can help your security team update their skills. They can also train non-security staff on how to identify suspicious network activity. For example, how to know a phishing mail.
- They can confirm the ideas of your security team. Sometimes, it is hard for the management to accept their team’s ideas, especially if they are different from what they have known to be true. Management teams more readily trust consultants. This is because they feel that they are neutral.
- They can analyze your networks as they are to identify threats and vulnerabilities. They can then use their expertise to put in place more secure systems. They have more knowledge of new tools in the market they can recommend.
As you can see, a security consultant complements what your security team can do.
What Qualifications Should You Consider For Your Consultant?
Here are a few aspects to look into
- If possible, they should have a relevant degree for example in
- Computer science
- They should have relevant supporting certificates. Some relevant certificates include:
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
If their focus is on analyzing security systems.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
It verifies that the expert knows how to develop and install security systems.
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
This certificate validates the consultant’s ability to oversee your security team.
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
An expert with this certificate can perform penetration tests on your system.
- Cloud computing infrastructure and services
- They should have specific hard skills
- They should know how to program in several languages
- They should know how to configure network and security infrastructure
- They should have some particular soft skills
- Critical thinking and logic skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Should have 1-3 years of experience
Big organizations normally have a Security Operations Center (SOC) team. It is capable of handling your day to day security operations. If they update their skills regularly, they may also be able to meet some new threats. But, a consultant will give your team an edge. They will help fill in all the gaps assuring you that your system is fully secured.