Selecting the right cyber-security provider for your business

Implementing a cyber-security strategy isn’t easy. If it was, the world would be a lot more secure!

Unfortunately, the reality is that many organisations struggle to put their plans into practice.

But there is hope. Your business has a plan, a blueprint to make itself more secure.

This article completes our four-part series on the challenges of effective strategic implementation. We’re looking at how to select the right provider in such a crowded marketplace. The advice in this piece works in tandem with the tips you can find in our free cyber-security guide, which you can download at the end of this article.

Both the series and the guide draw on the experience of Chameleon Cyber Consultants’ Mo Ahddoud, who has honed his expertise in cyber-security for 25 years.

Having ended the last piece on prioritisation by touching on the advantages that an outside perspective can provide, we’re now delving deeper into the considerations behind choosing a provider that suits your organisation.

Most small-to-medium-sized organisations lack a dedicated cyber-security team or specialist, instead tagging these responsibilities onto existing roles and increasing the pressure on these resources to upskill or stretch themselves thin.

Cyber-security providers can provide the tools and expertise you need to ensure your business operates within an acceptable level of risk. Working with a third-party cyber-security provider can also limits recruitment and training costs, contributing significantly to your profit goals.

The challenges of a crowded cyber-security market

Finding the best cyber-security provider for your business can be hugely challenging, with hundreds of new options flooding the market every year. In fact, there are currently more than 1,800 UK firms providing cyber-security products and services—a 13% increase from 2021.

The complexity of the cyber-security landscape often discourages small-to-medium-sized businesses from investing in these vital systems, putting your organisation at maximum risk. The volume and complexity of products on the market make it difficult to choose the right provider.

Without a strategy or leadership to guide organisations to the options best suited to them, it’s easy to make expensive mistakes.

Beware of FUD tactics

The nature of cyber-security, as an industry concerned with negative events like cyber-attacks, means that it’s common for decisions to be made based on FUD: fear, uncertainty, and doubt. With horror stories of large-scale breaches regularly in the news, organisations worry that they will suffer similar disastrous attacks.

So it’s no surprise that businesses can end up making rash decisions fearing for their security. While cyber-crime does pose a serious threat, an organisation with a clear strategic vision still has time to make informed decisions.

When investing in cyber-security, it’s important to be aware of the role FUD plays in the industry and ask yourself, “Am I being shown evidence of a successful strategy, or being frightened into buying something?” If it’s the latter, don’t invest.

Considerations when searching for a cyber-security provider

Despite the challenges of finding a suitable cyber-security system in a busy market, there are key considerations to support your efforts. It is hugely valuable to identify your specific business needs and budget, research your proposed provider and avoid falling for the marketing tactics often used in the industry.

Identify your specific needs

No two organisations are the same. Identifying your unique needs in the cyber-security space is crucial when searching for the right provider. Note which systems you already have in place to determine what additional cyber-security tools and services you need.

It’s important to realise that this may not mean shiny new tools. The prevailing notion within cyber-security (thanks to the efforts of marketing teams!) is that throwing money at lots of shiny and expensive new tools will make your vulnerabilities disappear. For many firms, what they really lack is the expertise to implement the strategy they’ve created.

Understand your budget

Prices vary dramatically between different cyber-security providers. Having successfully identified your specific cyber-security needs, it may help to decide on the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend.

In [the previous article], we discussed balancing the costs of any risk mitigation against the savings it provides by lowering your risk. As such, the more flexible option is to understand what return on investment you’ll achieve with any chosen solution.

When done wisely, cyber-security improvements can achieve returns on investment of up to 271%, with investing in the right people and skills often the most effective strategy.

Explore their reputation

Before committing to a cyber-security provider, take the time to look into their reputation. Identify case studies with successful outcomes and check reviews to ensure that the provider can meet your expectations, in order to protect your organisation from unexpected risks and consequential costs.

No truly effective company would need to scare you into using their product or service. Instead, look for providers willing to have an open, honest conversation, and who want to understand your business instead of make a quick sale.

Stick to a measured long-term plan

Strategy and expertise are the cornerstones of cyber-security success and will lead you to considered investments in products and services that are right for your business.

At Chameleon Cyber Consultants, we’re seeing significant demand for our CISO-on-demand offering. Companies want to ensure they’re getting implementation right from the very top, rather than worrying about the details of specific security programs. That’s driving demand for expertise across advisory roles, technology integration, strategy implementation, and business-as-usual maintenance.

This experience has helped us develop our free guide for actionable implementation tips. As this article completes our series, the guide is a perfect next step. Download you free guide here.