How to Get More Out of Cybersecurity Consulting

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Whether you’re a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, cybersecurity consulting is a good way to assess the effectiveness of your cybersecurity operations. Having another set of eyes on your security systems, looking for ways attackers could infiltrate, and creating a strategy for addressing any security gaps can save your business time and the disruption of a security breach.

Cybersecurity consulting has another less well-known feature that is arguably more valuable than identifying potential threats: insights on cybersecurity staffing. A cyber team is only as good as the people within it, so hiring is a crucial aspect of keeping your company and customer data secure. By tapping a cybersecurity consultant, you can gain expert knowledge on the industry, where to find skilled cyber pros, and how to market your company to top talent.

What to Expect From a Cybersecurity Consultant

When vetting cybersecurity consulting firms, here are some qualifications you should be looking for.

Help defining your needs

You may think you know what you need, but a skilled cybersecurity consultant can help you drill down into the specific aspects of your needs. By understanding your objectives, the consultant can identify skills gaps and provide a staffing headcount based on current and future initiatives. For example, your company might be evaluating security information and event management tools. A good cybersecurity consultant can offer advice on the availability of certain product skill sets and their respective labor cost. 

Industry insights

A cybersecurity consultant should be someone who is able to provide the latest information about solutions and products especially those that are becoming more popular, those that are new to the market and other trends. This could include career and employee development trends and new training resources available.

Accurate compensation data

You are never going to build or keep a great cybersecurity team if you aren’t offering enough compensation. You need a cybersecurity staffing consultant who will be blunt about your salaries and compensation packages. Your company may not be able to offer the same salary as a larger company, but a cybersecurity staffing consultant can help you develop other types of compensation, such as ample paid time off, work-from-home options, and an inclusive company culture that will attract professionals.

At CyberSN, our cybersecurity staffing consultants see a lot of compensation data because companies and professionals give us this data every day through our job search platform KnowMore. One thing we’ve seen is that it’s not just about the money. Professionals are looking for better work-life balance, especially since the lines between work and home have become so blurred. Training opportunities and the ability to work remotely permanently are two of the top requested perks we’re now seeing.

Help Building Job Descriptions Cyber Pros Will Notice

Part of the challenge of building out the right cyber team is that job titles, roles, and responsibilities vary from company to company. Having a cyber consultant who knows the industry, terms, and job titles vastly improves the results of your recruiting efforts.

We identified this problem at CyberSN and developed a common cybersecurity language, not just for those in the information security industry, but for those who hire, too. This included identifying different facets of the industry and defining 35 cybersecurity job titles and more than 100 subtitles.

What to Look for in a Cybersecurity Consultant

Here are a few questions you should ask before engaging with a consulting firm on your infosec operations.

What companies have you worked with?

Do they work primarily for large corporations or is this a firm that specializes in start-ups? A firm may claim to be generalists, but cyber needs vary depending on the company’s size and industry, whether that’s e-commerce, banking, or health care. Make sure you hire a consultant that understands your industry.

What kind of access and expertise will you get?

Before working with a firm, it helps to know who you will be working with, their area of expertise, and how many hours they will be available. Are you looking for 24/7 availability or someone to develop a strategy for improving diversity? Whatever your need, ask for specifics about the level of expertise you will be provided.

What is your experience in hiring and training for diversity?

Companies are striving to create inclusive workplaces, especially when race and gender are such a part of the national conversation in the United States. Whatever your cybersecurity needs, diversity is likely to be part of the conversation. When your team is made up of people with different backgrounds and world views, it will help improve your ability to identify threats from around the globe. Discuss diversity training as well as hiring practices to ensure you are creating a welcoming environment for all employees.

As a woman-owned company, diversity and inclusion are important in all we do, which is why more than half of our placements are diversity hires.

Has anyone on your team actually worked in the cybersecurity industry?

This may seem obvious, but if you’re looking for expertise in cybersecurity, make sure the team you get has experience working in the industry and understands both the employer’s and employee’s side of the job.

What’s the end result?

Ask your cybersecurity consulting firm what you’re getting from them and hold them accountable throughout for that deliverable. CyberSN, for example, offers hiring strategies for companies struggling to fill cyber roles. After working with one cybersecurity industry expert and one cybersecurity hiring expert, the company will have a clear strategy for recruiting and hiring cyber pros that fit their needs and within the company.

How to get the most out of your relationship

No one wants to hire another consultant who swoops in, offers unrealistic advice, and is only concerned about the paycheck. Before you sign a contract with a cybersecurity consulting firm, clearly define what you’re looking for from the relationship. Make sure the firm is willing to help set goals and create a realistic strategy that works for your type of company. Finally, hiring a firm that understands that it’s not just about the tech. Developing the human side of a cybersecurity team can help protect your company, as well.

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