When all the stars align, cybersecurity consultants can bring tremendous value to an organization, identifying potentially crippling vulnerabilities and making decisions that keep cyber threats at bay.
This article will highlight the merits a cybersecurity consultant brings to the table, and offer some recommendations to help you find the right match for your company.
The Increasing Need for Helping Hands
Many firms assign information security-related tasks to an in-house IT department. The team manages the company firewall, regularly scans computer systems for malware, and performs a myriad of other tasks to reduce security risks. Recent research suggests that companies are increasingly offloading their security operations onto outside professionals.
In 2021, 83% of organizations with dedicated IT security teams considered outsourcing security to a managed service provider (MSP), according to Syntax's inaugural IT Trends Report. Forty-five percent of respondents identified a lack of confidence in existing security measures among the factors driving the trend.
What Is a Cybersecurity Consultant?
Like an MSP, a cybersecurity consultant helps tackle the multilayered challenge that is IT security.
IT security encompasses a constellation of spaces and segments. As such, it's virtually impossible to consider any cybersecurity professional, regardless of expertise, a jack of all trades.
A consultant may leverage experience in various areas to help clients evaluate their existing defenses and develop security strategies to bolster their resilience. Meanwhile, the leaders of those client companies can pour their efforts into other key areas of the business.
A cybersecurity consultant may specialize in a number of disciplines, including, but not limited to:
- Access control
- Application security
- Cloud computing security
- IT security architecture
- Data protection
- Network security
- Penetration testing
Some cybersecurity consultants work as independent specialists. Others operate as consulting services with a traditional organizational structure. Some merely offer advice. Others offer expert guidance, alongside a suite of security solutions.
The gap between specialties available and the needs they have gives hiring firms plenty to think about during the recruitment process.
How to Find Your Top Cybersecurity Consultant
Keep these pointers in mind as you set out to match your organization with the ideal cybersecurity consultant.
Prioritize Industry Expertise
Today's cyberattacks are more sophisticated and targeted than ever, with many taking aim at specific industries. For instance, cybersecurity firm Trellix found that finance, utilities, and retail are the sectors most commonly targeted by ransomware, accounting for 58% of attacks.
Instead of focusing on a bevy of general technical skills and qualifications, zero in on IT security consultants who understand the issues that uniquely affect your business. The ideal candidate will not only illustrate their knowledge of common cyber threats, effective security solutions, and mitigation strategies. They will validate it with the proper credentials.
Look for Relevant Certifications
From law enforcement to national defense, security professionals at the management level encompass a wide variety of backgrounds. Cybersecurity consultants can substantiate their experience in a given field with education and training credentials.
Certifications issued by globally recognized IT security and governance association ISACA are among the most trusted credentials in the information security space. ISACA certification validates that consultants have the requisite knowledge in security assessments, data privacy, risk management, and other key areas covered in its assembly of training programs.
When narrowing the field, the right set of credentials can be the difference between candidates who are merely rich in knowledge, and experts who have demonstrated the ability to lead and make business-critical decisions that safeguard your organization from security threats.
Social media is an increasingly important tool in today's job recruitment process. LinkedIn, for example, is brimming with professionals from the information technology space. Dubbed the social network for professionals, advertising jobs and posting content on LinkedIn bolsters your lead generation efforts and establishes your company as a thought leader in the field. It can also help you recruit for cybersecurity consultant jobs — if you know how to optimize it. Here are some tips:
- Complete your company profile: You want to make the most of every bit of real estate a LinkedIn profile has to offer. That means entering all the essentials of your company, complete with your logo, slogan, mission statement, and links to designated landing pages.
- Grow your following: From standard posts to sponsored content, LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to expand your audience on the site. Whether you opt for the paid or organic route, prioritizing targeted content and sharing your profile in other channels can go a long way in attracting qualified candidates for cybersecurity jobs.
- Consider a career page: Career Pages is an optional premium feature you can add to your LinkedIn profile. It's a great way to not only promote your company culture, but attract high-quality candidates with personalized job openings and timely content the platform delivers straight to their news feeds.
- Stay active: Regularly posting fresh, relevant and engaging content is vital to getting more eyes on your page.
LinkedIn is one of the few platforms that encourages long-form content, so take advantage by sharing text-rich posts, alongside images, videos, and articles to keep your audience informed.
Extract the Right Details From the Interview
If you're lucky, your list of candidates will come loaded with qualifications. Their resumes check all the boxes in terms of relevant experience and shiny credentials. But what about practical experience? How well versed are they in the scenarios that may arise while manning security strategies for your company? This is where paying attention to detail during the interview process comes in handy.
How a consultant frames their experience can give you a better idea of how they might respond to phishing, data breaches, and other exploits initiated by hackers. Encourage candidates to discuss the work they've done for past clients. Listen to their philosophy on tackling security threats, and see if it aligns with your goals.
A candidate’s ability to express that level of competency during the interview could say a lot about how competently they will communicate on critical issues with your team in the near future.
Put Emphasis on Actionable Projections
Just as candidates should clearly explain what they offer, you should clarify what the team expects from the partnership and how they plan to evaluate progress. In practical terms, a company wants to know how effective those recommendations and measures are at improving security posture, and have a viable way to measure the results from start to finish.