5 Questions to Ask Your Cybersecurity Service Provider

Did you know that in the United States alone, there are around 8 billion spam emails sent every day? 

That’s a lot of cybersecurity risk flying around – and a lot of those emails are out to attack you or your business. And despite this fact, a common mistake made by businesses is not prioritizing cybersecurity until it’s too late. All it takes is one phishing email accidentally opened by a team member, and your entire operation is suddenly at risk. 

With the new year just around the corner, it’s a great opportunity to look back and evaluate your provider’s current or upcoming approach to risk management. For example, are they doing routine checkups? Are they directing you where to invest in a layered security approach? Are you maybe investing too much? 

At Fusion, we strive to find the ideal level of cybersecurity support for our clients. To help you understand your current situation and prepare for next year, here are five questions to ask your current or shortlisted cybersecurity service provider. Whether you’re looking for a new IT provider or don’t have one, these questions can guide your way. 

Let’s dig in.

Question #1: How Will You Continuously Monitor and Respond to Threats in 2024? 

Cyber threats don’t sleep. They don’t adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule. They can strike at any time and at any moment – and when they do, immediate defense and response is critical. You must ask your cybersecurity service provider about their approach to continuous monitoring and threat response. 

Effective managed cybersecurity providers utilize advanced monitoring tools that keep a vigilant eye on your network around the clock. This constant vigilance helps in the early detection of unusual activities or vulnerabilities. Automated alerts and real-time monitoring provide an immediate response to potential breaches, leading to long-term peace of mind

Check if your cybersecurity provider has the needed IT accreditations to stay ahead of cyber threats!

Ask your provider to illustrate how their incident response plan works in the event of a cybersecurity breach. It should be a well-defined process that includes identifying the threat, isolating affected systems, containing the damage, and restoring normal operations. 

A comprehensive response plan can also involve legal, public relations, and regulatory actions where necessary. Here are some sample questions to get more context:

  • Would you change our security strategy in the coming year?
  • How do your services ensure 24/7 monitoring of systems? 
  • What documentations are in place for an immediate response to any potential breaches or attacks? 
  • Could you illustrate the “next steps” of your incident response in the event of a successful cybersecurity breach? 

Question #2: How Do You Balance Remote and/or On-Site Support?

The nature of small businesses often necessitates a blend of on-site and remote IT support. Your provider should be capable of addressing issues with your on-premises equipment and remote servers or cloud services. Balancing remote and on-site support is essential to ensuring the uninterrupted operation of your business. 

After all, remote work is no longer a foreign concept. Leading cybersecurity service providers understand how common it is and the challenges that come with it!

For businesses that have embraced remote or hybrid work, remote cybersecurity support becomes more important than ever. Employees may be working from various locations – accessing sensitive data through personal devices or public Wi-Fi networks. Your cybersecurity provider must have the tools and expertise to secure remote access effectively.

If you don’t have a provider or are looking for a new partner, look for services that offer remote monitoring, mobile device management, and secure remote access solutions. An experienced provider will ensure the remote employees can work securely and that on-site infrastructure is equally protected.

  • How does your service adapt to providing support for both on-site and remote IT infrastructures? 
  • Can you ensure an effective resolution whether the issue is with our on-premises equipment or remote servers and cloud services? 

Question #3: How Will You Empower Our Employees with Cybersecurity Awareness and Training?

The human factor is often the weakest link in cybersecurity. Employees can unwittingly become the entrypoint for cyber threats through scamming or phishing attacks. And this problem isn’t going away – phishing attacks increased by 61% in the six months ending in October 2022 compared to the previous time frame. 

That’s why it’s crucial that your cybersecurity provider emphasizes cybersecurity awareness and training. A quality provider should offer comprehensive training programs tailored to your organization’s specific needs. This awareness training educates your employees on recognizing phishing emails, using strong passwords, securing personal devices, and reporting suspicious activities. 

Start your own training with our free report, “The Top Cybersecurity Challenges and Solutions of 2023.”

Remember – employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. Empowering your team with the knowledge and tools to detect and counteract threats is an essential aspect of a modern cybersecurity strategy. 

Ask your provider these questions:

  • How will your services assist in educating our team on cybersecurity best practices and threat mitigation strategies? 
  • How long is your training timeline? Is it annual?
  • Is it adapted to non-technical staff to ensure understanding across all IT skill levels? 

Question #4: How Flexible Can You Be with Tighter IT Budgets? 

The financial element of IT services can be a significant concern for small businesses. You likely need to carefully plan your IT budget every fiscal year and are likely aiming to optimize your technology spending to get the most value. 

However, in discussions with your cybersecurity service provider, focus on the scalability of their Greenville IT services rather than pricing of services. A good provider will work with you to create a scalable IT plan that aligns with your budget constraints. They should not attempt to sell you unnecessary services, equipment, or licenses. 

A flexible provider understands the evolving nature of small businesses and the need to adapt your IT infrastructure as you grow. Here are two questions to consider:

  • How can you help us optimize our technology spending to get the most value? 
  • How do you approach the scalability of cybersecurity managed services as our business grows? 

Question #5: Would You Collaborate with Our Internal IT Team?

If you have an internal IT team (or even one person!), it’s vital to know that your cybersecurity provider will collaborate with them. 

Your internal IT team is integral to your business, but they often grapple with routine and meticulous tasks, without having specialized training and optimal tools to efficiently manage them. By offloading some of the less business-specific responsibilities, they can focus on the more complex and integrated initiatives of the core business.

An outsourced cybersecurity service provider should provide access to additional resources when needed. This helps your business adapt effectively to shifting workloads, new cybersecurity compliance requirements, new hires, and new technology needs. 

Ask your provider for examples of how they have worked with internal IT personnel at other companies to enhance efficiency, or:

  • How would your services integrate with your existing IT staff to offload some of their routine responsibilities? 
  • Can you provide examples of how you have collaborated with internal IT personnel at other companies? 

Ask Now to Protect Your Team Later

Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to safeguarding their digital assets. It’s a task that requires careful consideration. Your choice of a cybersecurity service provider is an important decision that affects all aspects of your business. 

Remember, a secure digital environment means that your business is built on a solid foundation. After all, you have many other things to worry about that don’t involve cyber attacks. By taking time now to optimize or create your cybersecurity strategy, you’re providing your business with real peace of mind. 

Learn what strategies our team employs to provide quality cybersecurity services in Greenville, South Carolina and beyond.

The Top Cybersecurity Challenges and Solutions of 2023 downloadable report