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How Outside Cybersecurity Experts Complement an In-House IT Department

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If your company has an in-house IT department, do you also need to engage an outside cybersecurity expert (or team of outside cybersecurity experts)? Generally, the answer is “Yes.”

In today’s world, cybersecurity risks are greater than ever before. Not only are attacks and intrusions becoming more common, but attackers are also becoming more sophisticated in the ways they target both corporate and institutional organizations. As a result, for large organizations and others that have (or have access to) highly sensitive or highly valuable data, managing cybersecurity risks is now a daily process.

Since attacks are becoming both more common and more sophisticated, most organizations today simply don’t have the resources they need to manage cybersecurity effectively in-house. Even if their IT personnel are extremely good at what they do, they won’t have the time and resources needed to manage the organization’s cybersecurity risks at the level that is required. But, outside cybersecurity experts will—and they will be able to provide necessary assistance in an integrated, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

10 Ways Outside Cybersecurity Experts Can Help Any Corporate or Institutional Organization

A team of highly experienced outside cybersecurity experts should be able to effectively complement any organization’s internal IT department. Outside experts should be able to work alongside the organization’s Chief Technology Officer and other IT department personnel to identify and address vulnerabilities without impeding the IT department’s day-to-day operations or unduly drawing upon the IT department’s resources.

When suitably equipped with the requisite insights, resources, and expertise, here are 10 ways that outside cybersecurity experts should be able to help any corporate or institutional organization:

1. Keeping Pace with Developments in the Cybersecurity Industry

Top cybersecurity consulting firms devote substantial resources to keeping pace with the latest developments in the cybersecurity industry. With the pace of these developments, this is not an easy task. This itself is a full-time endeavor; and, without personnel with the requisite backgrounds and job descriptions, organizations simply cannot keep pace on their own.

To remain at the forefront of the industry, cybersecurity consulting firms must stay abreast not only of the latest developments within the industry itself, but also of the latest developments on the other side. Top cybersecurity consulting firms are constantly searching and testing for new threats so that they can provide proactive recommendations and help their clients get out in front of these threats before they lead to substantial losses.

2. Recommending Necessary Cybersecurity Program and Protocol Enhancements

Based on the surveillance of emerging trends and risks in the cybersecurity industry, outside cybersecurity experts will be able to recommend necessary enhancements to an organization’s existing policies, procedures, and protocols. It is critical to keep organizations’ cybersecurity programs and protocols up-to-date on an ongoing basis, as even a single failure can lead to an intrusion resulting in substantial data loss and costly litigation. Once again, experts who devote their full-time efforts to identifying risks (and options for addressing these risks) will be in a much better position to protect an organization’s interests than an in-house IT department that is tasked with supporting the organization’s operational areas.

3. Monitoring for Vulnerabilities, Attacks, and Intrusions

Along with conducting general industry surveillance, an outside cybersecurity consulting firm will also be able to monitor an organization’s IT systems for specific vulnerabilities, attacks, and intrusions. When it comes to cybersecurity, knowing what to look for is one of the first critical steps toward managing an effective program. However, this is knowledge that many internal IT departments lack—not because they are deficient in any respect, but rather because cybersecurity is a specialty of its own that falls outside of the purview of most IT departments’ intended capabilities.

When a vulnerability arises, or when an attack or intrusion occurs, a prompt response is vital. This makes active monitoring extremely important. Without an outside consulting firm monitoring for cybersecurity threats constantly, organizations will be putting themselves, their data, and their employees’ and customers’ data at risk.

4. Investigating Attacks and Intrusions

The first step in responding to an attack or intrusion is conducting a comprehensive investigation. This investigation should take place immediately—which, again, makes constant monitoring critical. A team of experienced cybersecurity experts will be able to begin investigating immediately. Skilled experts will know where to look, what to look for, and what to do with the information they find.

Investigating an attack or intrusion promptly serves two parallel, and equally important, purposes. First, it allows the organization to address the vulnerability that allowed the attack or intrusion to occur. Second, it helps demonstrate an informed, pre-planned, and good-faith response to the breach—all of which are critical for mitigating any potential liability in ensuing litigation.

5. Advising on New Cybersecurity Threats

Along with investigating attacks and intrusions, outside cybersecurity experts will also be able to advise on new cybersecurity threats that present risks for the future—and that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. The pace of development of new risks in the cybersecurity field cannot be overstated, and organizations that fail to react to new threats promptly can experience a cascading effect that leaves them far behind and struggling to catch back up.

6. Advising on the Cybersecurity Implications and Risks of New Business Activities

While new external threats require prompt attention, so do new threats created by internal developments within the organization. Different business activities can present different cybersecurity risks, and organizations must be cognizant of when the adoption of new platforms or the release of new offerings implicates risks that they are not currently protected against.

Of course, this is easier said than done; and, once again, most organizations won’t have the expertise needed to make these determinations in-house. But, by working closely with an outside cybersecurity consulting firm on an ongoing basis, organizations will be able to rely on their outside consultants to proactively identify and address these concerns as well.

7. Ensuring Adherence to Cybersecurity Industry Best Practices

All corporate and institutional organizations should adhere to the cybersecurity industry best practices that are relevant to them based on their size, financial wherewithal, and the data they generate and store. Experienced outside cybersecurity experts can help organizations determine what is necessary and appropriate—and, just as importantly, what isn’t required.

Effective cybersecurity risk management requires investment; and, of course, resources devoted to cybersecurity risk management cannot be devoted elsewhere. A team of experienced consultants will be able to help organizational leaders understand what is and isn’t necessary so that they can deploy their budgets as effectively as possible.

8. Assisting with the Development of Data Breach Response Protocols

No matter how much an organization invests in cybersecurity, it must be prepared for the possibility of a data breach. This means having custom-tailored data breach response protocols in place. Experienced outside cybersecurity consultants can help organizations develop response protocols that they can execute quickly and effectively if the need arises.

9. Assisting with the Execution of Data Breach Response Protocols

Experienced outside cybersecurity consultants can assist organizations with executing their data breach response protocols as well. Facing a data breach is not a time to take chances. Organization leaders need to be confident that their organizations are doing everything necessary to protect all exposed data and mitigate their risk of liability. Data breach response is a time-intensive and resource-intensive process that requires high-level expertise, and this means that most organizations will need to engage outside help immediately.

10. Assisting with Data Breach Litigation

Finally, outside cybersecurity consultants can also assist with responding to data breach litigation. Serving as expert witnesses, they will be able to clearly outline the steps the organization took to both prevent and respond to the breach at issue. Generally, proving liability for a data breach requires evidence of negligence. If an organization’s outside experts can demonstrate that the organization wasn’t negligent, they may be able to help save it from a substantial judgment.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney

Partner

Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Considerations for Choosing Outside Cybersecurity Consultants

Due to the vital role that outside cybersecurity experts play in helping organizations manage their risk effectively, it is imperative that organizational leaders make informed decisions about the consultants they choose to hire. With this in mind, here are some key considerations for choosing an outside cybersecurity consulting firm:

  • Do the firm’s consultants have experience advising other clients in your industry?
  • Does the firm have the necessary resources to stay at the forefront of developments in the cybersecurity landscape?
  • Do the firm’s consultants have experience responding to data breaches and serving as expert witnesses?
  • Is the firm capable of integrating its solutions and platforms with your organization’s existing IT infrastructure?
  • Is the firm truly capable of helping your organization effectively manage its cybersecurity risk on an ongoing basis?

The answers to these questions, among others, are vitally important. When it comes to cybersecurity, organizations can no longer afford to take chances. If your organization needs help managing its cybersecurity-related risk, you should speak with a qualified cybersecurity expert as soon as possible.

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