Ask questions, look at resumes, and be sure that the professionals providing your services truly are professional.
Certifications are good, but references are better
There are lots of security certifications on the market, and many are truly challenging to obtain and maintain, but just because someone can pass a test, doesn't mean they are a security expert.
Ask for references from previous customers or co-workers and take the time to check out the references before selecting a provider. Unless you truly are their first customer, they should have previous customers willing to take a few minutes to talk with you about their experiences.
This is not a one-time thing
Security assessments, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, system hardening - these are perpetual needs your information technology infrastructure will have forever.
Don't look at a security assessment engagement as a one-time thing. You go to your doctor for an annual check up and you should plan on getting your security posture evaluated at least annually as well.
In between those annual full check ups, you should consider a monthly vulnerability assessment just to help make sure you are keeping up with your patching and system configurations.
Does it make sense to subscribe to SaaS or bring expertise in-house?
You could contract with a Security as a Service provider to provide you with regular security services, or you could perhaps have them help your own IT team to deploy in-house systems for vulnerability assessments and patch management, and then use your provider when needed for major projects, upgrades, or annual check ups.
If your IT team has the capacity to take on the additional work needed for security, get them the right tools and training and let them take care of it.
Get an annual audit to be sure, and again, consider an external monthly vulnerability scan to make sure nothing was missed.
But if you are the IT team, as well as the sales manager and delivery driver, you probably already work 25 hours a day, and may need to rely upon the pros going forward.
Go with what makes sense for your business and your budget, but remember that a single security incident can put you out of business, so don't leave this to chance.
Information security is critical for any organisation with any IT at all - even if you run your entire business from your mobile phone, imagine what damage would be done if your email was hacked or your credit card processing system was compromised and your customers found bogus charges on their accounts.
For any business with any presence online, ensuring your systems are secure and remain so is critical to ensuring you stay in business.
There will be many independent consultants and security firms offering to help you do just that, for the right price of course.
Ensuring you get the right service for your needs is going to be the right way to help keep your business going strong, staying secure, and remaining trusted by your customers.
By David Kelleher - Director of Communications, GFI Software