By: Rishi Khanna
Working with a third-party IT vendor is pretty common for enterprises these days. However, we always suggest businesses opt for such collaborations only when they have a detailed idea about the risk factors.
You should not forget that your IT vendor will be responsible for hosting, processing, and storing your sensitive data. Since data breaches are becoming a concern for most of us, we think businesses should be extra careful with their cybersecurity aspects.
As an entrepreneur, you must not forget that poor cybersecurity measures could ruin your reputation in the market. Here are the 10 cybersecurity questions you must ask your IT vendor before going into any collaborations.
1. Is your portal antivirus updated?
You must always ask your IT vendor to provide you a powerful antivirus software for protecting your IT infrastructure. This antivirus must ensure that every digital information is updated and safeguarded.
An antivirus is mandatory because it can detect the very first sign of a virus within your system and it can quickly quarantine the virus to ensure that it doesn’t spread across your system.
So, always ask your IT vendor about the antivirus solution they are offering and if it is updated or not.
2. Is multi-factor authentication part of the package?
One-step authentications don’t work anymore. To ensure that an enterprises’ information is 100% protected, businesses are using multi-factor authentication. So, it is a must that you ask this question to your IT service provider.
With a multi-factor authentication solution, the users will have to confirm their identities before entering a system. The usual stages of multi-factor authentication include:
- A password (that only you know).
- An OTP is generated to your phone ( for security check).
- A fingerprint scan ( that is unique to you only).
All these can validate if a person accessing your system is authenticated or not. Discuss this in detail with your IT vendor.
Interesting Read: Rethinking cyber security during and after COVID-19 crisis is over
3. Do you offer penetration testing services?
It is important to ask your IT vendor if they offer penetration testing services. Servers with a similar IP address need to be tested for vulnerabilities regularly. Hence, this cybersecurity question is essential.
Pen testers or ethical hackers can find out the vulnerabilities or bottlenecks in your system. They can also identify the route that hackers are most likely to take to attack your IT infrastructure. So, if your IT vendor is not offering this feature, maybe you should look for a new vendor.
4. Can you confirm protected network access to approved devices only?
To ensure a protected system, you should always ask your IT services provider this question. IT vendors can help you with a framework where only selected or approved networks will be able to access a system. For the others, access will be denied.
The devices you approve will be listed as Active Security Appliances (ASA). If you’re concerned about digital assets’ safety, you should always go for an IT vendor who is capable of offering this particular feature.
5. Do you follow a data policy? If yes, give me a brief on it.
Data is the biggest asset for your business. When you’re collaborating with an IT vendor, you’re giving them some control over your enterprise data. So, it is very essential to ask them about their data policy. You need to know where do they store your data and how much control will you have over your data.
You should never collaborate with those IT vendors who become the owners of your data. Make sure that both you and the IT vendor are well aware of the data ownership aspects. Also, get a clear idea of how efficiently the vendor will back-up your data. A swift data back-up policy can help you retrieve sensitive data during an emergency. So, get clarity over that as well.
6. Do you offer any security and awareness and training?
This should be a must-ask question on your agenda. It is not always possible that your employees will be trained in cybersecurity solutions. So, it is a must to ask your IT vendor if they’re offering any awareness program or training to the employees or not.
If the employees are not adequately aware of the cybersecurity guidelines, they can easily make critical errors, unknowingly. The results could be destructive for your business. On the contrary, a quick training session can help the employees grasp the cybersecurity guidelines.
So, if you’re aiming to build a trained workforce and maintain a strong cybersecurity policy, always ask this question to your IT vendors.
7. Do you perform a cybersecurity audit from time to time?
Nothing is ultimate in the domain of cybersecurity. Hackers are becoming more and more powerful with each day. So, the cybersecurity solution working for you today may not work after a month. That’s why asking this question is important.
A cybersecurity audit can validate the power of the cybersecurity solutions and ensure that it can protect your IT infrastructure from any vulnerabilities. If you come to know that your selected IT vendor performs a cybersecurity audit, it could be a great relief for you.
8. Will my personal data be encrypted throughout?
The sensitive data you’re referring to is either stored or being transmitted from one source to another. You need to ask your IT vendor if they can guarantee complete encryption of your data in both scenarios.
If your IT vendor assures the data encryption, it would mean no risks of unauthorized access to your datasets. Hence, it is a major thing to ask.
9. What cybersecurity-specific certifications do you hold?
A certified IT provider should always be trusted. That’s because their claims to create efficient cybersecurity solutions are validated. The most popular cybersecurity certification is ISO 27001. If your IT vendor is certified with it, that’s a great thing for sure. You can trust their skills in that case.
10. Do you track network threats?
A Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) can track the overall IT infrastructure of your company to detect any suspicious attempts or threats. This technology is also efficient enough to offer notifications and alerts whenever any possible attacking attempts are recorded.
Does your IT vendor use any such system or solutions? You need to ask this. You need similar support to ensure that you’ll be notified about any unexpected network threats.
Any good IT services provider should be able to answer all these questions. In fact, they may inform you about some additional services. There are many good IT vendors around. Make sure that you’re not rushing into selecting the very first IT vendor you meet. Make your decisions wisely.
Interested in learning more about how to implement cybersecurity best practices to secure your business? Schedule a call with our cybersecurity consultants today!