How to Hire a Top Information Security Consultant

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Cybersecurity attacks are on the rise, and this phenomenon has businesses across the planet rushing to boost their security protocols. However, with bring-your-own-device initiatives and the Internet of Things being added to enterprise networks, this process is getting quite complicated.

To enhance security and ensure business continuity, you need top cybersecurity professionals on your team. With a significant shortage of qualified talent in information security space, filling these positions can be a challenge.

So how should you go about hiring a top information security consultant? Let’s take a look.

Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities

When you post a vacancy, you will probably have several IT consultants with impressive credentials apply for the job. However, this doesn’t mean that they have the right knowledge and experience to protect your business from a data breach.

As a result, before you even announce the vacancy, it’s important to first clearly define the position you’re looking to fill. Small businesses may need one security professional while large enterprises will require teams, so it’s always best to understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

So it will help to start out by making a list of the responsibilities they’ll have to undertake. These responsibilities should include the following:

  • Perform a security audit
  • Conduct penetration tests
  • Developing a risk profile
  • Identify the best way to secure all endpoints and the network
  • Research and prepare for the latest threats
  • Manage security budgets
  • Respond effectively to an active data breach
  • Engage with business leaders and provide reports to management

Top cybersecurity specialists will have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science (or a related field) and several information security certifications. They will also possess extensive skills and knowledge of security frameworks, coding practices, security tools, prevention protocols, and network security.

However, depending on the makeup of your company, you might also need someone who can articulate complex security information and strategies in simple language. Ideally, you’ll want to hire someone who has worked for a similar business.

Some qualities you should look for are as follows:

  • Approaches cybersecurity as an ongoing posture
  • Current on the latest security trends
  • Takes a layered approach to cybersecurity
  • Believes in ongoing training

Questions to Ask Potential Candidates

Once you’ve selected some potential candidates to interview, you’ll need to ask them some fundamental questions to determine if they’re the right person for the role.

What’s your cybersecurity experience?

While many consultants who apply for this job may have all the right qualifications on paper, the only way to determine if they know their stuff is to get them to describe their previous industry experience (not hypothetical scenarios).

When candidates provide examples and describe their experiences, make sure that you listen carefully to see how they frame their answers. What they emphasize in their examples will give you an idea of their approach to cybersecurity.

You should also inform them that you’ll crosscheck this information with their previous clients or employers. This is because potential candidates will always talk up their skills and experience, but many might not have actually done it.

Describe your experience with other similar companies? Did you deal with any security incidents? What were the results?

The answer to this question can help you ascertain if they’re adequately equipped to deal with a data breach in the future.

What is my company’s most significant security risk?

If the information security consultant is too focused on technology, they might recommend a single solution for a variety of security threats. For example, they might even suggest that you buy a set of tools to secure your network.

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all type of solution as the threat is always evolving. So when an applicant makes such a recommendation, it’s time to move on to the next candidate.

The right consultant will ask you if you’ve conducted a risk assessment and if you haven’t, they’ll ask when you’re planning on doing it. It’s important to perform a risk assessment as that’s what leads to a robust cybersecurity solution which is both highly adaptive and customized to your unique business needs.

What are some of the current industry trends that we should know about?

Cybersecurity threats change from day to day, so knowing what’s going on within the industry at any given time is important to protect your business. Sometimes people fall into this role and aren’t passionate about it. When that happens, they usually don’t keep up with the latest trends.

Top consultants will be able to aggregate the latest forecasts and industry trends and even provide real-world examples that are related to your specific business. If they’re only talking about major incidents that grabbed global headlines, they probably aren’t in tune with the latest trends.

Are you looking for information security consultants to protect your business? We can help - reach out to Digi117 now!