5 Questions to Ask Your Tech Team about Managing Cybersecurity Talent

Vector of Business And Security
  • June 22, 2016
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More than 40% of small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) say they are unprepared for cyber attacks, according to a membership survey by the training firm Vistage. The reason for this sense of insecurity? “Not many small and medium-sized businesses have the types of resources or specific skill sets to be able to address this properly,” Brian Casazza, Vistage’s CIO, told Inc. magazine.

That’s why many SMBs turn to IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs) for technical support of various kinds– more than two thirds of them, according to research by CompTIA, the world’s largest nonprofit IT trade association.

But retaining an IT maintenance crew alone isn’t enough to handle today’s escalating cyber risks for SMBs. Defending against the variety and complexity of evolving tactics, such as social engineering and ransomware, takes deeper engagement from SMB leaders. Not only do they need to know their tech team has the latest tools for detecting and deflecting cyber incursions, they also need to have confidence in their own IT people and on their MSP’s support team. Because, if human behavior, as so many studies have demonstrated, is the most persistent cybersecurity problem, then human performance must be an integral part of the solution.

So, working with an MSP to cope with cyber threats isn’t just about managing technology. It’s about managing talent, too. And choosing an MSP that knows how to nurture the business talents of your technical support team is a tremendous advantage.

How do you spot a good IT manager or MSP? We suggest asking your tech team these five questions:

  • How often do team members attend continuing technical education?
    Hackers keep inventing new ways to break into business networks and steal data. So, cyber defenders must keep learning new ways to thwart them. Your tech team should have a robust continuing education and certification program that enables members of your support team to keep up with the rapid pace of evolution in cybercrime.
  • Do you have formal business coaching and mentorship programs for your support team?
    In addition to adding to technical skills and learning about the latest trends in cybersecurity, your team should be developing the so-called “soft skills” of its staff, too, such as creative thinking and problem-solving.
  • And do those education, coaching and mentorship programs include leadership skills?
    Members of a good cybersecurity support team must think beyond what just happened to what may happen next. They take initiative to develop and deploy protective measures, and they’re comfortable and confident leading their teammates, you and your employees to do the same.
  • How is the support team’s performance measured?
    Does your support team perform to industry standards? Does it do better than standard work? Are there incentives for improving performance at any and every level? Knowing your internal or MSP’s staff is motivated to acquire new skills and apply them to raise the level of your protection lends you peace of mind, which, as the Vistage study shows, can be a scarce commodity for SMBs these days.

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