Cybersecurity consulting is a growing sub-field within business services, made all the more important as the page of cyber-warfare increases in recent years and months. Since none but the very largest companies have the requisite skills in-house, information security consulting is a necessity for most SME’s, who may be commissioning this type of consultancy service for the first time.
Many business owners find that engaging the services of a cybersecurity consultant can deliver real value in terms of legal and regulatory compliance, avoidance of data security breaches, and streamlining of their own business processes. A growing number of companies are seeking to achieve compliance with ISO 27001, the international standard for an Information Security Management System (ISMS). This is a prime area where the skills of an information security consultant can yield dividends for a business that uses its consultants wisely.
A consulting engagement can be divided into phases. The duration of each phase can vary widely, depending on such factors as the size of the company, the amount of preparatory work that has been done, the staff time available, the level of existing expertise at the company – and, of course, the priority given to it at management level.
In most cases, however, the phases of cybersecurity consulting will take the following general form:
- Initiation: Determine the scope of the project (the whole organisation or just a subset?) and allocate budget and personnel. Select an information security consultant and a lead contact person.
- Planning: Plan the Information Security Management System that will form the output of the project. Perform a risk analysis and base all strategic decisions on its output.
- Implementation: Implement the ISMS for a reasonable period, and address any initial slight problems.
- Monitoring: Regularly monitor and review the operation of the ISMS, and flag up any areas which are giving rise to problems or sub-standard performance.
- Improvement: Take specific and measurable steps to improve the operation of the ISMS.
The cycle of monitoring and improvement is a continuous one, and may even involve further cybersecurity consulting input (especially if the organisation desires to achieve certification to the ISO 27001 standard). The information security consultant can provide indispensable input at every phase of the process, and will afterwards be available to assist if any problems are encountered in the future.
Cybersecurity consulting is a valuable business service that can make a real difference to the data security of an organisation. With the increasing occurrence of cyber-attacks and data breaches, more and more companies are finding that making use of information security consulting services is a genuine investment in the future of the business.