How Strong is Their Phishing Defense: Choosing a Cybersecurity Firm

Written by Matt Adams on November 1, 2022

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According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2022 Report, the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. has reached $9.44 million, a 13% increase from 2020. Phishing attacks are responsible for 17% of those breaches, and email phishing is the top concern for 90% of IT professionals.

A data breach not only results in penalties and costly downtime, but it can also erode customer trust, tarnish your reputation and lead to loss of business in the long term. Companies of any size must take steps to protect their IT infrastructures.

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Partnering with a cybersecurity firm is one of the best ways to strengthen your phishing defense because it allows you to efficiently implement the latest best practices, apply appropriate controls to safeguard your data and stay compliant with fast-changing regulations.

But how do you choose the firm that’s right for your business?

How to Choose a Cybersecurity Firm for Your Business’s Phishing Defense

The best cybersecurity firms use phishing defense strategies that address people, processes and technology. When evaluating a cybersecurity firm’s breadth and depth of expertise, it’s important to consider how well they can implement processes and tools proven to deter phishing and other cyberattacks.

You’ll want to make sure the managed service provider (MSP) or managed security services provider (MSSP) demonstrates the ability to handle each of the best practices outlined below.

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Preventing Phishing Attacks: Best Practices

1. Vulnerability Testing

A cybersecurity firm should conduct a thorough vulnerability test to understand your security posture and identify top security concerns. An MSSP should also provide regular status updates to identify critical issues and take action promptly to keep your business and customer data safe.

2. Technical Controls

Select a firm with the capabilities to implement the appropriate hardware and software to protect your infrastructure against cyberattacks. These include firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), identity and access management (IAM) technologies, phishing detection and response software, etc.

3. Internal Process Controls

You need rigorous internal processes and procedures to prevent attacks and protect digital assets. An MSSP should help you identify and implement the appropriate controls based on a recognized framework (e.g., NIST-800, SOC 2) and specific industry regulations (e.g., PCI-DSS, HIPAA) to ensure compliance.

4.  Penetration Testing (Pen Test)

A cybersecurity firm can perform ethical hacking to identify weaknesses in your environment that a threat actor can exploit to breach your systems and steal your data. They should then analyze the results and provide recommendations to help you address the most urgent vulnerabilities.

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5. Phishing Simulation Test

A phishing simulation test reveals how your employees respond to social engineering schemes. Based on the results, an MSSP can provide recommendations on how to prevent spear phishing and phishing attacks from impacting your company.

A cybersecurity firm should demonstrate the different methods attackers may use to infiltrate your systems. They should educate your employees on social engineering tactics and debrief them on the implications of their actions and how to keep your data safe.

6.  Email Usage Policy

An email usage policy can help you strengthen your phishing defense and minimize the risks of data breaches. An MSSP should help you craft or update your email policy and include measures to prohibit the use of personal email accounts for business activities, personal use of company email accounts or the sharing of sensitive information via email.

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7.  End-user Security Training

It takes only one employee clicking on one malicious link to expose your entire infrastructure to malware and viruses—and your defense is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. Therefore, a cybersecurity firm should help you implement an employee training program and provide phishing consultation to support your security goals.
Besides conducting new hire onboarding and annual training events, your MSSP should help you foster cybersecurity awareness and educate employees about governance procedures, regulatory demands and industry trends to build a security-first company culture.

8.  Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a basic tactic that any cybersecurity firm should implement or activate for its clients. It offers an extra layer of phishing defense by preventing hackers who manage to obtain an employee’s credentials from logging into your system.

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9.  Cloud and Web Application Security

As more companies move their data and processes to the cloud, a cybersecurity firm must look beyond the four walls of its office to protect all critical data. For example, they should configure access management, secure API connections and ensure all data is encrypted at rest, in use and in transit.

10.  Backup and Recovery Plan

Some hackers use phishing schemes to deliver malware and ransomware that can cause data loss and costly downtime. Choose an MSSP with experience implementing comprehensive backup and recovery plans, which can help you ensure continual access to your business-critical data and stay operational even if you come under attack.

11.  Reliable Monitoring and Support

An MSSP should reliably monitor threats and network activities. A cybersecurity firm should also have a well-defined escalation process to address alerts and notifications promptly.

Finding the Right Cybersecurity Firm for Your Company’s Phishing Defense

Even if an MSSP meets all the criteria above, they need to take the time to understand your organization’s structure and objectives. A cybersecurity firm should develop insights to design and implement policies that meet your business needs and compliance requirements.

The first step to strengthening your phishing defense and securing your sensitive data is identifying potential issues and vulnerabilities in your system. A cybersecurity and phishing consultation can help you prioritize resources and address areas most prone to attacks.

With these insights, an MSSP can create a plan to target high-priority issues, implement industry best practices for preventing phishing attacks and improve your security posture over time to stay ahead of cybercriminals.

Warren Averett Technology Group offers extensive cybersecurity services and solutions to help our clients keep their data safe and their businesses running smoothly. Our tests and assessments help you identify vulnerabilities and take the appropriate remediation steps.

Schedule a consultation with our experts to evaluate your system’s security and help you minimize your vulnerabilities cost-effectively.

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