How to Choose a Cybersecurity Professional Services Provider – A 6-Step Guide

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Choosing a Cybersecurity Professional Services (PS) provider is similar to choosing any other professional provider. 

Think about how you would go about choosing a doctor, lawyer, or mechanic. Would you look at reviews? Seek out referrals? Conduct brief phone interviews? 

The process for choosing a PS provider is largely the same. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to find a Cybersecurity Professional Services provider that best suits your needs.

(Already have a list of potential providers but need help deciding? Skip to the end for our top evaluation tips). 

1. Determine What You're Looking For

It may sound obvious, but determining what exactly you want from a Cybersecurity Professional Services provider is a crucial first step. Ask yourself the following questions: 

    • What are your objectives?
    • What is your timeframe?
    • What skills, background, and experience do you want your provider to have?
    • What level of outsourcing, if any, are you comfortable with?  
    • What professional values does your provider need to reflect? 
    • How important is longevity and continued support to you?

Put all of this information into a list that you keep near you for the rest of the search process, and refer back to it often.

2. Build an Initial List of Candidates

Once you have a firm understanding of what you’re looking for in a provider, it’s time to actually start looking for one. 

Get an idea of which providers are out there by doing some quick Google searches, browsing social media sites like LinkedIn, asking around in your network, or combing through relevant professional publications.  

3. Conduct a First-Level Screening

Now it’s time to start doing some deeper research into the candidates on your list. 

Find out each provider’s credentials, experience, and technical knowledge. Are their employees in-house, or do they outsource to other contractors? How long have they been in business? Can you find reviews or examples of their work online?  

You might also call the providers to hear what they have to say about themselves. This is just an initial screening, so a quick 10- to 15-minute call will suffice. 

4. Ask for Referrals or Client Satisfaction Surveys

Hearing what providers’ clients have to say about them is a great way to vet them even further. 

Every good provider will have a list of referrals whom you can contact. When speaking with these referrals, ask about their overall satisfaction with the provider, what goals the provider helped them accomplish, whether they would use the provider again, and any other questions you may think of. 

If you want to take it a step further, you can also ask providers to share results of client satisfaction surveys. Aim high — companies like SP6 have overall satisfaction ratings of 9.8+.

5. Schedule an Interview

By now, you should be confident in one or two providers. Scheduling a final interview with them allows you to ensure that everything you’ve researched about them online is accurate. It also gives you a chance to discuss your goals, explain your organization, and get a feel for the provider’s culture and ethos. 

6. Conduct a Final Evaluation

You’ve made it to the final step! Before committing to a provider, it’s important to do one last evaluation.

Here are some key criteria to consider:

Knowledge

Does the provider have a deep, well-rounded knowledge that’s backed up by certifications, accreditations, and years of experience? Are they versed in multiple domains?

Finding a provider with broad expertise can be difficult, but worth it. At SP6, our 40+ engineers are experienced in every domain — security, IT ops, observability, etc. — and are certified in all Splunk use cases and premium apps.

Longevity

Will your provider be able to support you if you decide to expand beyond your initial PS request?

Most clients end up purchasing additional services from their providers later down the line, so it’s important to find a provider who can support you end-to-end in your journey. Consider if they have a broad enough knowledge and if it appears they’ll be around for the long haul.

Focus on Outcomes

Does your provider focus mainly on the technology, or do they instead focus on the outcomes that this technology can bring you?

One of our core values at SP6 is driving customer success. Our Professional Services Providers will work tirelessly to get you the outcomes you need.

Want to learn more about SP6’s Cybersecurity and IT Professional Services offerings? Schedule a consultation with us today.