Whether your business is large or small, a promising startup or household brand name, there has never been a greater need to make cybersecurity a top corporate priority.

New technologies, such as cloud computing and social media — coupled with a steep increase in sophisticated cyber attacks and complex mandates to combat those attacks — have shifted our focus from cyber threats being an IT issue; to an enterprise-wide risk management issue.

While choosing an auditing firm to address these emerging issues can feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Here are 4 qualities to focus on during the selection process.

1. Demonstrated Experience and Expertise
Not only should your auditing firm have the right qualifications in the way of certifications and licensures (e.g., CPA, CISA), but it’s best to select a firm with experience related to your specific needs. From PCI and HIPAA compliance to SOC reporting, you can find a firm that specializes in several assessments, which will cut down on costs and increase efficiency for your business over the long haul.

Also, look for leadership in the industry. Cybersecurity mandates are constantly evolving. Good auditors are aware of the latest trends; great auditors are helping develop new standards through their involvement with professional associations and task forces.

2. Impeccable Reputation
Your auditing firm should have a track record of success. Ask for client references and reach out for candid feedback. Businesses tend to use the same auditor year after year for efficiency sake; a quick rundown of your assessor’s existing and repeat clients will offer a great deal of insight.

Be sure to ask your potential assessors about their latest peer reviews. Occurring every three years, peer reviews were established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to evaluate compliance in the areas of accounting, auditing performances, and professional development. This review verifies your auditing firm is performing at or above industry standards.

3. Transparency and Communication
Look for an auditing firm that will listen to your needs, answer your questions, and address your concerns before trying to “pitch” you on everything their firm is capable of doing. If those lines of communication are open from the start, you can be confident that you are setting your organization up for success in the future. This will be especially apparent during the discussion (and even negotiation) of fees; firms should be transparent about their pricing, and you should ensure it’s competitive and reasonable.

Additionally, firms may have to distill and deliver difficult messages across departments. The best firms have subject matter experts on staff who are also great communicators — explaining things in a way that everyone in IT and marketing to the board level can understand.

4. Outstanding Client Support
Last, but certainly not least, is top-notch client service. Find a firm that understands your company’s mission, values and business objectives — and will tailor their approach and processes to your unique needs. Take time to interview the assessors who will work on your account as well as senior leadership, so you have a clear picture of how their people will work with yours to ensure a healthy, long-lasting partnership.

Choosing the right cybersecurity auditing firm is critical to the future success of your business. Take the time to find the best fit for your company’s’ security needs, culture, and budget.

If you’re looking for a firm with the qualifications described above, contact us for a free consultation. Or please refer us to a business in need of cybersecurity auditing services.