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Why You Should Rotate Your Cybersecurity Supplier

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity threats are evolving at an unprecedented pace. For businesses striving to stay ahead of these threats, the approach to cybersecurity cannot be static. One of the most effective strategies companies can adopt is rotating their cybersecurity suppliers, particularly when it comes to penetration testing (pentesting). This dynamic approach can significantly bolster a company's defenses and ensure robust security postures. Let’s delve into why this practice is crucial and how it benefits organizations.


The Ever-Changing Landscape of Cyber Threats

Cyber threats are not stagnant; they are constantly evolving. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, employing new tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that can bypass traditional security measures. According to the World Economic Forum, cyberattacks have surged by 67% since the COVID-19 pandemic began, highlighting the urgent need for adaptive security measures.


The Pitfalls of Familiarity

When companies stick with a single cybersecurity supplier for too long, they run the risk of falling into a comfort zone. Familiarity can breed complacency, both for the supplier and the client. This can lead to a lack of fresh perspectives on potential vulnerabilities and security gaps. As the cybersecurity landscape evolves, a single supplier might not be able to keep up with every new threat vector. This is particularly true in pentesting, where the goal is to uncover vulnerabilities before malicious actors do.



The Benefits of Supplier Rotation

  1. Fresh Perspectives and Innovative Techniques: Rotating cybersecurity suppliers brings in fresh sets of eyes and innovative testing methodologies. Different firms may specialize in various aspects of security and use unique approaches to identify vulnerabilities. This diversity can lead to more comprehensive security assessments. As Gartner suggests, diversity in security testing teams can uncover different types of vulnerabilities, providing a more rounded defense strategy.

  2. Mitigating Blind Spots: Every cybersecurity firm has its strengths and weaknesses. By rotating suppliers, companies can cover a wider array of potential vulnerabilities. One firm might excel in network security while another specializes in application security. This holistic approach ensures that no area is overlooked, as different firms may identify different issues.

  3. Enhanced Accountability: Regularly changing suppliers can prevent complacency. It keeps suppliers on their toes, knowing that their work will be reviewed and potentially followed up by another firm. This continuous evaluation ensures high standards and accountability. Harvard Business Review notes that this practice can lead to improved performance and innovation as suppliers strive to maintain their contracts.


Case Study: The Power of Rotation

Consider a global financial institution that decided to rotate its pentesting suppliers annually. In the first year, their initial supplier identified several critical vulnerabilities. In the second year, a new supplier uncovered additional issues that the first had missed, including novel attack vectors that had emerged in the intervening months. By the third year, yet another supplier introduced advanced testing techniques, further strengthening the institution’s defenses. This rotation not only uncovered more vulnerabilities but also ensured that the institution’s cybersecurity measures remained cutting-edge.


Implementing a Rotation Strategy

To effectively implement a rotation strategy, companies should:

  • Plan Regular Intervals: Establish a schedule for rotating suppliers, whether annually, biannually, or at another interval that suits the company’s needs.

  • Evaluate Performance: After each rotation, assess the performance and findings of the suppliers to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Foster Collaboration: Encourage knowledge transfer between outgoing and incoming suppliers to ensure a seamless transition and continuous improvement in security posture.

  • Stay Informed: Keep up with industry trends and emerging threats to select suppliers who are at the forefront of cybersecurity innovations.


Rotating cybersecurity suppliers, especially for pentesting, is not just a best practice; it is a strategic imperative in today’s threat landscape. It brings fresh perspectives, mitigates blind spots, enhances accountability, and ensures that a company’s defenses are always adapting to new threats. By embracing this dynamic approach, businesses can significantly enhance their cybersecurity resilience and protect their most valuable assets.


By adopting a strategy of rotating cybersecurity suppliers, companies can fortify their defenses and stay ahead of malicious actors. Embrace the change, and make cybersecurity an ever-evolving, proactive stance.


Sources:

  1. World Economic Forum. (2023). Cybersecurity in the post-pandemic world.

  2. Gartner. (2022). The Importance of Diversity in Cybersecurity.

  3. Harvard Business Review. (2021). Supplier Accountability in Cybersecurity.


Did you know that you need to rotate you cybersecurity partner? Comment below!

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