The Importance of Cyber Security Discussions with Clients and Vendors

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In today’s increasingly interconnected digital landscape, where businesses rely heavily on technology to conduct their operations, the importance of cyber security cannot be overstated. As organizations exchange sensitive data with clients and collaborate with vendors across the globe, the need for robust cybersecurity conversations has never been more critical.

In this article, we’ll explore the vital role that cybersecurity discussions play in fostering trust, protecting valuable information, and ensuring the smooth flow of business transactions between clients and vendors. We’ll also address the key reasons why engaging in cybersecurity conversations is a necessity and a strategic imperative for modern businesses.

Cybersecurity Conversations with Clients

In excerpts from an article by SBSCyber, they wrote, “ Many organizations tend to overlook the potential risks posed by their customers. Poor cybersecurity practices of customers can result in a compromise that affects your organization. A malicious attacker successfully accessing your customer’s information can set them up for a corporate account takeover (CATO) scenario. Customer compromise is tough to combat and can often lead to reputational and monetary damage to your business.

Sharing a strong culture of cybersecurity has benefits beyond mitigating cyber risks; it builds confidence amongst your employees and customers that you have made it a priority.

Develop a Training Plan

Your customers will benefit from a training plan that includes basic cybersecurity knowledge, best practices, and tips. To keep it simple, create a plan based on the same security awareness topics already shared internally, including:

  • Social engineering and phishing – A good start for a training plan is to teach customers about the various social engineering attacks, giving extra attention to phishing. Introduce the idea of The Golden Rule of Email, which is to treat every email like it is a phishing attempt. Additionally, provide information about the dangers of phishing emails, explain how to identify and handle a suspicious email, and suggest controls they can use to protect against this common threat.
  • Physical security – Educate customers about physical security threats and best practices.
    Access controls, including passwords – Educate customers on the importance of strong authentication mechanisms. Stress the importance of length vs. complexity when it comes to passwords and encourage the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible.
  • Remote access security – Educate customers on the importance of securing remote workers through the use of VPNs, wireless network best practices, quality anti-malware programs, etc.
  • Use of encryption – Educate customers on the importance of data encryption.
  • Mobile device security – Educate customers about security controls for mobile devices, including strong passwords, biometric authentication, encryption, anti-malware programs, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Malware awareness – Educate customers about defending against malicious software.
  • Importance of anti-virus and firewalls – Stress the importance of firewalls and the use of malicious program detection programs.
  • Security awareness – Stress the importance of ongoing security awareness training and staying up to date about modern attacks.
  • Incident response plans – Stress the importance of corporate customers building a plan to fail well (an incident response plan) if they are compromised.

Using multiple delivery channels to provide education can help ensure your customers see it throughout the year. Delivery channels can include:

  • Provide relevant cybersecurity tips, news stories, and alerts on your website.
  • Incorporate cybersecurity tips into your on-hold message when customers call your business or on physical statements or invoices.
  • Include a monthly tip in your newsletter or social media accounts to keep cybersecurity top-of-mind.
  • Encourage your customers and employees to follow your organization or other cybersecurity organizations on social media.
  • Place posters, articles, or other educational materials in the entryway, break room, bathroom, or other meeting areas.
  • Provide cybersecurity resources, control suggestions, or self-audits during account opening.
  • Host an event, such as:For business customers: Plan a lunch and learn event focusing on the latest cybersecurity tips and trends.For the community: Host a cybersecurity awareness day for community members to shred sensitive documents, listen to short presentations, and play cyber-themed games or trivia.For your board: Have a guest speaker discuss the trends they are witnessing and the risks associated with generating increased buy-in.

Whether you choose to talk with your customers about cybersecurity virtually or in person, here are some additional considerations to keep in mind:

  • Invite the community: Not only should you include your existing customers, but you should consider expanding your audience to the community at large.
  • Timing: Reach the broadest audience by hosting several sessions conveniently scheduled to cover the most people possible.
  • Location (if in-person): Ensure the location is conveniently accessible and big enough to comfortably host your expected audience.
  • Platform (if virtual): Choose a platform that is easily accessible by your customers, user-friendly, and secure.
  • Partner locally: Pair up with your local chamber of commerce, an area civic organization, or an academic institution to add additional community reach or resources.
  • Bring in the experts: If you’re not confident talking about cybersecurity yourself, bring in a cybersecurity expert or someone from a law enforcement agency (FBI, Secret Service, your local police department, etc.) to speak on your behalf. Choose speakers with experience in covering cybersecurity topics. Additionally, consider recording the session for those unable to attend and/or to use for content later.

Sharing a Strong Cybersecurity Culture

Getting out in front of your customers and talking about the importance of cybersecurity is a win/win/win:

  1. You are helping to create stronger customers that are more resistant to cyber attacks, benefiting both you and your customers.
  2. You show your customers they are more than just a number. You’re strengthening relationships and demonstrating care about their well-being.
  3. You have an opportunity to showcase new products, services, or features and boost the usage of current offerings.

Discussing cybersecurity with your customers allows you to highlight the measures your organization is taking to safeguard their information. In today’s market, with cybersecurity being a deciding factor for consumers when making choices, being transparent and forthcoming about your cybersecurity practices and culture can build customer trust and attract new clients.”

9 Security Questions Business Owners Must Ask Vendors

In an article by StaySafeOnline, they wrote, “No matter the nature or size of your company, you need to think about cybersecurity in our connected present.

This doesn’t just mean your own operation’s cybersecurity but the security of every vendor you do business with.

If you partner with a third party that takes a lax approach to cybersecurity, it puts your company’s and your customers’ data at risk.

Here are some questions you should ask every vendor to ensure that their security is robust enough to deserve your business. Always engage in a Service Level Agreement and contract with the vendor so all expectations are clearly articulated.

How will you protect my data?

The data of your company, employees, and customers is precious and should be treated like cash. Get specifics about how a vendor protects and stores data:

  • Would our company always retain ownership of its data?
  • Does the vendor have a written controls plan that contains the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards you use to collect, process, protect, store, transmit, dispose, or otherwise handle our data (usually called an Information Security Policy)?
  • Are encryption methods utilized for data in transit and data at rest?
  • Will the vendor provide multi-tenant controls for the separation of users and data?
  • Will the vendor provide access control mechanisms like unique user IDs, password standards, and role-based access?
  • Will third-party vendors (e.g., subcontractors, managed shared hosting) hired by the vendor be restricted from having access to my company’s data?
  • Will the vendor provide written assurance of its and its third-party vendors’ security and controls while customer data is being collected, processed, and retained?
  • What is the vendor’s process for purging files and records and removing access upon completion of the service, task, or contract?
Are your employees trained in cybersecurity?

Ask if the vendor has a pre-employment screening policy for employees and contractors. What is that process? What is the process for training staff in security?

What certifications do you have?

Seek out vendors who have industry-standard security certifications like ISO 27001, SOC 2, or PCI DSS. These certifications demonstrate a commitment to maintaining high-security standards. Ask for documentation.

How often do you update your software?

Keeping software updated is one of the best ways to have bleeding-edge security. Specifically, ask if the vendor maintains up-to-date versions of their antivirus software and operating systems. How does the vendor ensure all of their systems are kept up to date? How often are systems scanned for out-of-date software and patches?

Know that different systems have different software update cadences, and updates to software are usually tested before being deployed. You should seek out answers about timing – a vendor might apply critical updates within 48 hours while scheduling out “high severity” updates to be applied within five business days.

How do you secure your network infrastructure?

Ensure your vendor has robust network security measures in place. Ask about firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other technologies they use to protect their networks from cyber threats. What does the vendor do to prevent security incidents or breaches?

How often does it check for vulnerabilities?

Do you have a business continuity plan?

Inquire about their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. This will help you understand how well-prepared they are to respond to unforeseen events and minimize downtime. Is the plan written down? Is it tested periodically?

What is your incident response plan?

Preventing an incident is all well and good, but find out how a vendor plans to react to an incident. Does the company have an incident response plan, a written plan to promptly identify, report, and respond to security breaches? Can the vendor, and any relevant third party the vendor contracts with, send the results of its last security audit? Does the vendor hire an external audit firm to perform a compliance review of its operational controls?

How will you help me comply with relevant data protection regulations?

Inquire whether your vendors comply with data protection regulations applicable to their industry and location. This is critically important if your business handles sensitive customer information. Are files and records reviewed, retained, and purged in accordance with legal requirements, contractual obligations, and service-level agreements?

How can I get ahold of you?

Ask about how to contact the vendor in case of an emergency, like a security incident. Remember, these can happen on weekends and holidays!

As a business owner, securing sensitive data and protecting your operations from cyber threats needs to be a top priority. By asking your vendors these crucial security questions, you can be confident that you’re maintaining a secure environment for your business. Cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and working with vendors who prioritize it will help safeguard your business and your customers’ trust in the long run.”


We can’t overstate the importance of having cybersecurity discussions with both clients and vendors in today’s interconnected digital landscape. It highlights how businesses heavily rely on technology for their operations, making cybersecurity critical. The article discusses the following key points:

Cybersecurity Conversations with Clients: Organizations should not overlook the potential risks posed by their customers. Poor cybersecurity practices by customers can lead to compromises that affect the organization, potentially resulting in corporate account takeovers and reputational damage. To address this, businesses are encouraged to develop training plans for customers, covering topics like social engineering, physical security, access controls, encryption, mobile device security, malware awareness, and more. Using various delivery channels to provide education, such as websites, on-hold messages, newsletters, and events, is recommended.

Sharing a Strong Cybersecurity Culture: Engaging in cybersecurity discussions with customers helps create stronger, more resilient customers who are better equipped to resist cyberattacks. It also strengthens customer relationships and demonstrates care for their well-being. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to showcase cybersecurity measures in place, which can build customer trust and attract new clients.

Security Questions for Vendors: The article also discusses the importance of evaluating the cybersecurity practices of vendors. It provides a list of security questions that business owners should ask vendors to ensure robust security measures are in place. These questions cover topics such as data protection, employee training, security certifications, software updates, network security, business continuity and disaster recovery plans, incident response plans, compliance with data protection regulations, and emergency contact information.

In short, cybersecurity discussions with clients and vendors are essential for safeguarding valuable information, fostering trust, and ensuring the smooth flow of business transactions in today’s digital business landscape. It emphasizes that cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and working with vendors who prioritize it is crucial for long-term security and customer trust.


Businesses that rely heavily on technology for their operations face many cybersecurity challenges. Engaging in cybersecurity conversations with clients helps organizations address potential risks posed by customers and empowers them to create a more resilient customer base. By providing training on various cybersecurity aspects and using multiple communication channels, businesses mitigate risks, build trust, strengthen relationships, and showcase their commitment to safeguarding valuable information.

When it comes to vendors, evaluating their cybersecurity practices is paramount. Asking the right security questions ensures that vendors are committed to robust data protection, employee training, compliance with regulations, and incident response preparedness. Collaborating with vendors who prioritize cybersecurity is crucial for maintaining a secure environment and safeguarding customer trust.

In a digital landscape where cybersecurity is a deciding factor for consumers, these discussions are essential for protecting sensitive data, fostering trust, and ensuring the long-term success of modern businesses. Cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and by actively engaging with both clients and vendors in these conversations, organizations can navigate the evolving threat landscape with confidence and resilience.

At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.

Every device connecting to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.

Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions, you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime, creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.

To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at