What Does it Mean to be a Good Partner?

by Stephanie Goetz | Apr 29, 2022


While the definition of a partner is fairly broad, its principles apply to a very broad spectrum of relationships. In the cybersecurity realm, this can apply to any third-party relationship such as a technology partner, hosting solution, software provider, and even a relationship with a virtual Information Security Officer.

As we continue to gain experience with our customers, whom we really view as partners, these are the five categories that make the partnerships most successful:

  1. Aligned values and goals- This means seeing eye to eye on the value of the partnership, how we go about getting to the goal of the partnership and what exactly is that goal. Some are looking at that goal as a quick win or check the box while others are looking to build a solid foundation. Either way, if the partners are not in alignment, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  2. Participation- This means providing the expected time and attention to get to that goal. Your partner needs to devote things that only they can bring to the table such as guidance, authority and pieces of the history that matter to the goal. While the project could eventually get there on its own, participation on both ends make getting to the goal more efficient, effective and much less frustrating.

  3. Communication- Straight forward communication and feedback is essential. This quote really says it all:

“A good business partner is direct. I often use a saying in business, with my family, and with my friends, and this saying is, "No one can read your mind." You have to tell people what's on your mind in a direct, straightforward manner. Nothing is truer in business. Sometimes you'll have good ideas, and sometimes they will be downright terrible. A business partner that is direct can bring honest feedback to any situation. You don't have to guess if they said what's on their mind or how they feel about it. They tell you. Every business is better when partners are direct with one another.” - JT Allen, myFootpath LLC

  1. Contribution- While this is similar to participation, contribution in this sense means putting in the work effort to achieve the goal of the partnership. Providing information and work products timely demonstrates the level of commitment to the goal and partnership. Depending on the level of contribution, this can become either encouraging or discouraging to the partners.

  2. Accountability- We all run into sickness, unexpected emergencies, and personal failings from time to time. It’s totally understandable because we are all human. However, in those situations, we can either be defensive or reach for excuses to avoid taking responsibility for those. On the other hand, we can admit to those shortcomings, sincerely apologize and make amends. It seems to me that the apology makes for a better partnership in the long run.

Everyone at Bedel Security is appreciative of all our partners and looks forward to continuing our joint successes. If you are seeking a partnership with a virtual ISO, please contact us at support@bedelsecurity.com.





Additional Resources:

Managing the Relationship Between Information Technology and Information Security

Culture Counts

A Message to Vendors

Independent Collaboration Part 2: A Framework for Outsourcing IT in Financial Institutions

Independent Collaboration Part 1: A Concept for Outsourcing IT in Financial Institutions

Assessing Risk: Outsourced Service Providers


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