According to the PwC 2015 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey, 79 percent of companies detected a security incident in the past 12 months. It’s no surprise then that Gartner says information security spending will reach $81.6 billion by the end of 2016, increasing nearly 8 percent over 2015. Organizations no longer wonder if they’re at risk for a security attack. They know it’s a matter of when, and they are investing in their information security posture to mitigate risks.

The great news for the channel is that Gartner also says consulting and IT outsourcing represents the biggest area of spending, and it is expected to continue being the highest growth area through the end of 2020. Organizations need to focus on driving their business forward, rather than remaining focused solely on preparing for and preventing security incidents.

With numerous security products at your disposal, clients are looking to the channel for help with building the best security stack available to protect their IT infrastructure from attacks. But  channel partners also have an opportunity to offer guidance to help them develop a proactive plan for mitigating risks and being prepared for when a cybersecurity attack occurs. Offering this insight will further a channel partner’s position as trusted advisor and create additional opportunities for share-of-wallet. Here are the three security questions to ask the client that will get those conversations going:

How often is your organization reviewing security logs, and who is reviewing them? Are you confident that someone on your team would recognize a threat as soon as it took place vs. normal traffic spikes? 

Most companies don’t deal with cybersecurity incidents on a daily basis and can therefore find themselves unprepared when one occurs. Oftentimes, a threat may go unnoticed if there is inconsistent monitoring or review of security logs. According to EIQ Networks, 90 percent of CIOs and other top IT professionals across industries said security breaches were their top concern. However, only 21 percent of the 145 IT decision-makers surveyed said they are truly confident in their system’s ability to mitigate the risk of security incidents. By determining the consistency of monitoring and expertise of a client’s internal security team, partners can recommend the best products and strategy for security monitoring. By explaining which tools will work best to secure, capture and analyze data in a forensically sound way, clients stand the best chance of knowing what has been compromised and how it was done when the time comes.

Do you have an Incident Handling Guide in place? 

Following an incident, there is much to uncover: how it occurred, who (if anyone) was responsible and what data was impacted. In the absence of a well-thought-out post-incident plan, key steps may be missed that could result in increased exposure during a security breach. More important, clients who operate under compliance regulations are required to have an incident or crisis plan in place.

An Incident Handling Guide (IHG) helps an organization respond to any and all security incidents, ranging from internal threats and  employee error to the theft of private customer information by a skilled hacker. By following the guide, an organization can respond to an incident step by step, helping to protect potential evidence, employees, customers and the organization itself. Although not a product for sale, by inquiring about and recommending an IHG, you’re providing sound counsel to the clients, who should consider not just which products they use to protect their data but also how they respond to any potential attacks without panicking or taking unpredictable actions that could endanger themselves or the company.

Do you have a provider on retainer to handle cybersecurity incidents?  

The best security approach is one that monitors a company’s data 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. When an incident occurs, companies need help instantly, no matter the day or time. Organizations should understand that seconds count and recommending a vendor who provides around-the-clock support sends the message that whatever extraneous damage that could be done during lags in the response will be avoided thanks to your partnership.

When it comes to security, nobody likes taking chances. Preparing the answers to these questions ahead of time and addressing them whether your client brings them up or not will instill confidence that they have partnered with someone who is a trusted expert, not just a solutions provider.

Isaiah Hogberg is an IT and channel sales professional, with more than 15 years of experience. He is currently Vice President of Channel Sales at ViaWest, where he helped to create and build the company’s indirect channel program.