The Crucial Role of a Trustworthy Consultant in Building a Sustainable Program: A CIO Perspective

Updated on October 5, 2023

As a CIO with experience working with various consultants, I understand the importance of finding the right partner, especially in the realm of cybersecurity. Many consultants prioritize financial gains over personalized solutions, making it crucial to seek out ethical, committed and knowledgeable experts. In this article, I will highlight the key factors that make a good consultant, emphasizing the need for trust, a personal touch and a focus on tailored solutions.

Seeking References and Personal Contacts

A reliable consultant should have no hesitation providing references from previous clients who can vouch for their professionalism and quality of work. However, don’t rely solely on provided references; take the initiative to seek out your own contacts within the industry to gather additional insights into the consultant’s reputation and performance. 

Inquisitiveness and Calmness

The right consultant will ask thoughtful questions and remain calm, avoiding rushing into generic solutions. Their inquisitive nature demonstrates their commitment to understanding your organization’s unique challenges and tailoring solutions accordingly.

Focus on Knowledge Transfer

A good consultant should not be interested in just providing a quick fix; they should be dedicated to transferring knowledge to your internal team. Empowering your staff with the necessary skills ensures that your organization can maintain the benefits of the consultant’s expertise long after the engagement ends.

Establishing a Personal Connection

Building trust is vital for any successful consultant-client relationship. Seek a consultant who values a personal touch and loyalty to your organization’s mission. A strong personal connection fosters a collaborative and supportive environment for achieving common goals.

Trial Period Evaluation

Consider implementing a trial period before committing to a long-term engagement. This allows both parties to assess compatibility, working styles and expectations. The 90-day relationship rule should apply to business as well, a trial period provides an opportunity to determine how well the consultant fits into your organization’s culture and values. For example, I knew after a couple weeks of working with WiredSecurity that they were the right fit for our hospital system. 

Creating Tailored Solutions

Beware of consultants who offer one-size-fits-all solutions. A reliable consultant will analyze your organization’s specific challenges, objectives and resources to create a customized cybersecurity program that aligns perfectly with your unique needs. When it comes to cybersecurity, ethical behavior is non-negotiable. A trustworthy consultant must genuinely care about the security and wellbeing of your organization, putting your interests before their financial gains. Look for a partner who shares your ethical principles and values, committed to protecting your organization from potential threats.


Choosing the right consultant for your cybersecurity needs is paramount to building a sustainable program that effectively protects your organization. Focus on ethics, trust and personal connection, and seek out partners who are committed to providing tailored solutions and transferring knowledge. By doing so, you can ensure a successful and long-lasting consultant-client relationship that contributes to your organization’s security and prosperity.

Anis Trabelsi headshot copy
Anis Trabelsi
Chief Information Officer at Palomar Health
With extensive security experience, Anis has led the Palomar Health security team since 2016, serving as the former Chief Security Officer and the current Chief Information Officer. As Chief Information Officer, he leads the IT Department, Cybersecurity Office and physical security functions to align key processes with regulatory compliance and with the vision, goals and objectives for reimagining healthcare security at Palomar Health. With an impressive and diverse background, Anis retired as a decorated law enforcement officer in 2016 and served honorably in the United States Marine Corps before that. He holds a master’s degree in management from the University of Redlands and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix.