Ihor
Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant

Solve the Lack of Resource by Outsourcing Cybersecurity

#Tech label

A 2019 Deloitte survey of 500 C-level executives found that 99% of organizations outsourced some portion of their cybersecurity operations. The most common percentage of outsourced cybersecurity services was 21-30% (identified by 44% of the execs). The survey also identified that the top four outsourced categories were security operations, vulnerability management, physical security and awareness and training.

Cisco also found that cybersecurity outsourcing has increased significantly in 2019, compared to the previous year. Based on a survey of 2,800 IT decision makers, the company’s 2020 CISO Benchmark Study found that cost-efficiency is the top reason for outsourcing (identified by 55% of respondents), followed closely by the need for more timely response to incidents (53%).

Most popular cybersecurity functions outsourced

cybersecurity functions outsourced to third parties

Security operations

Security threats are a serious business, therefore you need to monitor your surroundings all the time. The best practice is to unify your security team, technology and processes under the umbrella of a security operations center (SOC). Running a SOC around the clock, however, is not feasible for many businesses, especially smaller ones, hence outsourcing. 

Outsourcing either some of the security operations, such as network monitoring, or the entire SOC to a third party that provides security services reduces cost efficiencies. Another advantage of using managed security services provider (MSSP) or managed detection and response (MDR) vendors is that you can leverage their expertise, as well as not having to worry about employing a large cadre of security analysts and other specialists.

Vulnerability management

As seen with cyberattacks like WannaCry, legacy and unpatched, systems pose a major risk because bad actors are constantly finding ways to exploit vulnerabilities in software and hardware. But managing vulnerabilities is a constant battle for many organizations.

In a survey of nearly 3,000 IT security professionals, Ponemon Institute found that despite putting more resources toward vulnerability management, organizations are still not able to reduce the risks of an attack. Only half of the respondents said they could quickly detect vulnerabilities and respond to attacks, and only 44% said they could patch quickly. 

One of the truths about cybersecurity is that even with a full contingent of security personnel, you’re not going to be able to patch everything. Outsourcing vulnerability assessments (which may also include penetration testing outsourcing) can help you prioritize your risks so you can address the most critical vulnerabilities first.

Employee education and training

Cybersecurity education and training revolves around several layers. You first need to train both your end users and your security personnel. There are benefits to outsourcing each of these programs. 

The threat landscape is evolving so quickly that you always need to stay on top of the latest threats and best practices. Vendors whose core function is training are constantly updating their knowledge and training, which would be a lot more difficult to do in-house.

Who should consider outsourcing cybersecurity?

Companies and organizations outsource cybersecurity for different reasons. Usually, they might be trying to save the cost of running an in-house cybersecurity department or to meet the demand for reliable and efficient cybersecurity management services that they can’t necessarily provide for themselves.

Whichever one you choose, it’s actually cheaper and more efficient to outsource your data security so your internal IT unit can focus on other important tasks. Working with an outsourcing vendor like Relevant, puts your cybersecurity services in good hands, as they will ensure your data, vulnerability access points, and critical systems are protected.

Why outsourcing cybersecurity?

Dedicated security specialists on-hand

It’s a major boost to any business to have a dedicated security team, but it’s particularly beneficial to smaller businesses who would otherwise be left in a lurch if their IT staff lack the security expertise.

Offshore cybersecurity specialists can help with monitoring and updating the tactics and behaviour of cybercriminals, identifying network vulnerabilities, and, most of all: detect and respond swiftly to incidents. Being able to rectify issues quickly is what can prevent an attack from getting out of control, thus mitigating the knock-on effect on a company’s trust and reputation with clients. 

More cost-effective

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, and thus call for higher wages, rendering the option to hire an in-house security team unfeasible for many medium-sized companies – let alone smaller businesses.

Even existing IT teams may be overwhelmed with the challenges that cybersecurity brings and take away the time spent on simply managing IT networks and creating new solutions for the company. Cybersecurity is, therefore, a full-time role in itself. 

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Also, responding to threats, keeping staff adequately prepared, and the cost of investigating and patching issues can put on a strain on company expenses over time.

Thankfully, cybersecurity outsourcing companies can provide small-to-medium sized businesses an affordable, tiered solution with an experienced team of online security professionals

Stay up-to-date as technology evolves

This is perhaps one of the best reasons for businesses to outsource cybersecurity needs, as technology advances so too are the required skills and knowledge of cyber threats that new devices pose to IT networks.

Not only are computers, laptops, and smartphones being connected to corporate networks, but household or office appliances – the Internet Of Things (IoT) – are creating more end-points which need to be assessed for vulnerabilities and on-going monitoring. But with such sophisticated network setups, it becomes expedient for computer analysts to adequately keep pace with such developments. Many cybersecurity companies now turn to AI and machine learning to perform vulnerability scanning and threat detection, which is faster and more efficient than manual inspection.

So, by outsourcing cybersecurity, you’ll benefit from their ability to continually evolve with technology, which can be used to detect malicious activity and identify vulnerabilities with greater accuracy. 

Ensure your business stays compliant

Whether it’s the GDPR in Europe, and varying state-regulations in the U.S., the onus is on companies to ensure they comply or potentially face hefty fines in the event of a serious data breach. Therefore, businesses of all sizes must recognize the importance of safeguarding their data.

No businesses are considered to be a “low risk” target for cyber-attacks; hackers are just as eager to infiltrate systems with malware or ransomware due to the very nature that smaller business owners may believe they’re immune. The consequences of a data breach can range from a loss of trust from customers or clients, damage to reputation, and even legal action.

Outsourcing to a dedicated team can also instil more confidence that their IT infrastructure is up-to-date and personally identifiable information on clients or customers are kept safe from prying eyes. 

Lack of talent

If you have an in-house IT team but intend to outsource much of the heavier security work to an external company, then this can have a huge benefit to your staff in gaining new knowledge and skills.

Dedicated security specialists can help to identify vulnerabilities within networks, operating systems, and web applications, which many IT staff may be unaware of. Through working in tandem with external managed service providers, you can help reduce the risk of data breaches occurring through a human error by uncovering blind spots within your own team.

When it comes to cybersecurity, going it alone may prove to be a costly mistake for most businesses. The high level of knowledge and skills required to identify and respond to threats can stretch far beyond what many businesses have within their in-house IT team. Therefore, outsourcing to a dedicated security provider relieves much of the pressure of securing company data and gives peace of mind knowing you have a solid team of professionals ready to fend off cyber threats.

reasons to outsource cybersecurity

Cybersecurity outsourcing risks

You lose some control

As expected, when you contract work out to external companies or freelancers, you risk losing control of how those tasks are being monitored, performed and handled. But as long as you know and trust who you’ve hired, that shouldn’t be a huge issue, but you’ve got to tread carefully.

There are hidden costs

Although cybersecurity outsourcing work is generally considered cheaper, you must also be aware of getting ripped off. Outsourcing companies or big agencies will typically ask small business owners to sign lengthy contractual agreements, and they’ll include plenty of fine print. If you don’t read the terms carefully, you could get hit with unexpected costs.

There are security risks

In this age of data protection, it’s essential that you exercise caution whenever using customer data. If you plan to outsource processes that require personal data, you could be placing the privacy of others or security of your business at risk by passing that data on to other people because these data would be at their beck and call.

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You reduce quality control

Outsourcing companies and some freelancers may often be motivated by profit rather than a job well done. That means the work you send out may come back quickly, but will lack the standard and quality that customers have come to expect from your products or services.

What functions can be easily outsourced offshore

Service desk capabilities

This would support and monitor services.  It plays a key role by making sure there is round the clock service delivery. The service desk represents one of the most important core activities, requiring management on a daily basis.  A well-implemented service desk can drive efficiency throughout an organization.

Data center outsourcing

This involves the day-to-day management responsible for operating servers or host platforms, including distributed servers and storage. It is also a practice of outsourcing the day to day management of computing and storage resources.

Network services

This facilitates a network operation. Based on network protocols running at the application layer in the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model of the network, it provides server services which could run on multiple servers. It also enables a company’s network to perform basic functions such as NTP, DNS, DHCP, VoIP, File and Directory, Hardware Sharing, Email, and Website Hosting.  

Managed security operations or overall infrastructure management

This has to do with managing essential operation components such as policies, processes, equipment, data, human resources, and external contacts, for overall effectiveness. It also comprises the physical components and services that support business functions. The term infrastructure management refers to all of the components and elements that support management and access functions for data and information, along with other services.

New application development

This has to do with the creation of applications for company services maximization. Usually, a team of professionals are tasked with not only coming up with new ideas but also creation of applications that serves the company’s overall interest and enhances growth.   

Legacy system maintenance

Otherwise known as software maintenance, this has to do with the enhancement of products and reducing the margins of error or systems failure. Legacy systems maintenance employs the use of codes and AI for early warning detection.

Testing and QA services

Also known as functional testing, it validates software systems to make sure that individual functional applications meet expected outputs. It also includes Usability Testing, Performance Testing (it includes load and stress) Security Testing, Compatibility Testing and Mobile App Testing.

Packaged software implementation and management

This maximizes software package implementation. By creating system and process changes, critical business decisions can be reviewed and finalized well in advance of system configuration. It includes offerings that provide customers with ongoing support and maintenance for dominant packages.

How to choose a reliable cybersecurity partner

To achieve the greatest benefits from outsourcing security operations, you need to first define your specific company and unique business needs. It is also important to know what your core risks are. Take the time to determine the information that needs to be protected, where it is stored, and who has access to it. Then align necessary and required security technologies and solutions accordingly.

The right match will be an organization that helps at a strategic and tactical level including defining the overall strategy, asset discovery, conducting vulnerability assessments, intrusion detection, threat intelligence, deploying the right technologies, behavior monitoring and ensuring operational functionality. The right security company will address each aspect of your business to provide full protection and support.

Experience

The best cybersecurity and risk management firms can demonstrate their work in the IT field. They have years of experience on top of a portfolio of services that match their clients’ needs. They will demonstrate willingness and capacity to get the job done. They will be able to provide case studies as evidence of customer success and clearly articulate exactly how they help their clients, backed by measurable results. Ask examples of relevant experience or “war” stories and how they would implement their services. The more detail they provide the better. By asking the right questions you will be able to determine the right firm with a successful track record.

Skill Set

Security companies may have vendor-specific certifications as well as certifications and training from accredited institutions. Top-rated security professionals will openly display their awards, recognitions and certifications. Ask to see them if not displayed on their website. Inquire about specific staff certifications and training. You want to evaluate the team not just the company. This is important because a company is only as strong as those who work for it.

Customer Satisfaction

The company should be able to provide examples or stories of how they solved a customer’s issue or managed a customer’s project and how they successfully corrected a problem. It is also important to get in touch with past and present clients for more evaluation and due diligence.

Reporting Practices

When outsourcing any service, especially one as complex as cybersecurity, your company will need visibility into what is being managed and what the results are. Leading cybersecurity firms and MSSPs will have established monthly analytic and reporting expectations to ensure transparency with their business customers. To further protect any breaches into your network, it is advisable that in house IT specialists be in contact with them. 

Forward Thinking

Cyber criminals are dynamic and always finding newer way to breach systems. The best cybersecurity firms will be knowledgeable of past, current, and potential future threats as well as the technological solutions needed to combat such threats. To be effective, leading security experts must stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques being used by attackers. There should be a whole department focused on assimilating these trends.

Reputation and Reference

Ask for active client references and reviews to gauge performance, responsiveness, reliability and expertise. Customer feedback should provide a view into how the firm operates, and if they are a good match for your organization. Customer feedback should also shed a light on where the firm is lagging behind.

What Relevant can help you with

Relevant is a next-generation software development company that helps businesses build reliable, and safe products that help clients stand out, and navigate through their digital transformation journey. Relevant has also gained 7 years of extensive service and experience that has left a long-standing impression on all our projects.  You can easily outsource cybersecurity functions to us:

  • Vulnerability Assessment. Perform tests to identify security breaches and vulnerabilities.
  • Mobile and Web security. Secure your mobile and web applications from penetration.
  • Cloud security. Prevent data leaks in cloud platforms due to common flaws and mistakes.
  • Application security. Prevent application intrusion and compromise.
  • Overall security testing. Making sure you are properly secured.

Contact us now if you’d like to outsource any of these services.

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Written by
Ihor Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant
I make sure our clients get the highest code quality and the best tech talent on the market. I am also a Software Engineering Advisor for startups. Let's connect.

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