Considerations While Outsourcing Cybersecurity Operations

Praveen Yeleswarapu
April 25, 2022

Understanding cause for resistance

In the wake of the digital era, organizations around the world are addressing cybersecurity issues and understanding their importance. However, the rising number of attacks and the shortage of qualified personnel to manage security operations have increased the average cost per breach as well as the cost of managing a SOC.

Despite the inflated costs, hiring difficulties, and recurring breaches, enterprises still refrain from outsourcing their cybersecurity operations to external service providers. Here are some of the reasons why organizations show resistance even when outsourcing presents a better value proposition.

The in-house obsession

Enterprises often argue that they ensure better system security when their technology and knowledge base are built in-house. However, the vision for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy must include the capability of addressing a large diversity of threats. Generally, this is achieved through testing and analyzing vast data sets.

The limitations of in-house cybersecurity are witnessed when the SOC is developing security protocols for the system. Since data sets and testing environments of the cybersecurity team are limited by industry, data feed, and operational expertise of the hired personnel, the SOC’s development is stunted. 

A third party aversion

A common argument made by enterprises refraining from outsourcing sec-ops is the risk of engaging with third parties. The argument is valid to some extent since third-party vendors are plagued with enterprise risk. However, cybersecurity firms are often better equipped to deal with threat actors than most enterprises. The benefits of expertise and the software arsenal of cybersecurity firms far outweigh the risks.

Skeptics and incredulity

Several enterprise executives are often skeptical about the capabilities and scope of the cybersecurity service provider’s solution. The standing argument here is the lack of comprehensive solutions in the past leading to breaches. However, as technology has advanced, providers have been able to counteract the efforts of threat actors, in most cases better than traditional in-house cybersecurity. Further, such consolidated expertise with several years of experience in the advent of modern internet usage has helped providers develop solutions that can outperform traditional any day of the week. 

Appreciating expertise

One of the first steps towards developing comprehensive cybersecurity is to accept that experts understand the dynamics of the domain much better. Organizations must understand that the cybersecurity industry has evolved faster than expected and they need experts to help protect them.

Leveraging diversity

An important asset at the side of cybersecurity firms is the privilege of working with clients from a myriad of sectors. This allows providers to get insights into a vast variety of cyber attacks and threat vectors. Since cybersecurity service providers work with multiple clients, they can collect data from multiple sources and use it to issue early warnings. Such information from different domains can help organizations prepare themselves for oncoming attacks and even prevent them. 

The cost factor

Another key benefit of outsourcing cybersecurity operations is the cost-benefit. As against in-house sec-ops which require substantial capital expenditure and hiring costs, outsourcing can help organizations achieve top-grade system security at a fraction of the cost. Further, outsourcing works on an operating expenditure model, therefore, it eliminates the need for a significant upfront expense. 

Outsourcing the upgrade

A major challenge of in-house cybersecurity operations is the difficulty in maintaining and especially upgrading existing infrastructure. Since in-house systems require heavy upfront expenditure, upgrading means another costly affair that organizations tend to avoid. This is likely to create gaps in enterprise security and lead to a breach considering threats are ever-evolving. 

When organizations outsource their cybersecurity to expert providers, they shift the responsibility of maintaining, updating, and upgrading sec-ops infrastructure to the provider. Since the providers’ course of business requires them to deliver the best security solutions to multiple clients, they are always on top of their infrastructure needs. 

Round the clock protection

In-house work on fixed hours, fixed days, and get leaves that are due. However, a cybersecurity firm requires adjustments to its schedule to ensure that systems are monitored at all times without fail. The fact that the smallest of mistakes can wreak havoc on an enterprise is a testament that organizations inviolably require round-the-clock cybersecurity and system monitoring. 

Outsourcing security operations to external providers helps organizations keep their systems secured even outside of traditional work hours. This ensures that the enterprise is prepared for everything from the holiday season to closing the books. 

Access to talent

Dedicated cybersecurity provides access to industry-leading and seasoned talent. Since the work environment helps these professionals gain the necessary skills to manage operations and work in a high-stress environment, they are always prepared to act and react when an event is witnessed. 

The market for cybersecurity professionals is scarce making it difficult for in-house teams to hire quality talent. Further, the cost of hiring and training several professionals makes in-house cybersecurity management a losing proposition. 

Looking ahead

Although firms may feel confident about their capability to handle their cybersecurity on their own, it is time to address the fact that there are experts in the market who bring much higher value and protection to an enterprise. Therefore, firms must focus their energies on identifying a reliable cybersecurity partner instead of burning resources on gas-guzzling in-house teams. It is critical that organizations understand their limitations and keep faith in the capabilities of cybersecurity experts.