Cybersecurity outsourcing was viewed as an inorganic process that is often restricted. Cybersecurity outsourcing is still rare today. Many companies instead prefer to handle security issues themselves.
Although cybersecurity outsourcing is something that almost everyone has heard of, the details are still very different in many companies.
This article will answer the important question: Is there any risk in outsourcing cybersecurity? Who will the service be used for? What are the benefits of outsourcing security? What is the difference between essays and MSSP models?
Why do Companies Outsource?
Outsourcing refers to the transfer of certain functions within your business to another company. Why Outsourcing? Companies need to reduce their costs. This is the obvious answer. This is either because they lack the necessary competencies or because it’s more profitable to do some functions on the side. Outsourcing is great for companies that need to implement complex technical systems and are not equipped or competent to do so.
Organizations need to be more secure due to constant increase in threat types and numbers. For a variety of reasons, organizations often lack the necessary technology and are forced to hire third-party vendors.
Who has The Need for Cybersecurity Outsourcing?
Cybersecurity outsourcing is possible for any company. It all depends on the security goals and objectives that are being achieved with it. Small businesses are the best choice, as information security functions are often secondary to business functions because they lack funds or competence.
Outsourcing is a different goal for large companies. It helps them solve information security problems more efficiently. They often have complex security problems that are difficult to solve without external help. This is an example of DDoS protection. This type of attack is so powerful that it is difficult to stop without third-party services.
Large companies may also consider outsourcing for economic reasons. Outsourcing allows them to achieve the desired function at a reduced cost.
However, outsourcing may not be the right choice for every company. Companies should focus on their core business. You can and should do some things yourself, but in others it is better to have part of the IS functions outsourced or to completely outsource. In general, however, I believe that outsourcing makes information security more efficient and reliable.
Which Information Security Functions are The Most Frequently Outsourced?
Outsourcing operational and implementation functions is preferable. It is sometimes possible to outsource certain functions that are critical to information security departments. This could include policy management, among other things.
Information security outsourcing is often necessary to protect a company’s website from DDoS attacks, build a branch network, or ensure its safe operation. Outsourcing can also reflect the maturity of a company’s key and non-key competencies and willingness to share responsibility with other companies.
These functions are very popular with those who use outsourcing:
- Vulnerability scanning
- Monitoring and response to threats
- Penetration testing
- Audits of information security
- Incident investigation
- DDoS protection
Outsourcing vs. Outstaffing
Outstaffing and outsourcing differ in the way that staff are managed and how they are used. Outstaffing is when the customer does this. If the solution is implemented by the provider, it is outsourcing.
Outstaffing is when the integrator provides a customer with a dedicated employee (or a team) to help them. These people are usually temporarily part of the customer’s team. The dedicated staff can continue to work for the provider even though they are outsourced. The customer can provide their expertise, while the staff members can be assigned to other projects simultaneously. Outsourcing allows customers to receive separate parts.
Outstaffing allows the provider to have all of their staff occupied with a particular customer’s project. This company can participate in people searching, hiring and firing employees. Outstaffing providers are only responsible for HR and accounting functions.
Outsourcing also offers a new management model: The customer receives support for a particular security function and the provider manages staff to implement it.
Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) or Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS)
Two areas should be distinguished: traditional outsourcing (MSSP), and cloud outsourcing.
A company can order an information security service using MSSP. It will be based on a specific set of protection tools. The MSS provider handles the management of the tools. The MSS provider takes care of the monitoring and setup.
SECaaS outsourcing works differently. The provider offers specific security services to the customer. SECaaS refers to technology that the provider provides the customer with full control over.
Comparing taxi and car sharing will help you understand the differences between MSSP (and SECaaS) better. The driver is the one who controls the car. The driver provides a delivery service to the passenger. The customer takes control of the vehicle and drives it to his home.
How can You Evaluate The Effectiveness and Efficiency of Outsourcing?
It is crucial to consider the economic benefits of outsourcing. However, it is difficult to calculate its effects and compare them with internal solutions (in house)
The following rule of thumb can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of an information security system: For projects lasting 3 – 5 year, focus on optimizing OPEX, operating expense; for longer projects, optimize CAPEX, capital expenditure.
While outsourcing is a decision that involves a change in business model, the economic efficiency assessment can sometimes be overlooked. Companies are increasingly guided by the critical need for information security functions. Only when deciding on a method for implementation, efficiency evaluation is necessary. This transformation is happening under the guidance of government authorities and analytical agencies (Gartner, Forrester). In the next ten year, it is predicted that outsourcing will increase to 90% in certain areas.
The company’s specifics are key to determining efficiency. It is dependent on many factors that are specific to the company and cannot be calculated individually. You must consider all costs, even those that may arise from possible downtime.
What Functions Shouldn’t be Outsourced?
Outsourcing functions that are closely connected to company internal business processes is not a good idea. These emerging risks could impact not only the customer, but all internal communications. This decision might be restricted by data privacy regulations. To implement such a model, it will require additional approvals.
There are exceptions to this rule, but generally, customers should be prepared to take certain risks. If the customer isn’t willing to accept responsibility for violating the IS function, outsourcing is unaffordable.
Cybersecurity Outsourcing has Many Benefits
Let me now assess the appeal of cybersecurity outsourcing for different types of companies.
IS outsourcing is a great way to help a company with up to 1000 employees build a cyber defense layer, delegating tasks where it doesn’t have enough competence.
Larger companies that employ more than 10,000 people must meet the Time-to Market criterion. Outsourcing allows you to quickly solve problem and also saves you time dealing with HR issues.
Information security outsourcing also benefits regulators. Because regulators must solve the country’s security problems, they are keen to find partners. A separate structure for transfer control is the best option for government authorities. There is room for cybersecurity outsourcing even in the offices of presidents of countries. This allows you to concentrate on your core functions while outsourcing information security for a quick technical solution.
For large projects like the Olympics, outsourcing information security is attractive. The structure will be removed after the event. Outsourcing is the best option.
Evaluation of Service Quality
Confidence in the quality and reliability of the service provided is what creates trust. Control is an important issue. Customers have to be able to identify what they are outsourcing. The hybrid model is the most popular. Companies can create their own information security team but also outsource certain functions. They know exactly what they need at the end.
If that is impossible, you can focus on the reputation of the service provider, the opinions of other customers, and the availability of certificates. Visit the integrator to get to know the team, the work process, and the method used.
Artificial checks are sometimes an option. If the SLA requires a response within 15 mins, an artificial security incident may be initiated and the response time evaluated.
What Should be Included in Service-Level Agreements?
The expected parameters include response time before an event is identified, response time prior to a decision to localize/stop a threat, continuity in service provision and recovery time following a failure. The basic set of parameters can be extended by the customer to include additional parameters based on their business processes.
You must consider all options available for responding to an incident: whether the service provider needs to visit the site or how to conduct digital forensics operations.
It is crucial to address all organizational problems before signing the contract. This will enable you to define the terms and conditions that the customer must follow in order to protect his rights in case of service interruptions. The customer must also define the areas and share of responsibility for the provider in the event of an incident.
An SLA agreement must also include the terms of reference. It should detail all technical characteristics of the service. The SLA interpretation can be subjective if the terms of reference are unclear.
Document preparation should not pose any problems. Many providers already have standardized the details of the SLA agreement. Large customers are not likely to need adaptation. Information security services quality metrics are generally known in advance. You can adjust some limit values as needed. You may have to make your requirements more stringent or lower.
Opportunities for cybersecurity outsourcing development in 2023
Information security outsourcing services are expected to increase due to the current personnel situation, the complexity of information security projects and regulators’ requirements. It is therefore expected that the top players in cybersecurity outsourcing will continue to grow and expand their services portfolio. This is due to the need to provide high quality service. It will also be easier to migrate information security solutions from the cloud.
We have seen a drop in the price of cyberattacks over recent years. However, their severity is increasing. This leads to an increase in the demand for information security services. Expect a price increase and possibly even a shortage in some hardware components. Hardware-optimized software solutions are expected to grow.
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