Outsourcing Security – What You Need to Know

Security is a major concern for SMEs and large organizations in every industry. Financial institutions, government systems, and manufacturing firms are just a few of the sectors largely targeted by cyber criminals. The target of the cyber criminals and their intensity may vary, but a sure fact is that firms must protect their assets. Many organizations are waking up to that fact, and this has led to a rising trend of outsourcing security.

In this trend, firms contract IT firms that provide security solutions and services to handle all their security-related activities at a fee. These IT firms are responsible for providing different security services including preventive activities such as vulnerability assessment, monitoring, awareness creation, and detection, mitigation and recovery activities. Like many outsourcing decisions, the preference organization links security outsourcing decisions to costs and the availability of adequate skill. However, this business decision must be made carefully; weighing its associated risks and benefits.

Protection at a lesser cost

Outsourcing security to a Calgary IT Support firm has several advantages. The main advantage of security as a managed service is that an organization has full-time protection provided by skilled staff whose specialty is security. Outsourcing is also likely to cost less than head-hunting and hiring a full-time expert in the face scarcity of skilled candidates; not to mention the cost of setting up and monitoring security. Any firm considering this also has to look at the disadvantages of outsourcing.

Outsourcing deals often mean giving extensive access to a third party. This presents a challenge for an organization especially if the deal gives the security firm’s staff access to sensitive information. Among the issues that must be dealt with include accountability. Issues such as vetting of the people on the security firm’s side having access to an organization’s data and infrastructure also arise. With proper precautions, however, the disadvantages can be minimized, and the organization can still enjoy the advantages.

Precautions when outsourcing security

A smart organization should never adopt a hands-off approach towards security because, in the event of a breach, it will still be accountable to its stakeholders; not forgetting that the impacts of such a breach would likely affect it more. You must therefore carefully consider what to outsource and to whom. You need to consider three key issues: is the security service provider present better security and at what cost? Will it be able to meet the standards and compliance regulations you adhere to? Is the firm’s ability to deliver verifiable and if not, what are the possible consequences for your organization?

You must also consider the kind of assets you are protecting. If your organization stores information whose security is critical, it is better to keep their security in-house. You can also opt for partial outsourcing. The best practice here is to outsource operational functions such access control, scanning systems for vulnerabilities, host and network security, virtualization, firewall management, and application security. Leave functions related to governance and compliance in-house.

If you decide to outsource the security of your firm, remember to manage and hold the security firm you choose accountable. Do your best to ascertain that the firm you hire is capable, with the right skills and tools and that the firm’s staff especially the ones who will be directly involved can be trusted.