When it comes to growing your business, having the right team members in place is critical. From human resources, to marketing to information technology, the skill sets required come with a hefty price tag. Now add on a cybersecurity professional and it just got even bigger. Small businesses owners have to make tough decisions all the time, and some of those include when to hire a full time employee and when is it time to outsource.
When it comes to outsourcing cybersecurity, deciding whether to outsource some, or all of it requires a high-level examination of an organization’s risk profile. It is also important to understand what a security professional is responsible for compared to an Information Technology professional. While these functions may have some overlap, they are distinctly different and each come with a unique set of qualifications.
Benefits of Outsourcing Cybersecurity
Working with a third party security provider can offer immediate benefits to small businesses that are unable to maintain a full time in-house employee. Here are a few of the benefits from outsourcing cybersecurity functions.
Like most managed service providers, MSSPs (managed security service providers) bring economies of scale and are able to provide capabilities at a price lower than what an in-house security team would cost.
Reliability and sustainability.
Due to their size, MSSPs can typically handle turnover more easily, allowing consistent support to your organization with defined service timeframes and deliverables.
Threat detection and response.
MSSPs can provide better insights into existing and emerging threats and how to detect and defend against them.
A third party team generally handles more alerts and breaches than a typical in-house team will. This experience can be of a significant advantage to your business.
Documented compliance with security standards.
Cyber insurance providers and business partners are increasingly looking for evidence of security processes and controls. An MSSP would have this in place and can confirm compliance with security requirements quickly and easily, when needed.
Potential Drawbacks of Outsourcing Cybersecurity
Although hiring an MSSP can bring many benefits to an enterprise security function, there are drawbacks for small business owners to consider.
Cost versus need.
Cybersecurity is a critical function but knowing what is appropriate and required for your business may not warrant a full suite of services from an MSSP.
Overly generic approach.
A third party may offer services that are not necessary for your business due to a lack of understanding of your unique organizational structure or needs.
Cybersecurity professionals bring a high degree of expertise that can protect your business, your customers and reputation from bad actors. However, the size and maturity of your organization is a factor to consider.
The pros and cons are important to consider. But are you still wondering what is right for you? Here are a few tips to consider when trying to decide when to keep business functions in-house versus outsourcing to a third party.
Keep control of essential business functions.
Tasks related to your competitive advantage should stay in-house. Take stock in knowing what you do best and how you serve your customers and keep those relevant functions within your organization.
Outsource tasks when you lack expertise.
A small business focused on selling remodeling services doesn’t necessarily have a skill set in cybersecurity or accounting principles. This may be an area where it is more cost-effective and strategic to outsource. Use outsourcing as a way to fill knowledge gaps, rather than outsourcing tasks that align with your company’s area of expertise.
Decide what’s best for your business and weigh the risks.
When deciding to hire in-house staff or outsource, you need to look at your business needs and weigh the risks of each option. Hiring in-house staff can provide you more control over the function but it comes at an ongoing cost that has to be maintained and the managerial oversight of a business area you lack expertise. Conversely, outsourcing can provide a level of expertise your organization lacks but it comes at an additional cost and can reduce your level of control over the time that is committed to your business needs.
The Bottom Line
Knowing when to outsource versus hiring in-house professionals varies by organization and the level of knowledge and expertise you bring to the table. Conduct an assessment of your experience and talents, compared to the costs of hiring versus outsourcing. In simple terms, do what you do best and outsource the rest.