Cyber security continues to be one of the most significant challenges faced by organisations today, with 68% of business leaders believing they are facing an increasing number of cyber security risks (Ponemon Institute).
This issue has been compounded in recent months due to the impact of COVID-19 on IT and security spending. Research by Gartner suggests that worldwide expenditure on information security and risk management technology and services is due to increase by only 2.4% in 2020 – significantly less than the 8.7% growth originally anticipated.
To be effective, cyber security requires not only technology but the skilled security experts and threat intelligence to leverage it. However, the requisite level of resources can be cost-prohibitive for many organisations, who are now under more pressure than ever to achieve more with less.
The complexity of addressing cyber security-related issues, such as staying on top of vulnerabilities, identifying and responding to threats, and meeting compliance requirements, means that a greater number of organisations are choosing to outsource security requirements.
Key reasons to outsource cyber security include:
1. Reduced strain on in-house teams
“Half (50%) of all businesses have just one person managing or running cyber security in-house… even among large businesses, the typical (median) cyber team comprises just 2 to 3 people.”
Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market – DCMS, UK Government
Many organisations depend on small in-house teams to oversee their entire cyber security function. As a result of this, cyber security staff are frequently overworked and overloaded. Protecting businesses against the latest cyber threats is a demanding task and as a result teams regularly struggle to stay on top of important security practices such as vulnerability management and 24/7 network monitoring.
To support security operations, organisations rely on a wide range of security technologies. However, configuring, tuning and monitoring these systems is an ongoing task in itself. Security systems generate a large volume of alerts, and without dedicated specialists to investigating them, important security events can easily get missed. It’s no surprise that over-stretched security teams frequently suffer from cyber security alert fatigue.
Organisations are also under pressure due to the global shortage of IT security professionals, which now exceeds four million ((ISC)²), and means security experts are costly to recruit and retain.
Outsourcing cyber security requirements helps to alleviate the pressure on in-house IT and security teams, supplying experts to help carry the load. Outsourcing also ensures that organisations always have 24/7 cover and aren’t left vulnerable by staff absences.
2. More affordable security compared with in-house investment
The cost of building and maintaining an in-house cyber security team can be prohibitive for many organisations. Security Operations Centres (SOCs) not only require the latest technologies but also the right people and threat intelligence to get the most out of them. Acquiring all or even just some of these elements can require significant capital investment. Research by the Ponemon Institute suggests that it costs an average of £2.5 million a year to run a SOC.
Recruiting the appropriate people needed to form an in-house cyber security team is perhaps the costliest part of any security investment. To provide 24/7/365 staffing coverage, an organisation would require three sets of staff to cover three eight-hour shifts. Salary costs alone can easily total several hundred thousand pounds per year.
In contrast, outsourcing enables cyber security to be treated as an operating expense, with services provided on a subscription basis. The cost benefits of outsourcing cyber security requirements are highlighted in a government report which says that:
“Getting in short term contractors was often considered a more cost effective and instantaneous solution relative to the investment cost and time delay of recruiting and training in-house teams”
Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market – DCMS, UK Government
3. Access to a broader range of skills and experience
The threat landscape is constantly evolving while the risks associated with overlooking threats and vulnerabilities continue to grow. Because of this, cyber security demands specialist knowledge and skills which must be continuously honed and kept up to date. However, finding time for in-house staff to undertake dedicated security training is often a problem, particularly when cyber security is the remit of IT teams and there are many different priorities to balance.
Just one in four businesses (24%) reported that any of their staff in cyber roles had undertaken training in the last year. Meanwhile around 408,000 businesses (30%) have more advanced skills gaps in areas such as penetration testing, forensic analysis and security architecture, while over a quarter (27%) have a skills gap around incident response and don’t outsource it (DCMS).
Effective information security risk management requires dedicated professionals that possess a deep understanding of how cybercriminals operate and the techniques they employ. By outsourcing security, organisations gain access to a team of security specialists with a collective breadth of experience gained across many different industries. Outsourcing also provides an independent viewpoint, identifying issues that in-house teams may miss.
4. Greater value from detection technology
While technology is a vital aspect of cyber security, it is not a silver bullet. With companies deploying a huge number of tools on their networks, many commit to heavy investment in technology but fail to gain enough of a return.
A recent survey of security analysts revealed that the average enterprise Security Operations Centre (SOC) experiences more than 10,000 daily alerts, with almost third experiencing as many as 1,000,000 per day. This highlights the level of pressure organisations are under, with many underestimating the time it takes to configure and optimise the cyber security technology they buy out of the box. They may also not anticipate the level of time and dedication required to continually tune the technology, as well as integrating rule sets and threat intelligence to get the best from it.
With so many demands on in-house teams’ time and attention, selecting the right technologies can prove problematic. Outsourcing can help to overcome the difficulties involved with technology management by providing assistance with technology selection and ensuring tools are deployed, integrated and monitored as effectively as possible. As well as saving money, this reduces the risk of outdated technology quickly becoming obsolete.
5. Greater flexibility
Having the capacity to quickly scale up security operations is vital to be able to respond to business changes and meet the demands of a changing threat landscape.
However, when security is solely managed in-house, there is less flexibility to respond quickly to changes. Organisations that want to scale-up will have to consider what new IT and security infrastructure they might need, as well as recruiting new staff to support increased workloads. Outsourcing cyber security provides the flexibility to quickly adapt and stay secure.
Identifying the right outsourced security partner
Outsourcing cyber security can be a daunting prospect, but finding the right partner will overcome any concerns. At Redscan, we offer a range of cyber security solutions to help support your security goals, including award-winning Managed Detection and Response and Penetration Testing services. Our highly trained experts work as an extension of your in-house team to deliver the support, guidance and actionable outcomes needed to better protect what’s important to you.
With COVID-19 creating even more challenges for organisations, we will work with you closely to fully understand your needs and ensure your security keeps pace with the evolving threat landscape.