Outsourced security services is an umbrella term that covers a number of different types of service providers. It includes managed security service providers (MSSPs), managed detection and response (MDR), managed SOC services and similar services where an organization contracts with a third party for some or all of its cybersecurity needs.
Why Outsourced Security Services?
Despite the wide range of businesses that fall under the category of “outsourced security”, all of these businesses are designed to achieve the same goal. By partnering with an outsourced security services provider, an organization can take advantage of a wide range of potential benefits.
1. Filling Vacant Cybersecurity Roles
The cybersecurity industry is experiencing a massive skills shortage. This makes it difficult and expensive for organizations to attract and retain the cybersecurity talent that they need.
As a result, many organizations have unfiled security positions, which place them at risk. An outsourced security services provider can help to fill the gaps in an organization’s cybersecurity staff, reducing its vulnerability to attack.
2. Access to Specialized Cybersecurity Expertise
The cybersecurity skills gap does not only impact an organization’s overall security headcount. Many organizations require periodic access to certain cybersecurity skill sets, such as incident responders, cloud security architects, malware analysts, and similar specialized roles.
However, the number of cybersecurity practitioners with these critical skills is insufficient to meet demand. As a result, organizations may struggle to access key talent when they need it, placing the company’s security at risk.
An outsourced security services provider likely has the scale and resources required to attract and retain these cybersecurity specialists. Partnering with such a third-party service provider grants an organization access to this talent when needed without the expense of retaining these professionals in-house.
3. 24/7/365 Threat Detection and Response
Cyberattacks do not only occur during an organization’s core business hours. This is true for a number of different reasons. A cybercrime group may operate from a different timezone where business hours do not overlap. A hobbyist cybercriminal may only be available to perform attacks during evenings and weekends. An attacker may deliberately time their attacks to take advantage of times where an organization’s cybersecurity posture is weakened.
In order to properly manage the risk of cyberattacks, an organization should have a round-the-clock security operations center (SOC) to ensure that it is constantly able to detect and respond to potential attacks. However, maintaining a 24/7/365 SOC can be difficult and expensive.
A round-the-clock SOC is one of the most common services offered by an outsourced security services provider. By partnering with one, an organization gains access to constant network monitoring and protection at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a 24/7/365 SOC in-house.
4. Decreased Cybersecurity Risk
An organization’s cybersecurity risk is determined by a number of different factors. The company needs to accurately identify potential threats, deploy cybersecurity solutions capable of minimizing or eliminating these risks, and rapidly and correctly respond to any potential attacks against the organization.
Achieving all of these (and doing so effectively) requires significant cybersecurity knowledge and expertise. While an organization may not have the required expertise in-house, partnering with an outsourced security services provider can provide access to cybersecurity professionals that have gone through this process successfully many times in multiple different environments.
5. Reduced TCO
Strong cybersecurity is expensive. An organization needs to purchase, license, configure, and deploy a wide range of cybersecurity solutions to detect and protect against a range of attack vectors. To monitor and manage these solutions, the company needs a team of cybersecurity experts who, due to the law of supply and demand, are expensive.
One of the biggest advantages of outsourced security is that it is consistently cheaper than achieving the same level of security in-house. Security services providers benefit from economy of scale and multi-tenant solutions. They only need to pay once for a solution that they use for all of their customers. Since the cost of these solutions is distributed over their customer base, it is much cheaper for their clients than attempting to deploy the same solution in-house.
6. Access to State-of-the-Art Solutions
Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field. New attack vectors are discovered regularly, and cybersecurity companies continue to innovate and produce new state-of-the-art solutions. Optimizing an organization’s cybersecurity requires keeping up with the current state of the art.
However, attempting to do so in-house can be expensive, but for an outsourced security services provider, keeping up with the state of the art makes sense for their business. By working with one, an organization gains access to the latest and greatest in cybersecurity solutions.
7. Security Flexibility
An organization’s cybersecurity needs can change rapidly. A new attack vector may be discovered that requires deployment of a new security solution. Or, a company may want to deploy new solutions, such as cloud or IoT, and requires the ability to secure these quickly and effectively.
If an organization is managing security in-house, then adapting to these changes would require significant planning and security investment. However, an outsourced security services provider likely already has these capabilities. Making the change would only require an organization to update their existing contract with their service provider to add the additional required services.
8. Compliance Support
The regulatory compliance landscape is growing increasingly complex. Historically, a number of different regulations have dictated how organizations should protect certain types of data, like the PCI DSS for payment card data and HIPAA for healthcare data. Now, new data protection laws like the GDPR and CCPA add additional compliance requirements for businesses operating within their jurisdictions, and new laws continue to be passed and enacted.
Managing an organization’s regulatory compliance responsibilities can be complex, including achieving compliance by implementing the required security controls, demonstrating it to auditors, and properly investigating and reporting any potentially reportable events (like data breaches). An outsourced security services provider can help to simplify an organization’s compliance by offering compliant security solutions and helping to collect required data for an audit or in the wake of a security incident.
Few businesses plan to stay the same size. It is much more common for an organization to have a “growth mindset” designed to extend its customer base, reach, profits, etc.
As an organization grows, so does its need for security. A growing business requires additional IT infrastructure, and this infrastructure needs to be monitored and protected.
As a result, a company can reach the point where its existing security infrastructure is incapable of meeting business needs. If security is internal, this could mean that the company needs to invest in new infrastructure at significant cost to the organization. With outsourced security, the provider likely has the scale required to support the company’s increased needs, and the only required change is a modification to the contracted services.
10. Increased Security Maturity
Companies can have very different levels of security maturity, and these levels rarely match an organization’s actual security needs. A young or small business similar security needs to a larger and more established one but likely lacks the resources to achieve that level of security maturity. The gap between the security that an organization has and what it needs leaves opportunities for cybercriminals to attack it.
With outsourced security, an organization can rapidly achieve a much higher level of security maturity. A service provider already has the infrastructure and security expertise of an organization with high security maturity and can rapidly deploy these solutions and support within a customer environment. This enables an organization to achieve a high level of security maturity in a matter of weeks or months rather than years or decades.
11. Security Support
Sometimes an organization’s security team will encounter a situation that they have never seen before and don’t know how to handle. If this occurs, the company with fully in-house security has the choice of either relying on Google or seeking out a specialized (and expensive) provider.
Organizations partnered with an outsourced security services provider, on the other hand, have the ability to fall back on their provider’s support team. This team is much more likely to be familiar with the situation and know how to handle it due to their visibility into a much greater range of customer environments.
12. Business Focus
Unless an organization is a cybersecurity company, cybersecurity is not part of its core business focus. Even then, the business is likely focused on developing a product or providing certain services.
Managing security in-house distracts focus and diverts resources away from an organization’s core focus. Outsourcing security enables a company to divest itself of these responsibilities and focus its resources on its core business.
Choosing the Right Outsourced Security Services Provider
Acknowledging that an organization could benefit from outsourced security is an important step, but it’s only the first one in the process. With the wide range of outsourced security services and service providers, the next step is identifying a provider that meets an organization’s unique security needs. For more information on the differences between the various types of outsourced security services, check out this blog