What’s hot (and what’s not) in outsourcing IT security

Believe it or not, the biggest threat of businesses today are not the neck and neck competition or stock market fluctuations anymore. What makes managers and business executives feel nervous right now are cyber-attacks on their organization’s information systems and threats of identity theft and information leak. According to the Business Continuity Institute research last 2016, cybercrime was listed as the biggest threat to businesses, beyond shortage in skilled labor and terrorism attacks.

Why should you be scared?

What makes cybersecurity the biggest threat to a business right now? Think about this: company and customer information is now digitized and stored into databases. Hackers are working day in and out to infiltrate an organization’s database and snatch precious information, which they will use to their advantage or others. This threat is costing companies – big and small – large amounts of money and even affects customer trust.

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With the growing threats companies are facing, they are now resort to developing an in-house security team to strengthen their Enterprise IT’s defenses. But one of the most popular strategies companies do is to leave it to the experts: they outsource to managed security service providers or MSSP. According to SearchITChannel:

”An MSSP (managed security service provider) is an Internet service provider (ISP) that provides an organization with some amount of network security management, which may include virus blocking, spam blocking, intrusion detection, firewalls, and virtual private network (VPN) management.”

There are some well-known and trusted MSSPs that provide their services to companies and some of them charge for a reasonable price. That is why many companies outsource their IT security to these companies to focus on their core tasks and deliveries. Typically this is a win-win situation where both parties benefit from this partnership. But then the contractee of an outsourcing agreement, especially the CIO, should keep these things in mind when outcourcing IT security:

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Ib’s IT security outsourcing Dos and Don’ts:

DO:

  • Choose carefully. Do your research before anything else. Know what MSSPs to contact based on the company’s product or service line to prevent unnecessary overhead costs.
  • Know the scope and limitation. Business information is very sensitive and should be handled with utmost confidentiality. Companies should discuss with their contractors beforehand the scope of their work and what business processes should they handle.
  • Keep an open communication, but set the rules. It is better to have a two-way communication where both parties express what they want and what issues they are facing. Allowing free use of information brings out the best of MSSPs, but too much can hurt. Set clear rules and stipulations on the outsourcing contract on what information should be treated with confidentiality, what remedies should be applied when there is a breach of contract. Remember that the client owns the information and not the outsourcing company.

DON’T:

  • Treat IT outsourcing as a side job. Outsourced business processes are as important as the company’s core functions. Remember that a company cannot run on its own without support services that help smoothly run the day by day operations.
  • Jump from one contractor to another. IT security outsourcing is like a romantic relationship: switching partners can give you a bad reputation and future partners will not take you seriously. Stick to one contractor and be committed to them so that you will not be troubled thinking how many MSSPs have handled and toyed around with the sensitive information in the past.
  • Let them take-over completely. By outsourcing we mean hiring an outside company’s services to do the job and not giving it to them. The company’s top executives still have the final say in making IT decisions and MSSPs should live by that principle.

It is clear that outsourcing is the “in” in the business world today. It makes companies competitive by letting other people do the jobs where they are good at and at the same time focusing on their main tasks and projects. By intelligently outsourcing business processes, especially cybersecurity and database management, to the right MSSPs, companies can mitigate the risk of having their information stolen by others while seizing the opportunity to make lots of profit.

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You don’t want your IT security outsourcing to look like this, do you?

 

 

Sources:

6 biggest threats to businesses in 2017. Retrieved from http://www.raconteur.net/business/6-biggest-threats-to-businesses

Is cyber security now the biggest risk to business? Retrieved from https://www.icas.com/ca-today-news/is-cyber-security-the-biggest-risk-to-business

MSSP (managed security service provider). Retrieved from http://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/definition/MSSP

Security and outsourcing: whose responsibility is it anyway? Retrieved from http://www.information-age.com/security-and-outsourcing-whose-responsibility-it-anyway-123459005/

Why (and when) outsourcing security makes sense. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/3120650/security/why-and-when-outsourcing-security-makes-sense.html

Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Computer Security. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222653

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