Advanced 365 highlights Top Five factors to consider when outsourcing security

Almost two-thirds of today’s organisations are considering outsourcing all or at least part of their security operations in light of growing and diversifying cyber security threats. That’s the clear message from a survey of 300 IT decision-makers sponsored by mission-critical IT services provider Advanced 365.

41% of respondents to the Computing Research survey, which was also sponsored by industry specialist Entrust Datacard, said that they would consider outsourcing any part of their organisation’s security apparatus, with 20% admitting they were undecided. In contrast, 39% stated that they wouldn’t consider outsourcing.

With more and more organisations looking to tighten their security controls, Advanced 365 has identified five key factors that companies should assess when choosing whether to outsource their security. These are as follows:

Skills

Security talent is in increasingly short supply, making it difficult to both recruit and retain skilled IT security professionals. It’s also a challenge for businesses to ensure that the skills of their security staff keep pace with ever-changing threats. Organisations struggling to recruit security staff should consider outsourcing to an experienced partner who can provide access to the specialist expertise they require.

Costs

As a result of the security skills shortage, salaries for those with the right expertise are rising, with some consultants commanding daily rates in the thousands of pounds bracket. In the research mentioned above, cost was identified as the biggest obstacle in recruiting security staff. Using a third party solution provider can reduce the expense of hiring and training in-house security staff.

What to outsource

Outsourcing security isn’t a question of ‘all or nothing’. Due to concerns around safeguarding data, organisations should carefully consider which functions are more suitable for them to outsource than others.

According to Advanced 365’s study, the most popular tasks to move out of in-house include penetration testing (83%), security audits (80%) and training and awareness programmes (49%).

Responsibility for data

There’s some degree of confusion among business executives surrounding where authority for data security should reside. Impending changes to EU data protection regulations (and the launch of the General Data Protection Regulation) will mean that any company or individual processing data is responsible for its protection. That encompasses third parties such as cloud providers.

Organisations looking to outsource need to be confident that the supplier they’ve selected can meet their security needs and minimise the risk of data breaches.

Network health

Before deciding whether or not to outsource, it’s important for organisations to understand the state of both their network and overall security needs. Free assessments from leading experts can determine potential vulnerabilities across key security areas. Best Practice guidelines to address security loopholes may then be recommended.

Neil Cross, managing director of Advanced 365, commented: “With high-profile data breaches occurring on a regular basis, and skilled security professionals becoming more difficult and expensive to recruit, outsourcing all or some of the security operation is an increasingly attractive option for many organisations.”

Cross continued: “However, businesses face different types of risks, not to mention evolving compliance requirements. On that basis, they should carefully consider the reputation and credentials of specialist third party providers before deciding whether or not to outsource specific security functions.”

*To access Computing’s ‘Data Security and Risk Management Review 2015’ click here

**Computing is published by Incisive Business Media, one of the leading B2B information providers and the publisher behind some of the UK’s most well-respected and referenced IT media brands, among them CRN, The Inquirer, IT Hound and V3.co.uk

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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