Why Outsourcing Cybersecurity is Essential for SMBs
According to a study at the University of Maryland (Security Magazine) in 2022, a cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds. With the exponential growth of the threat landscape, cybersecurity cannot be a part-time job. It is certainly not a side hustle. Whether you are a global corporate giant or a local SMB, cybersecurity is not something you can do halfway anymore. One way to cover many of your cybersecurity needs is with a security operations center (SOC). A SOC is made up of security technology, processes, and a centralized team of cybersecurity professionals that is responsible for monitoring, analyzing, and responding to suspicious activity and confirmed security incidents. Of course, all of this takes place on a 24/7/365 basis because hackers don’t take time off. In fact, it makes perfect sense for threat actors to implement attacks during weekends, holidays, or off hours because there are typically fewer eyes around to spot suspicious activity.
Internal vs. Outsourcing
There are two approaches to achieving the expertise and capabilities of a SOC. The first is to build a SOC internally. Doing anything internally gives you more control, and an internal SOC will also have a deeper understanding of your organization and its vulnerabilities. Because it is housed within the organization, the SOC can easily coordinate with internal personnel and respond more quickly to security incidents.
While the advantages of an internal SOC certainly sound appealing, building and maintaining an in-house SOC is expensive. Full-time cybersecurity professionals don’t come cheaply, and the security controls and tools they need are expensive as well. Because the threat landscape is constantly evolving, the SOC must evolve as well. This requires constant training as well as equipment additions and upgrades. While all of this is doable for global corporations, it simply isn’t feasible for the typical SMB today.
Why Do We Outsource Anyway?
Everybody outsources something. A homeowner hires a plumber to fix the leaky pipe to expedite the repair and ensure it’s done right. Most people who go to court use an outsourced attorney rather than representing themselves “pro se” because they lack the expertise to represent themselves and they can’t take the time to prepare the case.
Outsourcing is nothing new for businesses as well. It’s a practice that dates back to the 1970s when manufacturing companies began hiring outside firms to manage their non-critical processes. Today, manufacturers outsource the bulk of the processes that go into their final products. There are many reasons why outsourcing is so appealing today:
- Outsourcing can produce substantial cost savings for a business as a company no longer has to maintain a full-time workforce and permanent equipment portfolio necessary to perform those operations. While cost was the initial motivator of the outsourcing movement, it is not always the primary motivator.
- Outsourcing can provide access to talent and expertise that can be difficult for SMBs to recruit and maintain.
- Outsourcing non-core functions such as IT, HR, and accounting allows a company to focus on their core competencies that have a direct correlation to their business objectives. This includes product development, satisfying customers, and market expansion.
- It is much easier to scale outsourced operations to react to fluctuating market conditions than it is to expand and reduce internal workforces and infrastructure.
IT is a Natural Function to Outsource
Most businesses outsource at least some of their IT functions to outside firms. Many SMBs work with a managed service provider (MSP) to manage and maintain their IT infrastructure and end systems. Many companies big and small are implementing IT augmentation strategies to right-size their workforce for temporary workload spikes, unforeseen growth opportunities, or downsizing events. Staff augmentation also gives them access to highly specialized talent that they may only need for a specific project. Even large companies are turning to IT consumption or colocation models for network infrastructure to escape the costly and time-consuming practice of product refresh cycles of switches, routers, and wireless access points.
And then there is the cloud. Companies have realized the value of outsourcing their data center and are rapidly migrating their business applications, servers, and data to cloud providers to gain greater agility, scalability, and resiliency for critical business services. Finally, there is the dynamic nature of IT itself. Technology evolves so fast today, a non-technical company would have to spend vast amounts of resources to keep pace, which would prove highly distracting to their core business.
Outsourcing a SOC Just Makes Sense
A SOC is no longer an option. For one thing, the math doesn’t bode well. Forty-three percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses and 60% of those small businesses that fall victim to an attack permanently close their doors within six months of the attack. That makes cybersecurity insurance critical. The insurance companies that write these policies know the value of a SOC, which is why it has become a top requirement for policyholders to subscribe to one.
Even those firms that have some type of internal IT team find themselves contending with serious skill gaps. The lack of skills create vulnerability gaps in the form of misconfigurations and oversights. Businesses can eliminate these gaps overnight by acquiring the protection of a SOC. A reputable SOC has a dedicated team of security analysts, incident responders, and engineers that are highly accomplished and experienced. They are highly trained in all the effective security controls which means they can fully leverage the security monitoring tools you already have and supplement them with innovative security systems that would be unaffordable to purchase for most SMBs.
The leading SOCs are always innovating and evolving to stay ahead of new attack methodologies. A great example is the new SOC Platform recently unveiled by CYREBRO. Like their larger competitors, SMBs are transitioning to hybrid networks that integrate one or more clouds into their existing on-prem environments which introduces a lot more complexity. CYREBRO is combatting this challenge of insufficient visibility with an interactive SOC Platform along with many other advantageous features.
Outsourcing is a part of doing business and companies have embraced the practice of outsourcing because it is an effective way to streamline their business, overcome challenges and attain innovative solutions that expand your business objectives. While there are pros and cons to every outsourcing, the benefits of turning to an outside SOC to protect your business are substantial.