Why managed services should be a part of your cybersecurity team
The pandemic and the work-from-home movement has dramatically sped up digital transformation efforts across almost every organisation.
The upside includes a growing awareness of cybersecurity among the C-suite, and a deeper understanding of the role cyber resilience plays in modern business operations. At the strategic level, many directors and boards find themselves weighing the pros and cons for handling various cyber functions in-house, versus outsourcing them to a reputable partner. In this piece, I’ll be exploring the considerations involved, and what executives need to be looking at when considering this question.
Cybersecurity needs to be viewed like insurance
There’s a growing understanding that trying to benchmark costs for cybersecurity is a mostly meaningless exercise. Cybersecurity is better interpreted as a form of insurance, which means you first need to judge the value of what you’re trying to protect i.e. the data, systems and assets of your organisation. That should give you a sense of how to structure (and cost) your cybersecurity strategy. Keep in mind, this is not a static cost.
Cybersecurity risk is very dynamic; hackers and threat actors are continuously innovating and evolving, and your defences need to be able to keep up. This means there will be an ongoing risk management component when updating or upgrading your security measures.
Increasingly, hackers are becoming more sophisticated, more organised and more ambitious. Which means that every aspect of your cybersecurity defences, including people, processes and technology, need to be able to perform in a highly dynamic risk environment. Not every organisation is positioned to handle this kind of risk. This is where bringing in external partners to handle some, if not all, aspects of cybersecurity can be a viable solution.
When managed services make economic sense
While outsourcing business and operational functions is a growing trend in the digital economy, the business decision to adopt managed services must be driven by what the desired outcome is. If the goal is to protect key organisational assets, then the risks to those assets must be weighed against the internal capabilities of the organisation.
Developing an in-house cyber team with all the required tools and capabilities can be a very expensive proposition. The cost of recruiting skilled talent alone can be considerable. The latest data on the global cybersecurity skills gap shows that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. This problem is especially acute for mid-market and large enterprises. It’s no wonder that many business leaders have realised that cybersecurity can be much more effective and efficient when handled by an external partner.
With the explosion in third-party providers across the corporate value chain, virtually every company now works with third-party providers in some capacity, simply because it makes more economic sense to do so. The value is proven: third parties can rapidly provide specialised capabilities which organisations cannot, or would prefer not to, commit their limited resources to.
Third-party providers and managed services also give organisations the flexibility to scale up or down according to need, as well as continually curate which specialist services they require.
Sharing the responsibility of cyber defence
The systemic nature of cyber risk makes it difficult to understand and manage. There’s no such thing as a ‘small’ vulnerability. Given the complex and interdependent business ecosystem most enterprises work in, a single point of failure at any point in the partner chain can be catastrophic across the board. Hackers are especially aware of this, which is why cybersecurity threats target complex systems and often aim to compromise the weaker partners in the corporate value chain.
Cybersecurity managed services providers can offer dedicated expertise, threat intelligence and risk identification capabilities which an internal team would not be able to match.
Managed cybersecurity service providers can also help keep insurance premiums down. Cyber insurance is quickly becoming a business necessity, and the premiums depend largely on how well-prepared an organisation is to handle cyber risks.
Third-party cybersecurity providers are often on the cutting-edge of cybersecurity technology, offering tools like machine learning, behavioural analytics, automated remediation and threat intelligence, as well as being capable of responding to emerging threats much more quickly than an in-house team. This can be a very attractive value proposition in terms of cost management and the level of protection offered.
In a nutshell, most organisations cannot match the efficiency, speed, technology and scope offered by managed cybersecurity services. While in-house cybersecurity teams do have their role to play, most enterprises need leaner and more effective solutions to manage their cyber risks, and managed services are ideally positioned to deliver on that need.