Outsourcing Enterprise Cybersecurity

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outsourcing enterprise securityCybersecurity is not a matter of black or white. When it comes to meeting the security needs of your company, things can get complicated and overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. There is a reason why many enterprises have begun to outsource their security. Your IT department’s scope of responsibilities go beyond the basic elements like setting up your router’s security settings. In this blog post, we explore the popular outsourcing option that many organizations have opted in for to balance security needs, budget constraints, and lack of expertise.

It is often difficult to make cybersecurity an entirely in-house endeavor. Sometimes it just makes sense to outsource certain security solutions and services. With cyberattacks constantly evolving, it is unlikely that a single organization, no matter the size, would be able to handle every type of security threat without the assistance of third parties. So which security solutions can and should be outsourced? The CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) argues that “all of the technology security stack can be outsourced except governance [and] risk and compliance.” As such, security solutions like network security, firewalls, vulnerability scanning softwares, and others are suitable to be outsourced.

When you think about the cybersecurity services that your enterprise is currently using, you’ll notice that the operation of some of these services requires little to no training for the employees and typically just “run” in the background:

  • Email Protection: Because 91% of cyberattacks start with phishing emails, it’s common practice for enterprises to have some sort of web mail protection. A common example of this would be an anti-malware software installed on email servers to protect against phishing. BEC (Business Email Compromise) attacks, which primarily target the C-levels and other senior executives of organizations, have affected thousands and have resulted in $5 billion in losses the past three years. Needless to say, extra security measures for email servers are absolutely necessary in this era of information age.
  • Antivirus Software: Antivirus tools continue to play an important role in enterprise security strategies. While it cannot prevent some of the newly-emerging threats like zero-day malware and ransomware, antivirus softwares still act as the first layer for defense for many enterprises. These types of softwares are also easy to deploy and can quickly block known attacks with minimal human intervention.
  • Cloud Services: Among cloud computing trends, enterprises have been found to be turning to cloud-based IaaS models to handle operations of servers and storage, a job that has traditionally been for on-premise data centers. In this case, with your company’s infrastructure being on the cloud, security should be of utmost priority. Fortunately, according to a recent report by 451 Research, three quarters of organizations are willing to pay a premium for enhanced security services from cloud technology providers, so many leave it to the cloud provider to handle their security concerns.

While the above are pretty standard in enterprise-level organizations, they require little IT training or knowledge of employees to operate. Other specialized security services, however, may require a higher level of expertise but can still be just as easily outsourced. Companies can save valuable resources that would have otherwise been spent on training staff or analyzing and responding to generated threat reports. Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals and let them do what they do best. There are just some security functions that your enterprise should consider outsourcing:

  • Network Firewalls: Firewalls are security tools that examine the flow of data packets in and out of the enterprise while detecting suspicious behavior. They help ensure data integrity by protecting against unauthorized remote logins, DDoS attacks, and viruses and worms that are spread over a network — but this protection occurs only at the network level, so it has its limitations. It does not protect against spam, spyware, viruses, and Trojan horses from emails and downloaded files.
  • DDoS Protection & Mitigation: DDoS affects all online businesses, and enterprises are no exception. The cost of an enterprise website being offline even just for a minute can translate to huge losses, upwards to $100,000 for every minute that it’s offline for some companies. Networks firewalls have limitations in mitigating DDoS attacks because they only cover the network level. Fortunately, a Web Application Firewall (WAF) can provide DDoS protection for layers 3, 4 and 7.
  • Encryption: Enterprises that use the cloud to run enterprise applications but are not using encryption are risking their sensitive data to exposure. However, with encryption comes challenges like determining who will control and have access to the private keys. Research is needed beforehand to make sure you are choosing a trustworthy key management solution that separates the lock from the keys and gives the keys solely to the data owner.
  • Incident Response: It’s impossible to predict when cyberattacks will occur, much less be prepared to respond with a set plan. Because cybersecurity is such a broad field, it’s highly unlikely that one organization will have all the experience and expertise needed to combat every kind of cyberattack. Specialized third party services, on the other hand, will be able to offer the expertise, protection, and response you need.

What should and shouldn’t be outsourced in cybersecurity is often debated by security experts, but at the end of the day, organizations make the final call. While businesses can outsource security services, they are the ones who are held accountable at the end of the day to deal with the aftermath if the security service should fail.

Security as solely an in-house endeavor is getting harder to accomplish when cyberattacks are evolving with a high degree of sophistication. Now more than ever is the time for enterprises to perform their due diligence and invest in outsourcing cybersecurity services to the experts who know best.

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