Every business knows how important it is to manage information security but deciding how exactly to protect that information is a topic for debate. In most cases, companies can agree hiring a chief information security officer or CISO, is the best answer. The debate, however, is whether to hire a full-time position or outsource information security responsibilities.
A chief information security officer is responsible for managing the security and information of a company. The CISO creates a solid security plan that will keep a company’s information safe while also managing risk as the business scales. According to a study by IDG, 61 percent of surveyed companies employ a top-level security executive. Companies without a CISO or other lead security officer often report their employees are inadequately trained and unprepared for security threats. With a CISO on board, security is tighter, and employees have a better understanding of potential cyberattacks.
Determining whether to outsource a CISO or hire in-house is a big decision but understanding the pros and cons of outsourcing the role can help you make a decision.
Information security outsourcing is typically done by contracting an outside vendor to perform various security functions. Outsourcing information security has three main benefits to consider.
Outsourcing information security is certainly more cost-effective than onboarding a new hire. Outsourced information security services can cost around $75,000 a year, but this price is a fraction of a full-time CISO salary. According to Salary.com, the median salary of a CISO in the United States is $226,108. For many growing businesses, an annual fee of $75,000 is more manageable than a competitive CISO salary.
Information security is evolving every day and managing security trends requires a lot of time and effort. Outsourced information security officers have the ability to focus solely on cybersecurity trends. Their main job is to protect your information and stay up to date on the latest security information. In-house CISOs usually have several security areas to manage as well as full security teams and other staff. At times, it’s difficult for them to stay abreast of the newest security information. Outsourced security staff, on the other hand, diligently follow security news and are quick to implement new information security procedures when necessary.
Outsourced information security officers have to be adaptable to the business environment. The regularly changing security demands must be responded to quickly, and an outsourced security officer can promptly respond to security threats as well as call on a wide range of resources. Internal staff may be limited in their resources and capabilities when facing certain problems.
Every staffing option comes with its drawbacks and outsourcing an information security officer is no different. There are certain risks involved without sourcing company security, and below are three of the main ones of which to be aware.
Outsourced information security officers understandably have a lack of organizational knowledge. An in-house CISO can easily be kept abreast of the latest company happenings as well as anticipate upcoming risks associated with new business deals. An outsourced information security officer is slower to react to company updates and cannot anticipate a company’s security needs as easily.
Another major drawback of an outsourced information security officer is that capabilities are often restricted to what’s laid out in the contract. Your company may want to upgrade to a new security system, but if the contractor you partnered with uses a specific system you may be locked into that software. Therefore, changes and responsibilities outside the scope of the contract will have to be handled by a separate party.
Contracted workers typically work with multiple organizations at one time. Since their attention is split between multiple companies, they can’t focus as intently on your company’s needs. This means that smaller issues may take longer to resolve than if an in-house CISO was available to handle the issue.
Carefully examine the pros and cons of outsourcing information security needs. You should also examine your company’s specific situation. If you’re currently spending too much money on IT projects and other technology needs, then outsourcing an information security officer would benefit your company’s bottom line.
As your company continues to grow, however, developing a cyber security team will be an important aspect of growth. If your company can afford to hire a chief information security officer and start building a security team, it’s better to start the process sooner rather than later. Cybersecurity will always be an issue so whoever you entrust with your security needs, make sure they’re reliable.
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