Over the years companies have slowly complemented their traditional ways of doing business by embracing the all-important shift to digitalization. Unlike in the late 90s to the early 2000s, when owning a branded domain name would cost you as much as $7.5 million at the minimum, businesses now have a plethora of options of how to bring their products and services online, thanks to various social media and e-commerce platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay, among many others.
However, this massive surge in online activities has also bred a number of critical issues, especially those pertaining to data privacy and security. While government agencies, as well as retail, banking and finance, technology, and healthcare industries, are popular targets of cybercriminals because of the sheer amount of sensitive and highly-sellable data their respective databases contain. However, 43% of cybersecurity attacks target small businesses, leveraging their lack of sound IT security measures to obtain crucial information.
Take note, however, that we have barely scratched the surface here. Hacking and phishing schemes, both fraudulent steps to illegally obtain sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details, take place every 39 seconds, with activities ranging from random attacks to targeted efforts that make use of sophisticated software.
Given all these, it is not surprising that chief executive officers of major conglomerates have cited cybersecurity as one of the biggest threats to the world economy within the next ten years. Investments on cybersecurity measures and infrastructure are forecasted to reach up to $134 billion in 2022 to appropriately protect their systems from all potential attacks and to ensure that customer and stakeholder confidence is firmly upheld.
Is IT security really a necessary investment?
The answer, based on the glaring realities stated above, is a resounding yes. Aside from the satisfactory provision of products and services, organizations thrive and remain in operation by upholding the respect and trust of their internal and external stakeholders. In this era of digitalization and interconnectivity data and information security, which includes close network monitoring, threat identification and management, and intrusion detection, are part of the total customer experience, and should, therefore, be high on a company’s list of priorities.
Of course, the next logical question would be the cost of securing and maintaining these crucial information security investments. The answer highly depends on the following factors:
- The industry that your organization is involved in.
- The presence of dedicated IT security personnel within your organization
- The nature of the information assets that your organization uses and maintains
- The cybersecurity goals of your organization
- How much budget your organization has allotted to undertake cybersecurity measures
Long story short, costs for cybersecurity initiatives will vary depending on the needs and requirements of your organization. While there are companies that would be content with the installation of firewalls, anti-malware software, and password systems, organizations of a larger scale may require more sophisticated measures.
Organizations that process and maintain sensitive information normally opt to have a full-time information security team in place for purposes of focus, speed in turnaround time, and most importantly, utmost confidentiality in handling proprietary data. This is understandable, of course, especially for companies that maintain multi-faceted digital footprints, such as those engaged in payment remittance and e-commerce.
However, there are also smaller companies with less stringent requirements who do not possess enough budget to employ a dedicated information security team full-time. This is where IT outsourcing companies come in and potentially save the day.
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Understanding how IT outsourcing services work
Let us assume that you have made the important decision to secure IT outsourcing services in order to adequately prepare for potential security threats to your organization. Congratulations! You are taking the first all-important step to future-proofing your company, as well as your strategic business relationships with your customers, shareholders, and even employees.
Outsourcing business functions, including IT safety and security, is now considered to be a common practice for companies across the globe, especially among those that are looking for fresh operating models and infrastructure and automation technologies. For some organizations it can also be a way to gain additional perspective and supplement existing cybersecurity initiatives with recommendations from an individual or a team that carries a more advanced level of expertise on the subject.
As such, the number of IT outsourcing companies has grown steadily, with technical offerings ranging from troubleshooting and managing specific components of a company’s cybersecurity plan, to the provision of end-to-end services, including software development, disaster recovery, and quality control and audit.
What issues can IT outsourcing companies help you with?
Safeguarding your digital assets is a complex task that must be carefully handled by experienced cybersecurity professionals, especially as cyber threats have grown in number, complexity, and magnitude of impact. Here are a number of issues that IT outsourcing companies are able to help your company with.
Your company belongs to the high-risk industry
Aside from the industries mentioned above, companies engaged in IT and telecoms, construction, and healthcare are also prone to cyberattacks. However, it doesn’t mean that just because your organization does not fall under these buckets, you can already breathe a sigh of relief. Not at all. For as long as you collect, manage, and maintain sensitive personal information that can be of tangible value, you should not let your guard down. Do not give these cybercriminals the opportunity to take advantage of your company and its relationships.
Your company has just gone through a cyber attack
Despite your best efforts, your organization fell prey to cybercriminals. It could be something as simple as a ping of death attack, or perhaps something more elaborate like a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack.
Regardless, these incidents reveal the weakness of your company’s security defense systems. Getting IT outsourcing services can help you recover stolen digital assets and strengthen your cybersecurity plan of action while regaining the trust and confidence of your customers and partners.
Apprehensions regarding BYOD
Organizations, especially those involved in business process outsourcing and manufacturing, normally have policies regarding the bringing in and use of personal devices in the workplace.
If your company does not have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place, there is a big chance that employees are using their own gadgets from time to time to perform work-related tasks. This increased – and likely, undetected – use of personal mobile phones, laptops, or tablets — may lead to an increased vulnerability to the unscrupulous efforts of cyber attackers.
Gearing towards a cloud expansion
Expanding cloud coverage is a logical step for organizations that maintain large volumes of sensitive information. Unfortunately, anything, including sensitive data, that one places on a relatively public domain may also be prone to unwarranted access and misuse.
Moreover, spreading your data assets across multiple platforms may result in a disorganized network of assets, which may also contribute to the loose protection of valuable information.
Employing IT outsourcing companies can help your organization achieve and preserve visibility across different cloud platforms, to enable you to enact specific measures to oversee and uphold the integrity of your information and infrastructure.
Questions to Ask When Selecting IT Outsourcing Services
Cybersecurity threats grow by the day, and you can only do so much before these problems go from manageable to a full-blown crisis. Here are the top things you should ask from possible IT outsourcing companies, to see how they can address your organization’s cybersecurity requirements and protect you from all forthcoming menaces.
What do you know about our business?
It is imperative that you identify and select IT outsourcing companies that are familiar with your industry, its intricacies, and its ways of working. This way, they can be able to provide you with sound recommendations and highly customized measures that will adequately protect your organization’s assets and brand reputation.
What types of clients do you normally work with?
In relation to the first point, it is also advisable that you are aware of the types of organizations and clients that a potential IT outsourcing company works with. A good sign would be if they have worked with similar companies to yours.
The IT outsourcing company should, ideally, offer the option of having a member of your team speak with the firms that they have worked with. This way, you can get a better sense of how exactly they work, as well as the level of service that you can come to expect from them.
What do you consider the biggest cybersecurity concern our organization faces today?
Credible and dependable IT outsourcing companies do research as part of their due diligence. They should be able to answer this question at length and cite specific proof points to validate their understanding of your company’s needs and requirements. However, beware of smooth talkers. Ask more probing questions that will drill down into their knowledge of cybersecurity technologies and how they were able to apply this in their work with other companies.
What specific technologies do you use and are you well-versed in them?
Just like how technology is constantly evolving, cyberthreats also change or are enhanced to avoid detection. This is why you must know what technologies the IT outsourcing companies you will shortlist are well-versed in.
This insight will allow you to assess their level of capability, especially in tackling a variety of cybersecurity situations. If they can offer to assign your organization a team of highly experienced and certified cybersecurity professionals, and be willing to share with you their corresponding credentials, all the better.
What cybersecurity approach do you propose for our organization?
This is where a thorough understanding of your business, operations, and cybersecurity requirements will come in handy.
- An IT outsourcing services provider must be able to present a clear and actionable cybersecurity plan that will discuss in detail the specific set of procedures they will undertake for every phase of the project
- the corresponding costs and investments required
- newly identified gaps that need to be acted on, together with their recommendations
- compliance with the minimum requirements for auditing and reporting guidelines.
What does your Service Level Agreement look like?
As with any other contract, the clearer and more comprehensive it is, the better. Companies that market their IT outsourcing services should be able to have an agreement that lists in detail what services will be provided, specific deliverables from both the client and the service provider, as well as timelines and milestones for the project. This way expectations are duly managed and miscommunications are avoided.
Your organization has the option of signing on for a short-term agreement in the beginning, so that you can assess the agency’s performance. Only if you are satisfied do you go back to the drawing board and negotiate for a more expansive service agreement.
What will be our standard way of working and communicating?
IT outsourcing companies, just like other outsourcing agencies, generally conduct work for a number of organizations and accounts at any given time, although you can request for them to assign your company with a dedicated team. To ensure business continuity and smooth collaboration between the IT outsourcing services provider and members of your team, it would be best to identify who the main points of contact for both sides would be. Additionally, get a firm commitment as to when status reports must be submitted — weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly — and observe a deadline for these, so that fulfillment of targets can remain on-track.
How do you bill for your services?
IT outsourcing companies offer the opportunity to pay for critical cybersecurity services at a reduced cost. However, it remains important that you get a good grasp of the specific services that your company will be paying for — and when — so that you can budget for these accordingly.
Call for Help
In this day and age, IT safety and security should be a top priority for organizations seeking to maintain their corporate and brand integrity. While it may appear to be a sizable investment at the onset, there are reliable companies that can offer top quality and cost-effective IT safety and security packages that can protect your business – and your overhead. Contact RSI Security today for a free consultation.