Outsourcing IT Security : A Recipe for Success or Disaster?

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Sep 27, 2015 10:00 pm PST

When you’re looking for an IT solutions company in the Philippines that can offer IT security services, then you have one big question swirling in your head: “Is it worth it to let other people manage my sensitive data and give my company a competitive advantage?”

According to a growing number of companies, the answer is a yes. IT research firm, Computer Economics, recently published a report called “IT Outsourcing Statistics 2015/2016,” where it has been found that more and more companies are outsourcing their IT functions.

Of the organizations surveyed in the study, the largest of these—meaning those with a budget shooting upwards of $20 million are spending up to nearly 8% of their IT budgets on outsourcing. A good chunk of that spending goes to IT services such as helpdesk, e-commerce, IT security, application hosting, and disaster recovery.

With these tasks being outsourced, the result has been that companies are able to “preserve capital, reduce costs, improve operational flexibility, increase service levels, reduce management overhead or rapidly deploy new capabilities,” according to the study.Clearly, the outsourcing of these IT tasks have been beneficial to modern companies.

Delegating the Dirty Work or Handing the Keys to Your Kingdom?

That is not to say, however, that outsourcing has no downsides. In the area of IT security, in particular, the potential threat of data mishandling and breaches have tempered many companies’ willingness to invest all-out in outsourcing IT security.

That fear is legitimate, but it’s not something that can’t be dealt with. The key here is to adopt a strategy wherein you only outsource the low-risk aspects of IT security, which includes firewall management, network security, vulnerability scanning, anti-malware, host security, and database firewall management. These task that are concerned with beefing up your defense rather than allowing an outsourcer authority to manage your most sensitive data. Tasks that should be kept in-house include high-level governance, and risk and compliance processes.

While infrastructure management outsourcing affords your company flexibility and high-level expertise, there are some security aspects that you need to take full control of. Otherwise, you’re opening yourself up to a potential data breach that you’ll need to recover from.

Managing Risks

To protect yourself from the said data breach, there are certain things you must understand regarding outsourcing these tasks—and more importantly, how to manage the risks.

First, know that you’re giving away a measure of control. You’ll be providing administrative rights to your computers, which means they’ll have access to data stored on those drives and networks. To assuage the potential of your data being stolen, employ an in-house IT auditor who’ll monitor these movements.

Understandably, IT security experts need access to some of your data, so that they’ll know how to best protect it. But, never forget to ask them this: “What exactly are you doing with my data?” You need to be informed of the reasons for needing that information and how they’re going to use it to perform their functions.

You have to be vigilant in keeping an eye on your outsourced IT security staff. Though they may be contract-bound to keep your data private, in reality, they’ll have little to lose as opposed to your company—in case your data falls into the wrong hands.

For them to work effectively, you’ll need to show a little trust, then again, trust your instincts as well. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to run a security check. Remind your in-house employees to stay vigilant as well.

In the end, outsourcing IT security services come with a lot of pros, as they take a lot of work out of your hands without requiring you to make such a big investment. There are risks but nothing that can’t be managed.

Ensure that you have the proper security controls and the legal paperwork and insurance in place so that you can enjoy its benefits while minimizing the risks.[su_box title=”About Vladimir de Ramos” style=”noise” box_color=”#336588″]Information security buzz authorVladimir de Ramos has been in the IT industry for more than 22 years with focus on IT Management, Infrastructure Design and IT Security.Outside the field, he is a professional business and life coach, a teacher and a change manager.

He is a certified information security professional, a certified ethical hacker and forensics investigator and a certified information systems auditor.[/su_box]

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