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Business sense: Handling your cloud security concerns

Many businesses grapple with the question whether or not to outsource security. If you’re at this stage, here’s how to tell whether it’s the right time to hire help.

Specific signals that tell you it’s time

Long before you hire a security professional, you’ll get little hints that it’s time to think about switching your in-house security to an outsourced solution. Usually, the switch involves some hiring of in-house talent to manage the external security solution.

So, right off the bat, you need to be able to afford a new hire. Pay this person well. They are your security professional. They will be the head of your IT team, so to speak. They won’t be managing the day-to-day operations, however. They’ll be directing an outsourced solution.

Which brings us to the next little hint that it’s time to outsource: you find it impossible to stay on top of things yourself. When security starts to take over your primary role at the company, it’s time to consider an outsourced solution. Security isn’t your main focus, unless you are the IT professional in the company - which you probably aren’t if you’re the owner.

Another hint that you’re probably doing too much work, and that you need help, is when you have constant performance and stability issues with your company’s website. Managing a server can become very challenging, and it usually requires deep technical expertise. When there are constant issues, you may not be the ideal person to handle those problems.

If you’re wondering how you scale your operation up, from a technical perspective, it’s time to hire help. If your current IT staff can’t keep up, you need to outsource help. And, when the cost to maintain your servers becomes unpredictable, you’re in over your head.

SaaS (Security-as-a-Service): What you need to know

Companies, like Sec-Tec Ltd, specialise in protecting companies from viruses, denial of service attacks, and other malicious strikes. When shopping for a security professional, there are a few things to know about the experience:

First, you no longer have to deal with updates and installation problems. The security company handles this for you. You don’t have to worry yourself with the details, which is usually a great relief for most business owners.

There’s a huge cost savings when outsourcing. Instead of paying for unpredictable server costs, and managing your infrastructure, you pay a fixed, flat, monthly fee to have someone else manage that risk.

These outsourced solutions also scale incredibly well. This is a major stumbling block when it comes to conventional security platforms. As your business evolves and grows, you inevitably bring on more staff or open new offices. Maintaining the security on the backend becomes more and more challenging and time-consuming. When you outsource the security, you don’t see that added time commitment.

Finally, if your company is bound by regulatory compliance standards, a security firm outside of your company can help you meet those demands. For example, if you’re required to adhere to HIPAA, SOX, or PCI-DSS compliance, your security team can handle that for you so that you don’t get bogged down in coding and complex server management that you may not understand very well.

What are the drawbacks?

Outsourcing cyber security isn’t for everyone, however. One of the drawbacks to outsourcing is that you give up the granular control that in-house systems retain. For most companies, this isn’t a huge concern. But, for some, it’s a major concern. If you’re used to being in control, you probably won’t appreciate having to outsource your IT team. But, giving up the granular control over security could allow you to focus on the big picture - which benefits you and your business.

How to manage outsourced solutions

Managed security isn’t something that you can buy “off-the-shelf.” Every solution needs to be customised. And, non-customised solutions tend not to work very well.

Choose a managed security option with a history. This industry is expected to grow to over £15 billion or more by 2016. And, there is no shortage of startups willing to work with you. Look for a company that’s been around for a while (at least 10 years), and that has professionals that have been in the business at least that long.

Be aware of your own needs. If you talk to a service provider, and you don’t know what you want to protect, what your security goals are, and how you’ll manage it all, that’s bad news.

Finally, technology only takes you so far. Human error still accounts for more than 50 per cent of security holes. So, spend time training your staff to make sure the technological solutions work the way they’re supposed to.

David Wray is a certified TigerScheme SST and founder of Sec-Tec Ltd

Image source: Shutterstock/Slavoljub Pantelic