Rick Jones, CEO and Co-Founder of DigitalXRAID, discusses how working with third parties can bolster organisations’ Threat Management capabilities and overall security postures.
The past year has shown that the threat landscape is only going to get more dangerous. Breaches are becoming more frequent, targeted and sophisticated, with small businesses and large organisations alike at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.
Increasingly challenging economic conditions mean less resource and tighter budgets could well force enterprises into a vulnerable position where they are unable to invest in greater cyberthreat protection. Simultaneously, the commercialisation of hacking is likely to generate more attacks, and the strengthening of the ransomware market will result in more services being sold to lesser established groups. In this climate, a shift in cyber strategies is needed to ensure effective threat management and outsourcing may well be the answer for organisations feeling the bite of financial constraints.
The Expanding Threat Landscape
The global cyber skills gap is widening, with 2.7 million open positions worldwide. Organisations are consequently struggling to recruit the new talent they need and face the internal challenge of staff churn. At the same time, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated.
Businesses are also experiencing new forms of attack as they rely more on new technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), especially now we find ourselves in the era of 5G. It’s going to take time for organisations to discover all the associated vulnerabilities as newly introduced regulation gradually takes effect. Weak IoT security therefore may well become a potential backdoor for bad actors to leverage in order to breach 5G networks or move laterally to internal servers.
To mitigate against these increasing cyber threats, organisations increasingly look to renew and secure cyber insurance. Soaring premiums, however, are a trend which will continue this year, making it difficult if not impossible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to obtain cover in an unstable marketplace. In fact, over half of SMEs saw their cyber insurance premiums rise last year.
Proactive vs Reactive
Taken together, the challenges facing organisations and their cybersecurity are immense. In order to effectively solve these, a change of tack is required. Many businesses are still treating cybersecurity reactively – improving and investing in their cyber hygiene and security posture after being breached. Yet, the financial and emotional impacts of a data breach are significant. Financially, many organisations in the current economic climate would not recover, and emotionally, security professionals are being pushed to the brink. Proactivity, rather than reactivity, is therefore crucial. Proactively identifying vulnerabilities and mitigating against threats can better protect organisations and staff and should be a priority in any cyber strategy.
However, improvements are hard to make when already overwhelmed IT and security teams are constantly firefighting threats and vulnerabilities across their organisations. Organisations are therefore caught between a rock and a hard place: how can threat protection be bolstered, within budget, but without the manpower to manage it? Turning to external cybersecurity experts is now becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses who lack in-house resource and need to ensure return on investment (ROI) on their cyber spend.
Benefit vs Cost
Although cybersecurity is likely to still receive investment from the board, challenging economic times will mean CISOs and security leaders will face intense scrutiny from stakeholders over how their budget is allocated. Organisations will therefore likely be questioning benefit versus cost when service outsourcing is suggested.
When it comes to cybersecurity, however, it is more cost effective to work with a third party. Setting up a Security Operations Centre (SOC) in-house, for example, would set organisations back by £500,000 on average, and the skills gap issue will be a still represent a significant challenge. An outsourced SOC guarantees 24/7/365 threat monitoring, detection and remediation capabilities and provides organisations with the aggregate value of experienced cybersecurity professionals who have extensive knowledge of the threatscape. And as the average cost of a data breach now totals £3.6 million and fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office more than tripled over the last year, the cost of inadequate cyber hygiene is simply not worth it.
Outsourcing SOC services also frees up in-house staff who are increasingly frustrated, overworked and burnt-out. Rather than dedicating significant portions of their day to data analysis and manual reporting – with teams now spending 59% of their time on these tasks – security professionals can focus on more high value tasks to protect their organisation. Or, as outsourced teams take responsibility for threat detection, the internal workforce can turn attention to upskilling, digital transformation and growing business capabilities.
The economic and cyber threat climate is going to be increasingly challenging for all organisations. Cybercriminals are only becoming more organised and sophisticated, and it will be extremely difficult for businesses to effectively protect themselves operating solely with under-resourced in-house capabilities. Outsourcing is therefore an excellent option to provide reassurance to teams and stakeholders that their organisation is protected all year round and guarantees vital ROI.