How to Outsource Security Services: Tips for Small Businesses

All the companies that actively use the internet are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and may face considerable risks and losses due to the frequent use of digital files and reliance on digital data. According to a Statista report, the number of data breaches in the USA increased from 157 million in 2005 to 781 million in 2015.

Smaller organizations are finding themselves in the spotlight even more often, as 62% of cyber-breach victims are small and mid-sized businesses (SMB).

Due to the lack of possibilities to allocate substantial sums of money to address security issues, small-sized companies’ level of preparation is somewhat lower than that of big corporations. Furthermore, cyber-criminals are trying to concentrate their efforts on smaller organizations as industry giants have already locked all the doors and windows, and it becomes extremely complicated to obtain access to their data.

Outsourced services

Considering the sophisticated cyber-attacks which SMBs may face, it’s not particularly practical to form an IT team to monitor the network and keep an eye on regular employees’ activities. However, it may be very costly for small companies to employ in-house specialists, and often they opt for looking an experienced outside provider of security services that will meet all the business needs. However, there are pros and cons for this activity.


- Reduced costs: relying on third-party services, you can cut down additional expenses (in-house salaries and bonuses, office space, and more), as you just pay for outsourced services;

- Less management: if you form a security team within a company, you will have to manage it properly (set goals and shift times, give particular assignments, track effectiveness of their work, and more); with an outside provider you are released from that additional headache;  

- Focus on core activities: while outsourcing, you assign a large portion of activities to the outside party and, thus, have an opportunity to concentrate on value added activities and future growth of your company;

- True professionals: your provider of security services will certainly have leading experts, so, you won’t waste time on hiring insiders by conducting long and painstaking interviews and checking possible candidates’ credentials;

- Improved expertise: your own staff will work closely with the outsourcing team and will have a chance to adopt experience and acquire new skills.


- Lack of control: if you sign a contract with an outsourcing organization, you lose control over the choice of security software and hardware your company will use;

- New security threats: the more access to your sensitive data a third party supplier has, the more risks of data leakage you run;

- Contract termination issues: after inking a contract, you are to obey its terms and conditions, and its early termination (due to the third party company’s poor performance) may entail additional stress and costs.

Nevertheless, before you decide to outsource, you should clearly define the problems you have and the goals you want to achieve, and find a trusted (maybe recommended by someone) company to comply with your requirements and fit your corporate culture. Don’t take rushed measures, get more information on your potential vendor:

- Ask whether your vendor previously dealt with similar companies in size, stage, industry;

- Take a closer look at vendor’s policies, procedures, and standards;

- Obtain references from previous clients; 

- Discuss your desired level of interaction with the outsourced team;

- Make sure that all responsibilities and requirements are to be included in service level agreements (SLA) and/or statements of work;

- Agree on methods, types, and frequency of reporting;

- Ask about future changes in security plans as your company grows;

- Find out more about systems compatibility.

Considering the array of pros and cons to using security outsourcing, sometimes it’s more appropriate to find a third-party organization that will implement sophisticated software and will use custom mobile applications to manage successfully cyber-security issues within your company.

All in all, remember that none of the outside players values your company as much as you do. So do not jump into outsourcing quickly: plan, discuss a lot, and build trust step by step. Moreover, choose quality while searching for solutions and make sure your team is aware of threats and tools to address them.

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