Outsourcing Cyber Security vs. In-house Cyber Security Program

Publication date: Apr 22, 2020

Last Published: Dec 15, 2022

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Read Time : 9 minutes

Over the past five years, cybersecurity has become a boardroom issue. In the first half of 2019 alone, over 4.1 billion records were stolen by cybercriminals. We’ve all seen news of major breaches like Equifax, Adobe, Canva, and LinkedIn, but the simple truth is that every single organization is a target. Small businesses account for 43% of all breaches, and when they do get breached, 60% of them will close their doors within 6 months, nonprofits and associations are no exception.

The costs of cybersecurity incidents are tremendous. The average cost of a data breach across SMBs and nonprofits is over $200,000. Unfortunately, only 14% of SMBs have the tools and resources to prevent these breaches.

To help mitigate the never-ending wave of threats, most organizations are turning towards comprehensive cybersecurity programs. Whether that’s in-house security professionals or outsourced security services, almost everyone has an immense need for protection in today’s threat landscape. But which one should you turn to?

Should you rely on in-house teams to help protect your business? Or do outsourced solutions offer greater protection at lower costs? While both solutions certainly work — they may not both work for all organizations. There are some key differences in both cost and efficiency between in-house and outsourced cybersecurity solutions.

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Understanding the Difference Between Outsourced and In-house Cybersecurity Solutions

Cybersecurity concerns are a massive barrier between your organization and digital transformation. As 83% of enterprise workloads move to the cloud, many organizations are trying to find ways to balance digital progress with digital safety. After all, the more digital touchpoints you create, the more threat vectors you introduce. To help, many organizations — big and small — are onboarding either a full suite of in-house cybersecurity professionals or an outsourced cybersecurity solution to help them mitigate risks and adopt best-of-breed security policies.

In the past, organizations would squeak by with IT teams that wore multiple hats. In today’s threat ecosystem (53% of businesses report being the victim of a cybersecurity attack), cybersecurity needs to be positioned as a business solution — not just another tech tool.

In-house cybersecurity teams typically consist of one or more cybersecurity experts led by a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). These are professionals that you will have to find in the talent pool, hire, train, and coordinate with to execute security strategies across your threat landscape.

Outsourced cybersecurity solutions (i.e., managed security services) are fully-managed security solutions that exist outside of your organization and coordinate with your business to mitigate risks with 24/7 monitoring, detection, prevention, and mitigation. Depending upon the outsourced cybersecurity solution you choose, they may also include security training for your employees, next-gen firewalls, and device security configuration services.

Let’s look at the differences between in-house and outsourced cybersecurity solutions across four primary security pillars:

  1. Overall cost
  2. Business time commitments
  3. Management responsibilities
  4. Ability to meet non-technical needs (e.g., training, policies, etc.)


Let’s start with this: in-house cybersecurity teams aren’t cheap. There’s a reason that 77% of SMBs plan to outsource cybersecurity in the next year — it’s cheaper. To start, the average salary of an in-house cybersecurity expert is around $90,000. Of course, that’s just salary. In a hot market like cybersecurity (currently sits at a 0% unemployment rate), you’re going to have to offer a full package of benefits. These account for roughly 30% of employee costs — though those costs can rise for SMBs who have to pay more than enterprises for benefits due to economies of scale.

Then, you have to figure in training. The cost of simply training and onboarding a new employee is over $7,000. Then, you have to wait for productivity to kick in. According to some research, it can take 1 to 2 years before an employee becomes “fully productive.” Of course, you may need more than one security expert, especially since you’ll need 24/7 around-the-clock monitoring and risk mitigation. Remember, hackers can strike at any time — not just when you’re awake.

To manage this fresh batch of in-house cybersecurity experts, you’ll need a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Their median salary sits at over $200,000 annually. Finally, you have to invest in the security automation software and security tools that will enable your new team of professionals. You’ll also need office space, computers, equipment, and all of the other odds-and-ends that go into making a productive security team.

At this point, it’s pretty clear to see why almost all SMBs that address cybersecurity outsourcing. The cost of in-house teams is simply too high. Of course, large enterprises may find that in-house teams work well. They’re on-site and fully integrated into the corporate culture. But for SMBs, the costs are generally out-of-reach.

When it comes to outsourced cybersecurity solutions like Managed Security Services Providers (MSSP), all of your costs are inclusive. You simply pay a fee to your provider. This is almost always cheaper — though there are certainly some enterprise solutions that are high cost.

SMBs should always look for MSSP solutions that cater to small-to-medium-sized organizations. The costs will be affordable, and the service will be tailored to their unique needs. Organizations will pay a fraction of the cost of in-house solutions for comprehensive cybersecurity protection.

Time Commitment

In-house cybersecurity is a time sink. Even if we ignore the time it takes to find talent, hire them, train them, and make them fully productive, the time it takes to implement the right suite of tools, test all of your security applications, and create a flexible, highly-useable tech stack can be headache-inducing. Of course, you also have to spend significant time and resources developing standard operating procedures and policy frameworks for those cybersecurity programs.

For starters, you have to implement software solutions to help your team immediately detect risks. Then, you have to implement and test all of your other security apps — all while training your employees how to use them. This can incur additional costs from vendor training courses and certifications.

All of this technology and time also caps your scale. If you need to expand, not only do you have to find fresh new faces on the talent marketplace, but you have to train those new employees and fully integrate them with your company culture.

On average, it can take months to build out an in-house cybersecurity program, especially when you include tech training. But when it comes to outsourced cybersecurity solutions, you can have a solution deployed within weeks. The outsourced solution will still take some time to setup. They’ll have to review your policies, identify your needs, and integrate the right technology to help you. But you don’t have to worry about all tech selection, testing, or tool knowledge. Instead, your outsourced team will identify the right solution for you and implement it throughout your organization.

For the business, outsourced cybersecurity solutions can save months. For management and C-level, outsourced cybersecurity solutions can virtually eliminate the amount of time you have to spend personally creating a security posture — which leads us to management responsibilities.

Management Responsibilities

Managing in-house Cyber Security programs requires a ton of oversight. While that top-dollar CISO will certainly help alleviate some of that pain, management will still need to be heavily involved throughout the program. You have to have the right HR program to facilitate training and recruitment, and you’ll certainly need a chain of command to help keep all of your new employees adequately supported and aligned.

One of the key pain points for in-house teams is the financial support you’ll need to support all of this management. You won’t be working with concrete numbers. The costs of your in-house Cyber Security program will have to be fluid enough to incorporate varying training costs, tool costs, and management costs. Remember, time that you or your other managers spend on this new team is technically a cost — since they (or you) could be focused on other critical work during this time.

Between ballooning ransomware attacks and growing cloud-based attacks, you’ll likely have to hire a CISO to oversee your security team.

Outsourced cybersecurity solutions, on the other hand, don’t require a significant management investment. Once the outsourced vendor has fully integrated with your business, your work is done. The MSSP will be accountable for the overall management and oversight of your Cyber Security program.

This means that you don’t have to invest in a CISO, and you don’t have to spend precious time dealing with day-to-day cybersecurity workflows or management. Instead, the MSSP handles everything, and you can focus on what really matters — growing your business.

Non-technical Needs

While many organizations like to think of cybersecurity as a purely technical pursuit, today’s Cyber Security programs have more to do with business than tech. From governance and compliance (e.g., CCPA, GDPR, local, state, federal, etc.) to security policies and standard operating procedures, Cyber Security programs reach far beyond the computer.

You need documentation and change control, and you need the right reporting features to ensure that you’re compliant, comprehensive, and accurately detecting threats. Part of the Cyber Security program also involves employee training. Believe it or not, your employees are your biggest security risk. You need to train them on the proper protocols — including using TFA, securing files, and ignoring those malicious phishing emails.

If you’re planning on using an in-house team, you have to handle all of this alone. And that’s a big bucket of responsibilities! In fact, the ever-changing regulatory landscape of data and security alone can completely consume your business (which is why 80% of businesses still aren’t GDPR compliant). When you factor in cybersecurity insurance, financial audits, and all of the technical needs — like monitoring and data protection — you can quickly run into a brick wall.

Outsourced Cyber Security programs can help you reduce your cybersecurity burden by taking the technical responsibilities off of your hand. This includes constant security monitoring solutions (e.g.,24/7 SOC monitoring, Office 365 monitoring, dark web monitoring, endpoint monitoring, etc.) as well as advanced firewalls, WAF/DNS protection, and endpoint encryption. All of the incredibly important technical components that help keep your business safe and secure against threats can be immediately outsourced to professionals. This saves you time and resources on software and employees, and it gives you the scale and flexibility to handle the surge of security threats without an expensive in-house security program.

Are You Looking for Outsourced Cyber Security Solutions for Your Organization?

Chances are, your small-to-medium sized organization can’t afford an in-house team. We can help! OSIbeyond is a full-service MSSP that offers comprehensive cybersecurity solutions to SMBs.

Are you ready to improve your security posture and fully embrace digital transformation?

Contact OSIbeyond at (301) 312 – 8908. We’ll help secure your organization.

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