Determining when to call in the external cybersecurity experts

When you set up an IT security department in your organization, the goal is to have in-house cybersecurity experts who can keep your organization’s technology infrastructure safe. It’s a prudent move since, unless you are a small or micro business, contracting a third party to manage your security processes and procedures can become very costly very quickly.

Nevertheless, you should not rule out working with external cybersecurity experts completely. The largest corporations in the world will occasionally hire external consultants. Think about some of the largest cyberattacks that have taken place in recent years and how the affected mega corporations reached out to cybersecurity consultants in the aftermath.

If global conglomerates endowed with huge financial war chests see the need to do that, it means for virtually every organization, there will be times when calling in external experts is the way to go. So when do you know it’s time to accept your in-house team’s limits and get an external set of eyes to tackle a cybersecurity problem?

1. You need higher cybersecurity skills

There is enormous demand for IT security professionals worldwide. The number of unfilled positions stood at more than three million globally in 2020. With such scarcity comes an expensive battle for talent between employers. To get the best on board, you have to be ready to pay top dollar.

Since you probably cannot afford to onboard the most skilled cybersecurity experts out there, contracting security professionals when you need them may be the better path to follow. The cybersecurity space is complex, multi-faceted, and ever evolving. There will be situations requiring the involvement of an external expert who has current knowledge on the threats, tools, and solutions.

2. You need advanced threat detection methods

Bad actors are constantly improving their attack methods and finding ways to evade detection. Threat detection methods that may have worked two years ago could be ineffective today. Unless your organization’s core business is IT security, you are unlikely to have the time to keep track of the latest threat detection techniques.

On the other hand, cybersecurity consultants must out of necessity maintain fresh knowledge of methods that are the most effective against the latest threats. They can respond faster and more precisely than your in-house team. Consultants are better networked with security vendors and equipped with a more global perspective of threat knowledge.

3. You need someone who has tackled a similar problem

There is never a need to reinvent the cybersecurity wheel. It is unlikely that an incident that’s new to your organization is new to every other enterprise out there. Your internal IT security team has its incident management experiences largely limited to situations they encounter within your company.

A cybersecurity consultant has usually worked on multiple scenarios with different clients across diverse industries. There is a good chance that they have encountered a similar issue as yours before. Such hands-on experience means they can get to the bottom of the matter quickly.

4. You want someone who understands cybersecurity solutions

There are dozens of cybersecurity software vendors. Choosing your security software is one of the most important decisions you will make. And it could take up a significant proportion of your cybersecurity budget. You want to get it right the first time.

But with so many potential solutions out there, your IT security staff will likely not have the time or knowledge to scrutinize different applications in detail. They will typically have deep knowledge only on one or two security applications.

A cybersecurity contractor works with multiple vendors. Over time the contractor acquires extensive knowledge on the vulnerabilities present in different security systems and enterprise applications. They know the pros and cons of diverse applications and can suggest the one that will be the most suitable for your organization.

5. You want a solution to a complex problem quickly

Complex cybersecurity problems may require that your in-house team spend a long time learning, researching and understanding an issue before they can identify and implement an appropriate solution.

Sometimes, the matter is urgent and you cannot afford to wait that long. In that case, looking for a consultant who already has deep knowledge of the issue allows you to quickly get to the solution. External experts are often well prepared to hit the ground running. You could get that urgent answer you are looking for in a matter of hours or days.

A blend of in-house staff and external experts

Your in-house IT security staff play an indispensable role. They monitor and tackle everyday IT security risks. They have the capacity to handle a low-to-moderate severity security challenges. But you may need to engage an external expert when you are faced with an uncommon cybersecurity problem.

What’s the best way to go about it? A blended approach taps into in-house staff or external experts, depending on what the prevailing situation demands. You avoid spending too much on hiring cybersecurity consultants, but still have access to top talent in the market when you need it.

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