What You Need to Know About CyberSecurity-as-a-Service (CSaaS)

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Digital disruption is the new norm.

Countless organisations have fallen victim to cyber attacks with phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and ransomware being some of the most common. In fact, the number of ransomware attacks increased by 250 percent during the first few months of 2017.

Data breaches have also hit a record high. 918 data breaches occurred during the first half of 2017 – a 164 percent increase from the same period in 2016.

This has left companies scrambling to find solutions with one of the more popular options being CyberSecurity-as-a-Service (CSaaS).

 

What is CSaaS?

CSaaS is an outsourced model of cybersecurity management.

Rather than handling it in-house where you may have limited resources and expertise, you outsource it to a third-party vendor typically on a pay as you go basis.

Some specific services include:

  • An initial cybersecurity consultation
  • A security essentials “health check”
  • Employee education on cybersecurity awareness
  • Periodic penetration testing
  • Continual anti-virus updates
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant laws, regulations and current industry standards
  • Business continuity planning

The services truly run the gamut, and there’s an inherent level of flexibility. This means organisations can pick and choose which ones are most critical to their operations.

 

A Growing Trend

Cybercrime has evolved dramatically in recent years. Not only have attacks become more common, they’ve become far more sophisticated. So much so that your average SMB simply doesn’t have the knowledge or capabilities to battle cybercrime on their own.

Adding fuel to the fire is the growing attack surface that’s stemming from an increased number of sensors, a burgeoning IoT market, cloud integration and so on. Combine this with the fact that many expert cybercriminals are now selling cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS) tools to low level hackers for monetary gain, and you’ll see why this problem has grown exponentially.

Therefore, we’re seeing a trend where organisations are choosing to outsource their cybersecurity and utilise CSaaS.

A recent PwC survey of more than 10,000 business and IT executives even found that 62 percent of organisations are now implementing this model. With the frequency and intensity of cyber attacks rapidly rising, you can expect that even more companies will follow suit.

As you’ll soon find out, there are several reasons why this cybersecurity model is so appealing to modern businesses. Here are some of the key benefits.

 

Lower Costs

Perhaps the biggest advantage is simply the long-term savings. Although there are obviously fees, companies don’t have to deal with the often costly overhead expenses involved with assembling an in-house team and acquiring hardware and software.

A DIY approach can be incredibly costly and simply isn’t viable for many smaller companies with meagre IT budgets.

It’s also important to point out that investing in in-house cybersecurity is by no means a one-off type of deal. Your organisation will inevitably need to retrain your team members, make new hires, buy new hardware and software, update it and so on.

As a result, this can quickly take a toll on you financially. CSaaS is an effective alternative because it allows you to bypass many of these costs, thus reducing your financial burden.

 

Access to Cybersecurity Experts

Let’s face it. Not every company has a dedicated team of cybersecurity experts who are capable of thwarting advanced attacks.

SMBs in particular are often unprepared for the threats they face on a daily basis. That’s why 43 percent of cyber attacks deliberately target SMBs. Most simply don’t have the knowledge and security infrastructure of larger organisations.

And this often comes back to haunt them considering that 60 percent of small companies end up going out of business within six months of a cyber attack.

Going the CSaaS route makes sense because it gives your business direct access to experts whose sole focus is on cybersecurity and helping you overcome the myriad challenges you face.

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Also keep in mind that most cybersecurity specialists are accustomed to working with a variety of infrastructures. They provide defence to companies of many different sizes across multiple industries.

Therefore, they’ve encountered a plethora of issues and scenarios that allows them to efficiently identify threats and swiftly resolve them. In turn, they’re able to help your organisation stay on the offence.

 

Less Stress on HR

Forbes reports that the demand for cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed in recent years. The demand is predicted to rise to six million globally by 2019, but the talent shortage is expected to reach 1.5 million. In other words, these professionals are often scarce.

This means that assembling a team of cybersecurity experts in-house can be a tall order even if you have the resources. But when money is already tight, it can be next to impossible.

This creates some real challenges in terms of staffing and puts HR in a tricky predicament. There simply may not be enough manpower to properly manage cybersecurity.

Using CSaaS is advantageous because of the 24/7 availability. By going through a third-party vendor, you know for a fact that your organisation will have the necessary personnel to cover the workload at all times.

In turn, this alleviates much of the stress for your HR team.

 

Scalability

Modern businesses operate in a dynamic, fast-paced, global economy that’s constantly in flux. Therefore, an organisation’s cybersecurity needs will likely fluctuate over time.

For instance, a brand new startup with only a handful of employees and a small infrastructure would probably have a minimal attack surface. In this case, a small-scale security package should suffice.

But as they grow over time, hire more employees and build up their infrastructure, their attack surface would inevitably grow. As a result, they would need to increase their coverage and purchase a more robust plan.

The great thing about the CSaaS model is its inherent flexibility. Companies can scale up or down as needed to ensure that they’re investing the right amount of money into cybersecurity without going overboard on superfluous features.

 

Freedom to Focus on Core Operations

Finally, this is an appealing option for the simple fact that it frees up a lot of your time. With cybersecurity incidents becoming more pervasive, it can require a substantial amount of effort to keep up with everything.

Whether it’s analysing network traffic, doing log management or performing system updates, the whole process can be very time-consuming. When done in-house, this can take away from the time that you would normally devote to your core operations.

This of course can lead to decreased productivity, a diminished customer experience and so on. None of which are good.

The beautiful thing about CSaaS is that a vendor will take care of nearly all aspects of cybersecurity for you. It’s very hands off. In turn, this allows you to focus on what’s really important – growing your business and improving your bottom line.

All the while you can proceed with confidence knowing that your organisation’s cybersecurity is in good hands.

 

Choosing a CSaaS Provider

As this point, we’ve established what CSaaS and that it’s a popular model for many companies. We’ve also touched on some of the key benefits associated with it. This brings us to one important question.

How do you choose a CSaaS provider?

More specifically, what criteria should you focus on when exploring your options to ensure that a vendor is the right fit for your organisation and is capable of keeping you safe?

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering a provider:

Experience

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they worked with companies of similar size?
  • Have they worked with companies in your industry?
  • What’s their success rate?

Policies and Procedures

  • What type of approach do they take?
  • What’s their methodology?
  • Are they transparent about their practices?
  • Do they use a cyber security by design framework?

Services

  • Do they offer services that your company needs?
  • Do they utilise the cutting-edge tools that are necessary to keep up with sophisticated hackers?
  • Can you scale up or down as needed?
  • Do they offer a level of customisability that you’re seeking?

Cost

  • Is it economically feasible for your company?
  • What’s their fee structure like?

References

  • Can you find multiple unbiased testimonials verifying their claims?
  • Have they even been featured on authoritative websites, publications or blog?
  • Are they viewed as influencers?

 

Keeping Your Company Safe

Global cybersecurity spending increased by 7.6 percent from 2016 to 2017 to reach $90 billion. However, that number is expected to swell to $113 billion by 2020.

This shows just how big of a priority it has become.

Cybersecurity is simply not an area you want to skimp on given the current climate that modern businesses are operating in. Investing in cybersecurity isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.

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A trend we’re seeing lately is organisations outsourcing their cybersecurity management via CSaaS. While it does come at a cost, it often pales in comparison to what a company will spend by doing it in-house. Not to mention the costs that can stem from a cyber attack or data breach.

CSaaS also offers numerous benefits that can typically be achieved through a conventional approach. Therefore, it’s definitely something for your organisation to consider moving forward.

Which types of cyber attacks are you most concerned about in 2018? Please share your thoughts:

 

Image Credits

Featured image: geralt / Pixabay

In-post image 1: Developer Photos / Pexels

In-post image 2: jarmoluk / Pixabay

 

Ajay Unni

Ajay Unni is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stickman. Ajay specialises in helping customers manage the growing threat of data breaches and compliance with globally accepted industry standards for data security and compliance. More articles by Ajay Unni

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