Most business owners understand the importance of IT security, but they aren’t sure how to approach it. There are several potential options.
For starters, they can try to handle everything themselves. They can invest in the right tools and resources to protect their devices and points of connection, and manage all strategies from the top down. This is only feasible for solopreneurs and small operations, and even then, it tends to be limited in value unless you’re an experienced IT security expert.
You could also work with a cybersecurity consultant. Cybersecurity consultants are experienced professionals who have the knowledge and insights necessary to help you plan and execute an exhaustive cybersecurity strategy. Together with a consultant, you’ll be able to identify and cover all your weaknesses, and you can extend or modify the relationship as you see fit.
Hiring an in-house IT security team is your other primary option. Here, the idea is to openly hire IT security experts to help you plan and execute your cybersecurity strategy. These full-time employees will be on your payroll, and will therefore be on call if something goes wrong. But is this the right approach?
The Advantages Of In-House IT Security
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of having your own in-house security team:
. Control And Transparency.
One of the biggest advantages of hiring an in-house security team is the amount of control and transparency you’ll have over them. You’ll be the one calling the shots, and you’ll have a full view of how they’re operating. This can provide you with a level of comfort, and give you confidence that you’re making the right calls.
When a cyberattack occurs, one of the most important factors for your long-term success is how you respond to that attack. If you’re able to react quickly, you may be able to stop the attack in its tracks, or at least mitigate the damage before it grows any worse. If you’re too delayed or if you don’t respond efficiently, it could cost you. Having an in-house team could help you become more responsive to active threats (though outsourcing your IT security could also help you respond quickly).
. Immediacy And Communication.
For many business owners, it’s nice to have staff members you can talk to on a regular basis. You can include your IT security staff members in team meetings, and encourage them to teach best practices to your other employees. They’re a part of the team, which can be valuable in many different ways.
Hiring your own IT security team is also scalable. If you’re a small operation, you might be fine with just one IT security staff member. But what happens if you open another location, or if your business begins to grow beyond their capacity? You can simply find more people to hire as part of your growing team.
The Disadvantages of In-House IT Security
There are some disadvantages, however:
. Limited Knowledge And Experience.
Even the most decorated IT security expert is going to have key weaknesses, and areas in which they don’t have experience. By contrast, if you work with an IT security consultant, you’ll have access to some of the best minds in the industry—and they’ll have connections who can make up for their areas of weakness.
. Limited Access To Resources.
When you hire a single IT security expert for your team, you’ll be limiting yourself to that person’s capacity and abilities. By contrast, if you’re outsourcing or working with a consultant, you’ll be expanding your network to include a host of potential resources to tap into. This is vital if you’re responding to an attack of substantial size or complexity.
. Making The Right Hires.
Much of your success with an in-house team will depend on the types of hires you make. Can you be confident that this person knows what they’re talking about? Do you know that they have sufficient experience? Will they be able to respond to an emergency when they’re under pressure?
The median salary for an IT security analyst is $90,120. Lower-level positions may be able to pay less, but regardless, hiring an entire team of IT security experts can get expensive fast. In many cases, it’s less expensive and more thoroughly protective to hire a security consultant.
It pays to have at least one full-time IT security expert on your team, so you can respond to a threat as it occurs. You’ll also be able to reap some of the other advantages of an in-house IT security team. However, it’s often even better to hybridize your approach. For example, you can hire some in-house IT security staff members, while still leaning on a professional cybersecurity consultant to direct the majority of your strategy.