Does remote team affect your business cybersecurity? The greatest misconception

Nowadays, there are a lot of prejudices about hiring dedicated developers in terms of cybersecurity. We are going to dive into this problem deeper.

Cybercrime – any crime that involves the use of a computer connected to some network — is an issue that affects a huge number of users, but which unfortunately only very few are aware of or are concerned with. According to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Report, in 2017, 978 million people from 20 different countries fell victim to cybercrime. Mobilunity has made a research that these victims lost $172 billion in that year. That’s equivalent to the entire annual state government budget of the state of New York for 2019, and 17 times the annual state government budget of the state of Alaska for 2018. Evidently, cybercrime affects us in levels that are incontestably alarming, to say the least, and it’s an issue which we all have to be more well-informed about so we can more proactively and more effectively address it.

Delving into the details of cybercrimes and dealing with them through cyber security become even more compelling in the context of IT outsourcing, which is more prevalent today than ever before. It’s unsurprisingly common for businesses to have misconceptions about cyber security and IT outsourcing and their correlation with cybercrimes. In this article, therefore, let’s take a deep dive into the interplay between cyber security and IT outsourcing.

Infographic about cyber security

Current Cyber Security Trends

Before will start relating cyber security with outsourcing, let’s first take a look at general cyber security trends. LinkedIn’s Information Security Community, comprised of over 350,000 members.

Recovery from Cybercrimes

Cybercrimes or cyberattacks are very difficult to detect, and on average, it takes businesses around 200 days to detect a security breach or cyber security hacking. It is therefore very critical for a company inflicted with a security breach to recover from the attack in the soonest possible time.

Only 44% of businesses are able to recover from a security breach within hours of detection. 45% are only able to recover after at least a day to at most a week after detection, while 11% are only able to recover at least a month after detection, which is extremely alarming.

it security professional

Business Impact of Cyber Attacks

We know that security breaches always have some negative impact on businesses, no matter how quick they are to recover. 41% of businesses affected by cyber crimes suffered from disrupted business activities, while 33% suffered from reduced productivity of its employees. 29% of businesses even had to deploy significant IT resources in order to resolve internet security issues, and 25% had to increase their helpdesk time in order to repair the damage caused by the attack.

Barriers to Stronger Cyber Security

We are in the heart of the digital age, and cyber security and new cybersecurity techniques should undoubtedly be among the top priorities of businesses, but there are lots of obstacles that prohibit businesses from attaining satisfactory levels of cyber security.

The most common obstacles are the lack of skilled personnel to implement cyber security measures, and the lack of IT security budget to allocate to cyber security, both of which 45% of businesses admit to suffer from. 40% of businesses also admit that their employees have low awareness of cyber security measures, and 32% admit that there is a lack of security collaboration among its departments.

outsourcing security services

Plans to Invest in Cyber Security

In order to address the growing concern of cyber crimes, some businesses are ready to allocate funds to improve their company’s cyber security infrastructure. 54% of businesses plan to train their IT specialists in order for them to gain greater expertise in cyber security. 47% plan to avail of third-party information security solutions, 41% plan to establish partnership with a managed service provider (MSP) to handle its IT infrastructure, and 32% plan to hire more security experts.

Application Security Measures

Cyber security is of the most critical importance in the software and application development industry, where applications developed by companies must have passed the most stringent of security testing measures.

In the said industry, the most common security testing protocol deployed by businesses is the implementation of code reviews, where a technical architect reviews the entire code base of the application, and this is done by 44% of businesses. This is followed by the employment of a manual penetration testing team whose goal is to try and breach the application’s security in order to reveal its cyber security vulnerabilities. 37% of businesses employ an in-house penetration team, while 33% outsource penetration testing. Another popular testing measure is the use of automated code scanning tools. This is done by 29% of companies during development and 27% of companies during the quality assurance phase of the software development life cycle.

cyber security hacking

Estimated Cost of a SAP Attack

One of the most common systems that are used by nearly every company is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and one of the most popular ERP systems providers is SAP. As such, SAP systems are also very common targets of security breaches and, likewise, common beneficiaries of the cyber security business.

The cost of a SAP attack can be quite high. 37% of companies estimate a SAP attack to cost them less than $1 million, 28% of companies estimate the cost to be between $1 million and $10 million, and 35% estimate the cost to be well over $10 million.

Global Spending on Cyber Security

We have found out that Gartner predicts global IT security spending to surpass $90 million in 2017 and $113 million in 2020. As of 2017, 52% of companies plan to increase their budget on cyber security, with an average budget increase of 21%, while 40% plan to keep it unchanged and only 8% plan to decrease their IT security budget.

59% of companies claim to have actually experienced an increase in IT security budget over the last 12 months, while 87% of organizations feel they need an increase in IT security budget of up to 50% in order for their security measures to be up to par with industry-standard cybersecurity best practices. Meanwhile, only 12% of businesses actually expect an increase of at least 25% in their IT security budget.

Among those who plan to increase their investment in cyber security, investment priorities are highly varied. 33% of organizations plan to prioritize investment in their cloud cybersecurity infrastructure, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), while 31% will prioritize cloud applications, including Software as a Service (SaaS), as well as Managed Security Services (MSS) where security management and monitoring services are provided by a third party. 28% plan to prioritize security training and certifications, 24% prioritize the purchase of data centers, and 21% prioritize the purchase of web servers.

In terms of actual implementation of IT security measures, only 4% of companies are confident with their IT security implementation, while a whopping 89% say their current cyber security measures are insufficient for their company’s needs. In terms of whom the security function reports to, 63% of companies have their cyber security function reporting to IT and 50% have theirs reporting regularly to the board, while 24% claim that the head of their cyber security function sits on the board.

Cyber Security in the Age of Outsourcing

Mobilunity like nobody else knows that outsourcing security services has become a highly popular solution in the cyber security technology industry to achieve a good balance between quality and cost efficiency. However, due to lack of proper information and education on cyber security, many organizations wrongly attribute the increase of IT security attacks to the growing practice of outsourcing security. They think that because outsourcing places the task of programming and development outside their premises, it automatically places them at risk of cyber attacks. While this isn’t a surprising misconception because security breaches, after all, reveal weaknesses and IT security issues in the development of the application, it isn’t at all the process of outsourcing to blame, but rather, the proper choice of outsourcing partners. As such, it is of critical importance to be in the know when choosing your outsourcing partners.

cyber security technology

This is incredible but only 73% of businesses include cyber security safety as one of its considerations during its implementation of the outsourcing process, while only 23% claimed that their outsourcing-related decisions are influenced by cyber security considerations, according to the 2016 Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey. While 75% of respondents are confident in their outsourcing partners’ compliance with security protocols, only 28% are actually actively evaluating their outsourcing partners.

Needless to say, it is in the best interest of every organization to place IT security as one of its main considerations when engaging in an outsourcing partnership.

Tips to Minimize Cyber Risks in IT Outsourcing

Here comes the important part!

In order to reduce the risk of cyber attacks, also known as cybersecurity risk management, the most important thing to bear in mind when outsourcing IT functions is to choose a partner company that has a solid cyber security methodology. Here are some of the things you should consider when looking for an outsourcing partner:

  • ISO Certification. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international body that sets organizational standards for various industries. You should make sure that your outsourcing partner is ISO certified, and as much as possible, has acquired the ISO/IEC 27001 certification. This ensures that information security within an organization is properly managed and controlled, with a stringent set of cyber security requirements that a certified company must have followed.
  • Early Security Evaluation. Security must always be one of the first things to be planned and considered at the earliest stages of software development. In the context of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), the security details and implementation architecture must be carefully laid down during the planning and analysis stage before any piece of code is actually written.
  • Data Regulation Compliance. You should make sure that your partner company complies with whatever data protection laws govern your country or territory. In particular, in Europe, organizations are required to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a set of law that govern data privacy and covers the transmission of confidential data. Complying with GDPR automatically gives a partner a security edge because it implies private information will be very difficult to hack into.

internet security threats

Key Points to Consider

If you want to be sure that the outsourcing partner you will choose has top-notch IT security standards in place, here are some key points to look at. This may serve as your criteria for evaluating the maturity of your outsourcing partner’s cyber security protocols.

  • Information Security Operations Center. Does your partner company have an Information Security Operations Center (ISOC)? An ISOC is a central system where all other enterprise systems, including web applications, databases, user machines, data centers, servers, and other devices connected to the network are monitored and defended from cyber attacks. This makes it easier for a company to prevent cyber attacks, detect them, and quickly address them once detected.
  • Cyber Security. How does your partner organization ensure that it is able to withstand cyber attacks and isolate the damage? How does it assess the severity of the attack, and how does it make sure that similar security breaches do not occur in the future?
  • Insurance. Does your partner organization have cyber insurance? What types of incidents are covered by the insurance, and what types of claims may be made?
  • Litigation. How will your partner organization evaluate the legal implications of cyber attacks and which litigations each one leaves it liable to? How does it asses if it can take legal actions, and how does it ensure that it maintains evidence through digital forensics when law enforcement requires it?
  • Business Continuity Planning. How will your partner organization continue its usual operations in the midst of a cyber attack and while recovering from the attack, in order to minimize the impact of the attack on the productivity of the business?

Security Measures for an Outsourcing Partner

Here are some more security measures that reliable outsourcing partners may put into place for an added layer of cyber security.

  • Context-Aware Access Control. Traditional access control models provide a fixed, rigid access control system that applies to all sorts of devices regardless of context. A better IT security strategy would be to use context-aware access controls where the system analyzes and assesses the context, made up of the end devices, the network infrastructure, and the available network services, and then adjusts the access control for that device accordingly.
  • Endpoint Threat Detection. Instead of having to wait for an attack to be detected, endpoint threat detection is the practice of detecting possible internet security threats and suspicious activities from the endpoints of a network in order to respond to the threat in advance and hopefully prevent the attack from happening again. This practice is as a form of cyber attack prevention and increases the layers of a cyber network security.
  • Real-Time Security Analytics. Similar in purpose to endpoint threat detection, real-time security analytics is the practice of processing and analyzing data in real time, right as they flow through a network. This enables organizations to detect real-time changes to data behavior and possibly detect anomalies and suspicious activities right as they happen, so that security levels may be immediately raised and actions may be taken as soon as possible.

Cyber Security in Outsourcing: the Takeaway

We are in the digital age where everything is gradually being automated and technological innovations come one after another. With the cybersecurity demand for an excellent IT security professional on a continued rise and the pool of talents not enough to keep up, outsourcing has become a popular method of achieving excellent information security services without having to hire in-house professionals. Unsurprisingly, outsourcing is becoming a common IT solution to a lot of organizations globally, and demand for cybersecurity professionals is at its peak.

With the digitization of data also comes inevitable IT security risks, and one of these risks is cybercrime. Since personal data are now being stored in machines and on the cloud, cyber security has become a serious concern because the repercussions of IT security breaches have become more serious than ever before. For many organizations, the cost of cementing its security walls is tiny compared to the cost of recovering from a serious security attack, so the call for stronger cyber security is a collective demand.

Given that IT outsourcing results in much of the work being done outside the office premises, potentially even in locations hundreds or thousands of kilometers away, it’s easy to think that outsourcing opens the business IT security gates to cyber attackers. This, however, couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, outsourcing actually improves cyber security because the cyber security skills in demand of outsourced developers often are aligned with industry standards whereas local hires frequently don’t have the chance to be trained with as much rigor. Rather than outsourcing, the risk actually depends on whether you are able to prudently select the right outsourcing partner.

cyber security skills in demand

It is imperative to find an outsourcing partner with a solid security framework and which complies with regulations set forth by local and international bodies. With information system laws such as the GDPR now in place, an outsourcing partner that complies with such protocols are more likely to be successful in providing a level of IT cyber security that is acceptable for enterprise use.

Cybercrimes are now a dime a dozen, and while it’s natural to feel uneasy about outsourcing IT projects due to this, it’s actually a baseless fear that is easily addressed by choosing the right outsourcing partner. For that, look no further. Here at Mobilunity, all our developers have been trained to adopt the latest industry-standard security measures, so you can rest assured that your organization’s IT security will not be compromised. Outsource your IT projects to us so you can worry less and focus more on delivering what you do best.

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