Weighing the pros and cons of data security outsourcing

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It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business operation in the current marketplace without taking IT seriously. The problem is that very few small and medium-sized businesses have the knowledge or skillset needed to properly manage each individual aspect of IT in-house. This is especially true when it comes to something like data security.

One of the keys to running a successful business is being honest with yourself and recognizing what you don’t know. By identifying the areas where you come up short, you can take steps to compensate and overcome so that your business can thrive. One way you do this is through working with knowledgeable individuals that specialize in the areas where you’re deficient.

Data security is a specific area where businesses often lack the internal knowledge and expertise to excel. It’s a particularly challenging aspect of IT that business leaders don’t have the time to master internally, so they go outside the company and outsource.

But as with any job role, responsibility or task, certain advantages and disadvantages come with outsourcing. Weighing these factors against one another will help you get a clearer picture of how to proceed.

The Pros of Outsourcing

“It’s been said that smart business owners surround themselves with people smarter than they are. That goes for your IT consultant[s] too,” explains Invision, an IT services company that works with Kansas-City based businesses. “If you’re not in IT consulting day in and day out, you don’t know what you don’t know. And that can cost you in profit and productivity, without you realizing it.”

When you look at some of the advantages that come with outsourcing the data security component of your IT strategy and working with industry experts on a contract basis, here’s what you’ll find:

  • Controls costs. When you outsource data security, you’re able to convert many of your fixed costs into variable costs. Not only does this reduce unnecessary expenses, but it also creates more predictability in your budget.
  • Greater productivity. It takes a lot of energy to shove a square peg in a round hole – which is what most businesses do when they attempt to tackle data security without the right skillset or knowledge already in place. Thus, outsourcing leads to significantly greater productivity.
  • Access to expertise. Outsourcing connects your business to experts in the data security field – experts that you probably can’t afford to hire full-time. And not only do you get to work with them, but you don’t have to invest time and energy in their training and development. (You simply reap the rewards of their skills.)
  • More efficient scalability. It’s a whole lot easier to scale up your data security efforts when you don’t have to worry about having the right number of employees on the payroll. Outsourcing ensures you always have the appropriate number of people for the job.

The benefits of outsourcing data security are plentiful and far-reaching. For small and medium-sized businesses, it’s an especially logical and cost-effective choice.

The Cons of Outsourcing

Outsourcing certainly isn’t a perfect solution. While there are plenty of advantages to justify the investment, there are also a couple of issues you’ll have to work around. These include:

  • Less control. Even if you’re telling your outsourced consultants what you want to accomplish, you lose a bit of the granular control that you have when you do everything in-house. For business owners who want to feel in charge of every key area of their business, this becomes a struggle. It can also compromise consistency.
  • Challenges with communication. It’s a whole lot easier to walk down the hallway and speak with one of your employees than it is to remotely contact a consultant or track down an outsourced contract worker. Issues with communication can be problematic when time is of the essence.
  • Security. Data security isn’t a function you can afford to take lightly. You’re dealing with highly sensitive information, and you can’t trust just anyone with your data. Finding a partner you can trust can be difficult.

The biggest challenges of outsourcing have to deal with stepping back. When you give such a vital piece of your business over to people who haven’t been trained and developed inside the four walls of your office, there are going to be some hiccups. The hope, however, is that these small issues are quickly smoothed over, so you can enjoy the many benefits that outsourcing offers.

There’s no questioning the fact that, in most cases, the pros of outsourcing data security generally outweigh the cons. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you to figure out what makes sense for your company’s efficiency, security, and profitability. How will you proceed?

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