Today’s hiring options are critical. Amid what’s being termed “the great resignation,” many tech and IT employees may be planning an exit. Tech and IT workers commonly contend with chronic burnout, limited career progression, and unrealistic demands from employers.

This situation is currently pushing many companies to rethink their IT security strategy. In the past year, it has become more difficult to retain current security employees and hiring new technicians is increasingly more costly. As these high-demand professionals are demanding higher and higher salaries, outsourcing is starting to look like the winning option, if not the only option in some areas.

Yes, there is a labor shortage in IT security.

The demand for cybersecurity professionals has been steadily increasing in recent years as organizations of all sizes and industries face a growing threat from cyberattacks. This demand has been driven by a range of factors, including the increasing complexity of technology, the growing volume of data and transactions, and the rise of cybercrime and state-sponsored hacking.

Despite the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals, there are not enough skilled workers to meet the needs of organizations. According to a recent workforce study by (ISC)², there is a global shortage of 3.4 million cybersecurity professionals. This labor gap is expected to continue in the coming years, as more organizations invest in cybersecurity and, simultaneously, as new threats emerge.

The shortage of IT security professionals has created a competitive market for these workers, with companies offering higher salaries, better benefits, and other perks to attract and retain top talent. It has also created opportunities for workers to gain new skills and advance their careers in this field. However, it also means that organizations must be more strategic in their hiring and retention efforts and be willing to invest in the training and development of their cybersecurity professionals in order to stay competitive.

Yes, most companies are currently trying to reduce compliance costs.

Compliance costs refer to the expenses associated with complying with regulations and industry standards, such as environmental regulations, labor laws, financial regulations, and cybersecurity requirements. Compliance costs can include things like hiring additional staff, purchasing specialized equipment or software, conducting audits, and implementing new policies and procedures.

Reducing compliance costs is a common goal for many companies, as these costs can be a significant burden on their finances and operations. Some of the ways that companies may try to reduce compliance costs include automating IT security tasks and outsourcing IT security roles–from basic fieldwork to C-level positions.

So, given these two truths. A lot of companies find themselves facing one decision:

Decision: Hire an In-House Specialist or Outsource IT Security?

In a world of seemingly endless choices, you can find precisely what you need to achieve any purpose. However, coming to the right decision in finding that ideal candidate, under the right circumstances, is not as clear-cut as we would all like to believe.

An abundance of choice sometimes drives hiring managers and CIOs to work harder—at the outset, at least—to achieve long-term peace of mind for the most critical roles, such as cybersecurity. In the end and accounting for long-term goals and benefits, it is worth exploring all the engagement possibilities available to help find the right person to fit your budget and time frame while expertly tending to your IT team’s needs.

The answer to whether you should hire an in-house specialist or an outsourcing expert depends greatly on a number of factors about your organization, as well as what each hiring or engagement option offers and the available candidates.

IT Security OptionsProsCons
Hiring In-House IT SecurityFamiliarity with the EnvironmentShortage of Qualified Candidates
Work as a Team Towards Security GoalsExpensive
Invested in Protecting Intellectual PropertyNeed for Ongoing Training
Outsourcing IT SecurityExperience & Quality Assurance
More Cost-Effective
Access to a Wider Range of Skills & Expertise
Compare the advantages and disadvantages to help determine the best choice for your organization between hiring IT security specialists or outsourcing to an IT security provider.

Pros & Cons | Hiring an In-House Specialist for IT Security

The allure of hiring a traditional, full-time specialist to fill any role is still attractive for many IT leaders due the sheer stability and reliability. With such a professional relationship, you have likely thoroughly vetted your IT staffer and feel confident in his or her IT security abilities.

Although the temptation may be strong to go with an in-house specialist, it is always worth taking a deeper look at all aspects of this choice.

Pros: Hiring an In-House IT Security Specialist

Given the sensitive nature of the role of an IT security specialist in safeguarding important company and customer data assets, it is natural for IT leaders to lean toward hiring a permanent employee for the position. That inclination can lead to a long and invaluable professional relationship with the right candidate.

Take a look at a few of the advantages of hiring an in-house IT security specialist:

  1. Internal Staffers Become Increasingly Familiar with the IT System and Environment. Just like with any job, the longer you do it, the more familiar it becomes. If a new hire works out, he or she will likely get more efficient at identifing issues and  troubleshooting problems because of a growing familiarity with how the network is built. 
  2. They Work Together as Part of the Internal Team. Hiring a permanent employee for the role allows them to become an integral member of your team. With this type of an engagement, the organization and the employee become mutually invested in one another, which works to everyone’s advantage. While outsourcing professionals care about their work, in-house employees have a more vested and ongoing interest in tending to the health of a company and can work on proactive measures to promote a safe computing environment.   
  3. They Have a Greater Investment in Creating & Protecting Intellectual Property.  Any time intellectual property is on the line, trust is essential. If you plan to write your own programs or create anything specifically for your firm, you might consider the advantages of hiring an in-house IT expert.   

Cons: Hiring an In-House IT Security Specialist

There are also some distinct disadvantages to choosing to hire an in-house IT specialist that you might review before making your final decision:

  1. Qualified Candidates Are Extremely Limited. The current employment market is tough for all industries. Yet the global cybersecurity labor shortage is at a critical point for businesses worldwide. In 2021, it’s currently a contributing factor to rising business risk. Not only are the options for a qualified, experienced full-time IT security staffer very limited, but the cost of hiring has also gone way up with the soaring demand.
  2. It’s the Most Expensive Option; and Getting More Costly. Depending on your size and budget, you may not be able to afford the price of hiring an in-house IT security specialist. The national average salary for an IT Security Specialist is currently running $111,675 per year in United States, according to Glassdoor. Plus, keep in mind that you will need to address additional costs like a benefits package that includes medical and dental coverage, as well as the employee’s participation in a 401(k) plan.   
  3. The Employer Must Sponsor Ongoing Training Updates. Technology continually evolves, and cybercriminals never rest, so you need to make sure your IT security specialist always has the most current credentials. You will need to monitor any new training that the permanent employee needs, and you will also need to pay for necessary classes, seminars, workshops, training sessions, certifications and anything else to make sure they are always at the top of their game.   

Related article: Virtual CISOs Are In High Demand Due to Increasing Regulations, Security Threats, and Cost-Effective Benefits.

Pros & Cons | Outsourcing Your IT Security Needs

When it comes to tending the digital goalposts when it comes to threats like viruses, spam, Trojans and DDOS attacks, you need the services of a computer security expert. Once you review the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing your IT security needs, it may become clear whether or not this is the best route for your cybersecurity needs.

Pros: Outsourcing Your IT Security Needs

The best tech auditing and security firms house a full roster of talented IT security professionals, ready to help you keep your system safe and sound. Consider a few additional advantages you will find in turning to a reliable tech outsourcing firm to find your ideal IT security professional or team:

  1. Access to a Team of Qualified and Vetted IT Security Professionals In this case, when you reach out to a firm that features a talented team of IT security specialists, you can rest assured that help is available at any time. The firm that you choose will ensure that their IT security experts have the education, experience, and certifications and credentials that you need to keep your computing system safe.   
  2. It Is the Most Cost-Effective Solution. An engagement with an IT security firm costs significantly less than the annual alary for an IT security expert that we mentioned earlier. Consider the fact that, once you get your organization’s computer security system in place, it can run smoothly on a daily basis, as long as one key team member knows the ins and outs of the security system and policies. The IT security team member is sometimes relegated to “on-call” status, leaving you paying a high salary for someone with little to do. With an outsourced security professional, you will only pay for billable hours once your security measures are in place. While the costs may be variable when it comes to outsourcing, they don’t come anywhere near the costs and associated risks of permanent hiring for the position.   
  3. Outsourced Teams Boast a Wider Range of Skills & Experience. Even with a seasoned in-house IT security specialist, you simply don’t have to deal with security matters on a regular basis. The chances are good that your chosen IT security firm will feature specialists who have a great deal of hands-on experience. And because firms are composed of multiple security practitioners, your organization will benefit from access to professionals with a broader range of specialties.   

Cons: Outsourcing Your IT Security Needs

Outside of concerns regarding intellectual property, different approaches to computer security needs and the lack of day-to-day and face-to-face communication opportunities, the list of disadvantages is really short. The disadvantages that exist are easily managed through various agreements and binding contracts that can reduce your worries.

Related article: You Don’t Actually Have to Hire a Chief Compliance Officer.

Why Is Outsourcing Cybersecurity Becoming a More Popular Solution?

There are several reasons why more companies have been outsourcing in recent months. One of the primary reasons for outsourcing is cost savings. Companies can save money by outsourcing work to countries where labor is cheaper. This is particularly true for industries that require a lot of labor-intensive work, such as manufacturing or call centers. Outsourcing can also give companies access to a wider pool of skilled labor than they might have in their own country. This is particularly true for industries that require specialized skills, such as technology or engineering. Fractional roles allow companies to quickly scale up or down their workforce in response to changes in demand. This can be especially valuable for companies that experience seasonal or cyclical changes in demand.

By outsourcing non-core functions such as accounting, human resources, or IT, companies can focus more on their core competencies and strategic goals. The widespread availability of communication and collaboration tools has made it easier for companies to outsource work to other countries without sacrificing productivity or quality. This has enabled companies to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing while minimizing the risks.

Related article: the Terrible Alternatives to Outsourcing Compliance Roles.

Find the Right Fit for Your IT Security Needs

Whether you decide on hiring an in-house specialist, or if you want to outsource your IT security needs, our team at I.S. Partners, LLC. can help you throughout the process. We can review the advantages and disadvantages with you to make sure you make the best choice for your organization. Call or request a quote today so we can get started.

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