Managed Security Services vs. DIY: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Cybercriminals are coming for your business. It’s time to think about whether you should keep your in-house cybersecurity team or outsource to a managed security services provider (MSSP). This article will review managed security services vs. DIY.


June 14, 2023

You Have A Decision To Make

Many organizations find that addressing their information security needs in-house can be difficult and wonder whether they should consider outsourcing their security services to a managed security services provider (MSSP). A do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to cybersecurity can be unwieldy because of the ever-expanding cyber threats and security risks.

If your company is considering whether to outsource some or all of your information security to a managed security services provider or to keep them in-house, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of both options.

Pros and Cons of Managed Security Services vs. DIY Cybersecurity

Managed security services offer numerous advantages over keeping your IT security in-house. There are also a few disadvantages that you should be aware of.

1. Fast Setup Time

Cyber attacks and data breaches are constant threats to companies of all sizes. Establishing a strong security posture must be completed quickly to prevent cybercriminals from having time to act. When you outsource your company’s information security to a managed security services provider, you can benefit from a lightning-fast setup.

If you plan to set up your company’s security operations center yourself, the process can take months. While you’re waiting for your IT department to finish establishing your company’s SOC, your organization could be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

By contrast, a managed security services provider can greatly shorten the time to set up your SOC through a fast onboarding process. With managed security services, the process might only take a few weeks vs. many months.

2. Security Audits and Gap Analysis

When choosing managed security, a security consultant will be assigned to your company and will audit your complete security infrastructure and functionality. A security audit by an expert consultant can help to identify gaps that need to be closed to prevent data breaches. Your consultant will make recommendations to tighten security and prevent potential intrusions.

If you instead choose to keep your security in-house, you’ll have to rely on your IT department to audit your infrastructure. Your IT staff might not have the security expertise needed to complete this task, and audits can also take time away from other tasks your staff needs to complete to facilitate your business operations.

3. Improved Prevention, Detection, and Response

If you opt to set up a DIY security operations center, this means your IT department will be tasked with building your complete cybersecurity stack. While this will provide your organization with control over the security tools you implement and allow you to create a tailored system, it also involves multiple downsides in the work and time involved.

A well-functioning security operations center should include the following types of tools:

  • Tools to scan for vulnerabilities and recommend patches
  • Endpoint detection and monitoring to prevent cyber attacks through endpoint devices or smartphones
  • Firewalls to protect your network from malware, ransomware, phishing, scams, and other security risks
  • Network monitoring tools to log traffic, identify incidents, and escalate suspicious events for analysis
  • Tools to prevent, detect, and contain intrusions
  • Threat intelligence tools to provide 24/7, real-time monitoring and notifications
  • Security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) for automatic tools that free up time and respond quickly to critical incidents
  • Logging tools to log and provide information about security incidents for short- and long-term analytics

While it can be difficult for your company to evaluate and purchase all of these types of tools, it is even harder to integrate them with your overall system. Many businesses that attempt to establish physical SOCs end up with sets of tools that do not integrate well with each other. This reduces the ability of their employees to react to security incidents.

By contrast, a managed security service provider has all of the necessary tools to implement a mature security operations center and can tailor it to meet your company’s needs. It will also ensure the tools will fully integrate with your company’s existing security tools and infrastructure.

4. Access to Experts

Organizations need to staff their security operations with experts, which can be challenging for companies that try to keep security in-house instead of outsourcing. Many companies struggle to source talent for various security roles. You’ll also need to hire enough analysts to monitor your company’s network 24/7, which can be even more difficult.

When you work with a managed security services provider, you will benefit from their complete roster of security experts, analysts, and responders. Their experts can provide 24/7 monitoring and response so that your company doesn’t need to worry about building out a robust team of experts in-house.

5. Fast and Knowledgeable Response to Incidents

If you attempt to build your own security operations center, that won’t be all you need. You will also need teams to manage other security tasks beyond your SOC, including complex incident response.

A managed security services provider should offer help from a security consultant who can provide expertise when an incident occurs. A consultant’s assistance can be critical for responding to a data breach.

6. Long-Term Cost Savings

While you might be concerned about the expenses of outsourcing your company’s cybersecurity needs to service providers, doing so might save your company significant amounts of money over the long term. As previously discussed, building a physical security operations center at your company will require you to source, evaluate, and purchase multiple security tools. You’ll also need to recruit and hire expert security professionals to manage your security needs and make capital investments in hardware and software that might need to be updated regularly.

An MSSP has the tools and resources to achieve your company’s security goals. When you partner with an MSSP, you won’t need to worry about paying salaries and benefits to IT experts. Instead, you can rely on the experts from your services provider in consultation with your internal IT department and will only have to make a regular, budgeted payment.

7. Freeing up Your Existing IT Staff

When an organization outsources such tasks as monitoring, patching, and other required security tasks, your IT department can be freed up to attend to other duties related to your company’s business operations. Cyber risks require continuous monitoring to prevent hackers from intruding, and cybersecurity involves round-the-clock work that can consume the time your IT department has available.

With managed security services, you can feel confident that your sensitive data will be protected and hacks will be prevented before they can disrupt your operations. Instead, your IT staff can work in development, work to improve the efficiency of your operations or engage in any number of tasks to help your company meet its strategic goals. If your in-house staff has the time to engage in these types of activities, your company can benefit from their knowledge about your company and gain a competitive edge.

You also aren’t restricted to only offloading routine security services to a managed security services provider. If your company operates in the cloud, your provider’s cloud services might offer monitoring of cloud security, cloud technical support, reporting, and more to protect your company’s cloud environment.

8. Achieve and Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Security regulations and protocols are constantly changing and increasing in complexity. Depending on the industry in which your company operates, you mired to meet stringent cybersecurity standards. For example, defense contractors must comply with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and will soon need to achieve certification at the appropriate level of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). However, recent research on defense contractors found that only 13% complied with DFARS.

Trying to wade through the regulatory requirements through a DIY approach might leave your company exposed to actions by regulators and interfere with your ability to bid on critical contracts. Similarly, if your organization operates within the healthcare space, you must have critical cybersecurity protocols in place to comply with healthcare regulations and federal privacy laws to protect patients’ sensitive data and your organization.

Fortunately, a good MSSP can review your security profile and make recommendations to close the gaps and bring you into compliance. This can prevent serious data breaches, regulatory violations, and substantial fines.

Cons of Managed Security Services vs. DIY IT Security

Outsourcing your organization’s IT security might also present a couple of disadvantages as detailed below.

1. Allowing Access to Your Company’s Sensitive Data

One potential disadvantage of offloading your company’s security tasks is that you will need to provide your provider with access to your organization’s sensitive data. It can be particularly difficult when you are concerned about protecting your customer’s personal identifying information (PII) and might believe the risk is too high to allow access to an MSSP. This issue can be solved by creating a detailed agreement with your provider to ensure your company is legally protected and that confidentiality will be maintained.

2. Losing Control

A second potential disadvantage of working with a managed security services provider is not having control over the security portfolio on which your company will rely. Thinking about relinquishing control over your company’s defensive capabilities might be concerning. However, you can mitigate this risk by thoroughly researching any provider you consider and carefully reviewing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) before signing it.

Meriplex Can Help With Your Cybersecurity Needs

Choosing whether to outsource your organization’s IT security or to instead keep it in-house can be a daunting decision. If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of managed security services vs. taking a DIY approach or if you are interested in what Meriplex offers its security clients, contact us today for more information.