Internal v. External Security Personnel

Internal v. external security personnel

Over the years, cyberattacks have grown in sophistication and diversity. The threat landscape is continuously evolving, and there does not appear to be any signs of slowing down. As of 2020, the market size of the cybersecurity industry is $167.1 billion, and a market research report has predicted that it will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10% from 2020 to 2027. While one cannot deny that believing in absolute security is a state of oblivion, businesses must aim to achieve the maximum level of security possible. Right from planning a strategy to investment and implementation, an organization shall ensure that its security strategy falls in line with its business goals. For every business, there are two options available: they can either hire in-house personnel or outsource its cybersecurity to service providers and external consultants.  

Internal security personnel: Building a team 

Building an internal team right from scratch may have multiple benefits for your business. In doing so, the most significant barrier you will face is finding the right talent. Relying entirely on your internal security personnel will give you greater control of security activities and initiatives. Security-related communication can happen on the existing communication channel, and there is no involvement of a third-party. You can directly oversee your employees, monitor their workload, and analyze their effectiveness. 

Having internal security personnel assures a business that there is always an individual available who can address security concerns immediately. Besides, internal staff will always have a better understanding of your business-related activities, as compared to third-party service providers. As your internal team is more familiar with your company and its industry, they will be in a better position to create a business-specific cybersecurity strategy for maintaining confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT infrastructure. 

While some decision-makers might find these advantages lucrative, there are certain disadvantages too. For example, your options for hiring talent will be limited, based on your business size and budget. Specifically, in cases of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) where financial constraints play a pivotal role in the decision-making process, hiring and retaining of highly skilled cybersecurity experts can be a daunting task. Even after hiring multiple team members for specific skills, there will be knowledge gaps capable of compromising your organization’s overall security strategy to defend against cyber attacks. 

Apart from hiring, other expenses can include purchasing licenses for software and toolkits, hardware requirements, and mandatory employee benefits. To ensure that your team can make the best use of resources in line with the latest cybersecurity developments, you will be providing them with certificates, training programs, and workshops from external security experts. Again, this comes at a high cost. 


Do you know that LIFARS’ CISO as a Service is designed to address your organization’s information security leadership needs. Our CISOs are highly skilled at establishing, improving, and transforming cybersecurity programs focused on maximising business values by minimizing risks and optimizing opportunities? 


External security personnel: Outsourcing 

Considering the costs and complexities involved in hiring internal security personnel, many businesses opt to outsource their cybersecurity to service providers like LIFARS. While discussing the issues encountered in building a team internally, we discussed that finding skilled personnel is a challenge. However, when a business outsources its cybersecurity or certain functions thereof, it is working with a team of professionals with vast experience and knowledge. Most likely, your service provider’s team would have worked with similar organizations like yours, and they are familiar with the threats you are facing. 

For a business, this transforms into lesser expenditure in hiring and training in-house employees. Your prospective service provider will already have hands-on experience and state-of-the-art tools at their disposal. They will also be covering all the licensing costs involved. Further, a dedicated team of cybersecurity remains available to track your security in real-time. Your service provider’s threat intelligence will prove useful in improving the security posture of your organization by detecting potential threats before they convert into full-fledged cyberattacks. Over the years, we have seen that organizations which have outsourced certain cybersecurity functions have greater stability than organizations relying entirely on an internal security team. 

While dealing with our prospective clients, we have noticed that many organizations are concerned about handing over their sensitive information to individuals who are strangers. If you have similar concerns, we recommend that you must 

  • Check publicly available reviews; 
  • Get in touch with the clients a prospective service provider has given references for; 
  • Verify their industry certifications; and  
  • Perform due diligence to verify their credibility.

Following this, you should incorporate sufficient contractual clauses and protections for your peace of mind. It is pertinent to note that even when you outsource cybersecurity, you cannot outsource accountability for the same under any law or regulation. Unlike the traditional model of having an internal team of security personnel, completely outsourcing your cybersecurity means that there will not be any cybersecurity expert available on-site. While a major part of monitoring can be done remotely, it is not justifiable to deny the importance of having a cybersecurity expert on-site. 

What do we recommend? 

We highly recommend the best of both the approaches for maximum benefits, i.e., following a mixed approach. You can have a dedicated internal team for basic cybersecurity functions; however, you should outsource specialized requirements such as vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, digital forensics, cyber incident response, firewall management, DDoS prevention and mitigation, ransomware response and decryption, etc. As far as your internal team is concerned, you should hire individuals that can manage and coordinate with your service providers; while at the same time, keep a continuous oversight on legal and regulatory compliance requirements. 

Now, it is over to you. While the exact specifications of an internal team may vary due to organizational size, businesses prefer outsourcing certain cybersecurity functions to service providers like LIFARS to not only cut down costs; but to significantly improve the overall security posture of your organization.