What’s your idea of cyber security? That’s the very first question that you should ask yourself when you start shopping around for managed cyber security services. The next question you should ask is – Why do we need cyber security?
Believe it or not, the answers to those questions are NOT the same for everyone.
If your idea of cyber security is simply adding a new software tool and calling it a day, then it’s time to deepen your understanding of cyber security. A cyber security strategy is made up of several layers of technical and non-technical pieces that work together to prevent, respond to, and remediate intrusions. (When you read our Ultimate Guide to Cyber Security, you’ll get what we mean by this.)
As for the question of why you need managed cyber security services...
You may be concerned about the potential for a cyber attack. (And you should be concerned because everyone is a target.) But there also may be other factors driving the need for increased cyber security services – things like regulatory compliance, the need to get cyber insurance, or your current IT team doesn't have the time or specialized expertise to handle your security needs.
Becoming Aware of How You Think About Security
Your answers to the two questions above are important when considering outsourcing cyber security because you have to weigh the costs with the benefits you expect from the investment. So if you think security is just a matter of installing some software, a complete cyber security strategy will probably seem too expensive.
As for your answer to why you need cyber security services, it really comes down to thinking about what it will cost NOT to have the appropriate cyber security. The impact of a breach can be really bad – up to the point of business failure. For example, not complying with regulations could mean the loss of customers and hefty fines. Having a data breach could incur costs and damage to your reputation that could put you in a hole too deep to climb out of.
Now that you’re aware of your mindset regarding security, let’s dig into how much cyber security services should cost, what’s included, and how outsourced services are offered.
- How Much Do Managed Cyber Security Services Cost?
- What’s Included in Managed Cyber Security Services?
- Purchase Options for Outsourced Cyber Security Services
- Choosing a Managed Cyber Security Services Provider
How Much Do Managed Cyber Security Services Cost?
Minimum costs for outsourced cyber security services start around $2,000 - $3,500 per month and go up from there.
On a per-user basis, that breaks down to a range between $195 and $350 per user, including support and maintenance. If you already have support (whether in-house or outsourced) the cyber security portion on its own is typically $35 - $65 per user.
The cost of cyber security services depends on the size of your business, the complexity of your IT environment, and your specific needs, such as regulatory compliance.
It's a pretty wide range because it’s challenging to compare apples to apples without analyzing everything that’s included. How do you do that if you don’t have the technical knowledge to know what you’re looking at?
We’ll go through some of the main components to help you with that conversation.
What’s Included in Managed Cyber Security Services?
Whether or not you’re presented with a list of tools and specific services that the outsourced cyber security services company will provide, keep in mind that security is a process and not a product, and processes need to be managed. That’s why our list starts with ongoing consulting from a Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO).
vCISO Consulting and Dedicated Account Management
To maximize the benefits you receive from cyber security services, you need to become pretty tight with the service provider. Ongoing consulting and account management will keep the lines of communication open, prevent duplication of work, and avoid blind spots that can be created when changes are made to the network.
Security Software Tools
As a business leader, you don’t need to know the technical details of the tools that a security provider has in their stack. Still, there are some foundational technologies that you should be familiar with, at least by name, so that you can recognize if there’s an advanced tool that’s missing.
Have a look at 17 Foundational Cyber Security Measures Southern California Businesses Need in 2022 to get up to speed with what security technologies you should look for in a managed security services provider’s offering.
For every tool that your provider utilizes, there’s typically a licensing fee that can run anywhere from $5 per user to $30 and up. Don’t expect this to be itemized but just know that every tool has a cost.
Monitoring and Alert Response
Every tool in your cyber security strategy will generate data and produce alerts when there’s any kind of suspicious activity going on. Not every alert is an actual intruder, so someone needs to monitor and analyze the data. Depending on how you outsource security (see purchasing options below), you’ll want to make sure that you know who will take care of this.
No one can guarantee that you’ll never have a cyber attack, so a comprehensive security strategy isn’t complete without a remediation plan.
As you’re evaluating costs, make sure that you understand the level of remediation offered.
For some security providers, policy writing is included, and for others, it’s an add-on. Your policies set out guidelines for how you allow people and systems to access your network. Employees need to be trained to know what’s expected, and policies need to be enforced.
Unless you have someone internally drafting your policies, it’s recommended that you say yes to assistance in this area.
Complying with regulations for security like CMMC or NIST requires special expertise. You’ll want a cyber security services provider that can interpret regulations into specific security controls. They should also be able to perform regular internal and external vulnerability scans and gap analysis to make sure that you’re maintaining compliance.
Purchase Options for Outsourced Cyber Security Services
You need both cyber security and IT management -- and in some ways, they overlap. For example, utilizing IT best practices for keeping hardware updated, software patched, and appropriate network administration all contribute to your cyber security posture.
Stand-Alone Cyber Security Services
If you think your internal team or current IT support company has a good handle on IT management, then you might consider outsourcing cyber security services on their own.
If you choose this option, keep in mind that both teams should work together closely. There should be security consulting and account management included to help maintain open lines of communication.
Partial IT Support with Cyber Security Services
It’s possible to outsource security along with partial outsourced IT management. This arrangement is ideal for companies that want internal IT staff to focus on high-level activities. The outsourced company uses IT best practices and collaborates with its own security team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Make sure the outsourced company offers technology consulting and is dedicated to learning about your business so that they can help guide technology improvements.
All-Inclusive Managed IT Services with Cyber Security Services
This is the best option for companies that want a totally seamless IT management and cyber security experience. The managed IT services company should work with you to develop a roadmap for technology improvements, including cyber security. This arrangement takes IT staffing and training off your plate while you get access to all the areas of IT expertise that you need.
Your relationship will feel more like a partnership than a vendor because of their deep understanding of your business.
Choosing a Managed Cyber Security Services Provider
As you’re vetting providers, look for signs of their credibility. Do they have specific designations such as Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)? Do they have expertise in compliance that’s verified, like being a Registered Provider Organization for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)? Verify the credibility of a cyber security service company the way you would any other vendor that you’re evaluating with references and case studies.
Outsourced Cyber Security Services from VC3
Here at VC3, we provide Southern California companies with different options for managed IT and managed cyber security services. Whether you want to completely outsource everything IT, or need a guide to help you navigate regulatory compliance, we’re here to help. Get in contact to explore your options.