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When Should You Outsource Your Global Security Operations Center (GSOC)

Aug 15, 2016

If a company has grown to a point that it needs to provide a greater level of security and protection for its employees and assets, it’s likely it’s grappling with how to do it and how much to spend. The question will arise whether to build or outsource a GSOC to monitor and respond to emergencies across multiple locations.

Undoubtedly, budget will be a big consideration. The internal infrastructure for a GSOC can typically cost $100,000 to several million dollars to develop at the outset. That doesn’t include the space allocation which in today’s high-priced office market can be a lot. When companies sit down and look at the lifetime costs of owning, maintaining, upgrading, and operating all of the equipment and infrastructure of a GSOC, the investment becomes even larger. To do a full life cycle analysis, consideration should also be given to the frequency that system components will need to be replaced. Keep in mind the costs for ongoing training, drills, exercises, audits, and any oversight to ensure regulatory compliance.

Depending on what third-party operator provider, it could cost as much as $250,000 to $350,000 to staff one operator position in a GSOC 24/7/365. Using an outsource model can solve the security and facility manager’s budget requirements for the GSOC infrastructure costs, as well as provide the expertise to run and manage a GSOC.

An important consideration is the level of internal expertise available. If the expertise doesn’t exist, a company will need to recruit, train, and retain professionals to develop policies and procedures, standardize action plans, and manage the staff of the GSOC. Additionally, there will be a need to staff sufficiently for high-impact events.

In an outsource model the infrastructure and technology are pre-existing and eliminate infrastructure costs. Additionally, there is significant cost savings in staffing. Highly trained professional operators are trained to respond to access control alarms and use video to verify whether an alarm is false or whether appropriate actions should be taken. When there are ongoing false alarms, these operators are trained to look into why—is there a faulty device, is there a design issue, is it a result of heavy traffic during certain hours.

When companies need to scale quickly, an outsource model should be considered. It is often more nimble and capable of responding to the demand on staffing than an internal GSOC. Why? Because resources are shared across multiple companies, much like a timeshare. The staffing and infrastructure are readily available to handle companies that are opening multiple offices around the globe in very short order. Depending on the size of the new office, it might require the attention of less than one person full-time 24/7 or multiple operators 24/7. What does an internal GSOC do when the demand is less than what is required of a full-time person round-the-clock, but more than what current staffing can support? Well, they often endure and burn out staff until the next additional demand where they can fully justify a new hire. The time-sharing of the outsource model allows for a much quicker and robust scalability.