Outsourcing: A Security Risk to Consider?

Outsourcing: A Security Risk to Consider?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

Outsourcing is a business practice where certain tasks or functions are delegated to external agencies or third parties. This approach is often used when those functions fall outside a company’s core expertise, cost-effectively improving efficiency and focus. With outsourcing, businesses can tap into global talent and specialized services, usually at a lower cost.

Is Outsourcing a Security Risk?

Outsourcing can indeed introduce security risks that organizations need to consider. When outsourcing, sensitive company data often needs to be shared with the third-party provider, which can increase the risk of data leaks or breaches if the provider doesn’t have robust cybersecurity measures in place.

Moreover, organizations may have less control over the data and its protection once it’s in the hands of a third party.

It’s also worth considering the jurisdiction of the outsourcing partner, as different regions have different data protection laws.

Therefore, thorough vetting of a potential partner’s security protocols and practices is essential before outsourcing. With careful management and good contractual controls in place, these risks can be mitigated.

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Outsourcing Examples

1. Mobile App Development

A particularly common example of outsourcing can be seen when companies need to develop mobile applications. While having a mobile app is almost a necessity in today’s digital world, not all companies have the necessary programming skills or technical knowledge within their workforce to create these applications from scratch.

In such situations, these tasks can be outsourced to a specialized app development firm that has the expertise and resources to develop a high-quality application tailored to the company’s needs. This not only saves the company time, but it can often prove more cost-effective. The staff can then concentrate on what they do best, such as running the business, sales, or customer service, and leave the technical side of app development to the experts.

2. Delivery and Logistics

Another common example of outsourcing can be seen in the online retail business, more specifically in the realm of delivery and logistics. Running an online store involves a comprehensive set of tasks – from sourcing products, maintaining inventory, processing orders and delivering them to customers. Handling the logistical side, especially deliveries, can be a complex and time-consuming task.

This is where outsourcing comes into the picture. Instead of handling the delivery services in-house, the retailer outsources this function to a professional courier or logistics company. The outsourced company already has delivery infrastructure in place, making it capable of conducting deliveries more efficiently and often at a lower cost. Thereby, outsourcing frees up precious time for the retailer, allowing them to concentrate on their core function – selling products and maintaining customer satisfaction.

3. Payroll Processing

Outsourcing applies even to some of the most skilled and technical jobs, such as payroll processing and tax filing. For many small businesses, managing payroll in-house can be quite a task. It involves not just disbursing employee salaries but also accurately calculating tax withholdings, overtime, leave deductions, and more. Besides, to do it right it requires an understanding of tax laws that regularly change.

With such complexity involved, businesses prefer to outsource payroll processing and tax filing to specialized accounting or HR companies. These expert firms have the proficiency to handle various payroll tasks on schedule and without errors. By doing so, businesses can avert potential legal and compliance issues while allowing them to focus more on their essential business operations.


Outsourcing serves as a strategic method for businesses to handle tasks or functions that are hard, costly, or time-consuming to manage in-house. By facilitating access to specialized skills, efficiencies, and cost savings, it allows businesses to maintain their focus on the core operations that directly drive their growth and competitiveness.

Key Takeaways

  • Outsourcing is a business practice where certain tasks are delegated to external agencies or third-parties that specialize in those areas.
  • Outsourcing can serve as an effective way for companies to handle tasks that they are not experts in, such as mobile app development, logistics, or payroll processing.
  • This approach helps businesses save time and costs, enabling them to focus on their core operations.

Related Questions

1. Are there risks involved with outsourcing?

Yes, outsourcing can come with its risks, such as loss of control over certain processes, potential communication missteps, and potential compromise on quality if not managed well. Therefore, it’s essential to choose your outsourcing partner carefully.

2. How does outsourcing affect employees?

Outsourcing can sometimes lead to job loss in the company’s home country as work is often sent overseas where labor is cheaper. However, it can also free up internal resources, allowing employees to focus on more critical tasks or become more specialized in their roles.

3. Are all types of business functions suited for outsourcing?

Not all business functions are suitable for outsourcing. Core business functions that define the company’s competitive advantage are usually kept in-house. It is the non-core administrative or operational functions that are typically outsourced.

4. How does outsourcing save costs?

Outsourcing can save costs by transferring tasks to third-party providers who can leverage economies of scale and efficiencies not available to the in-house team. Plus, it can help avoid the full-time salaries, benefits, and resource costs associated with in-house departments.

5. Can outsourcing help with business growth?

Yes, outsourcing can play a crucial role in business growth. It allows businesses to focus on core operations that directly drive growth, boost efficiency and productivity and can help businesses scale operations faster by providing additional resources and expertise as needed.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional