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Why Scalable Security Teams Make SO MUCH SENSE for Startups

Cobalt partner Eden Data explores a new way startups can tackle security without braking the bank.

Let’s be real: managing a cybersecurity program is no easy task, especially when that’s not your primary job responsibility at a startup! It becomes exponentially harder when you add compliance and privacy, as those initiatives each require a lot of time, attention, and most importantly, expertise. Building out a cohesive program presents all sorts of challenges along the way, and requires time and resources that most startups don’t have.

Do these problems sound familiar?

  • Your prospects are demanding that you fill out security questionnaires that seem to be in ever-changing formats (.xlsx, .docx, some random portal, oh me oh my!) and written in Pig Latin
  • Your prospects refuse to sign and your current customers refuse to renew until you’ve achieved a security certification such as SOC 2, ISO 27001 or some other crazy reference code
  • You keep reading about new data privacy requirements and random acronyms related to regulatory standards, but have no idea where to validate what applies to your organization
  • You hired a security professional internally, invested a lot of time/money into them, and then they got poached 
  • You’ve started building a security team internally but candidates are hard to find, expensive as heck, and seem to only specialize in very specific fields
  • You’re trying to close a round of funding or get acquired and your investors are running you through the gamut of a risk assessment

The list could go on, but we’ve likely raised your blood pressure enough already! Don’t worry though, as this is meant to be a fairy tale and has a happy ending. We are happy to report that there is absolutely a solution to the problems you’re dealing with as it relates to security, compliance and data privacy.

Enter.... The Scalable Security Team!

What in tarnation does that mean, you ask? A scalable security team is an independent (third-party) firm that consists of multiple security/compliance/data privacy professionals, with a wide variety of skill sets that can be scaled up and down as the needs of your business change. They can adjust the number of people assigned to your team based on the workload and can also bring in different professionals based on the skill sets needed at the time.

The benefits to this model are immense, and include:

  1. The pricing is typically based on a retainer (subscription model), so you can pay a predictable fee and adjust up or down as needs change.
  2. You’re getting access to a whole team of professionals that can speak to security, compliance AND data privacy.
  3. You get to appoint a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) which gives you a ton of credibility with customers and prospects.
  4. Any decent scalable security team has a slew of certifications (CISSP, CISA, CISM, etc) that can be referenced to in security questionnaires.
  5. They have deep experience with a variety of cloud tools and don’t require nearly as much hand holding.

Scalable security teams can be effective with any business, but are especially impactful if yours is:

  • Leveraging cloud-based infrastructure (i.e. AWS, GCP, or Azure)
  • SaaS-based or a good portion of your business is technology-focused
  • Experiencing hyper growth, whether it’s consistent or completely unpredictable
  • Considering funding or have already received some sort of funding
  • Leveraging DevOps, Agile, and/or CD/CI engineering principles

Arguably the best part about your investment into a scalable security team over a traditional in-house professional (and even multiple professionals) is all the unique ways that you receive benefits, most of which positively impact the business as a whole rather than just specific technology-related departments. The benefits are vast, and can include:

  • Earning back precious time for your executives, engineers, and operational leaders to focus on building their rocket ship, or taking time off, or striking a better work-life balance.
  • Reducing guesswork and inherent risk on how to build a security program or meet obscure compliance requirements.
  • Saving significant investment costs incurred from implementing random technology or throwing hours at a misunderstood problem.
  • Providing due diligence support to funding rounds, valuation exercises, and mergers/acquisitions.
  • Achieving industry-leading certifications and attestations (SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.) that build your brand recognition and earn the respect of your security-conscious customers and prospects.

At this point, you’re probably thinking “Well why can’t I accomplish this with an in-house CISO or similar function?” It’s a fair question, and can only be answered effectively with a handy dandy comparison chart!

Description

Traditional CISO

Scalable Security Team

Prior experience from building security for dozens of other startups

Access to multiple security, compliance and privacy experts

Insight into bleeding-edge toolsets and procedures that are working (or not working) for companies just like yours

Access into an amazing partner network that includes discounts and special treatment (while remaining independent)

100% certification rate across dozens of audits

Reliable retention rates

If you’re still not convinced, then let’s consider it by the numbers:

Security/Compliance Needs

Internal Cost

Eden Data’s Cost

CISO w/ Compliance experience

$230,000

 

Security Analyst

$100,000

 

Project Manager

$90,000

 

Employee Benefits (based on 20% of base)

$66,000

 

Cloud Vulnerability Management Platform

$10,000

 

Annual Cost

$496,000

$50,000 - $250,000

 

The Numbers Just Make Sense

In our humble opinion, the finances alone very much swing in favor of a scalable security team.

Eden Data in particular has worked very hard to design an approach to security compliance and data privacy that was crowdsourced. This creates a much more advanced, more customized, streamlined, and cost-effective approach to solving the modern problems associated with hiring in-house or outsourcing to an antiquated consulting firm.

Think about it from this perspective: no matter how great a CISO, Compliance Manager, Security Analyst is, their experience is limited to the environments they have personally seen. Furthermore, if you are hiring a traditional consulting firm (we’re looking at you, Big 4!), they are taking on customers of all shapes and sizes. Couple that with their siloed approaches (most firms break security, compliance, and privacy into different departments) and their project-based strategy and it’s darn near impossible for them to handle any of your problems effectively or affordably.

Eden Data has a really nifty advantage in that we have had the great pleasure of building dozens of bleeding-edge security programs (hundreds if you count our previous experience) for amazing startups. Think of how many mistakes you’ve made and how many lessons you learned in your current position: imagine if you could multiply that wealth of knowledge by 100? We have internal playbooks in place to be able to record lessons learned and perpetually improve based on the information we gather across every single startup we serve.

Bonus Points: We are hyper obsessed with the startup market and are on a mission to serve 1000 cloud-based startups. Because of our goals and our ability to become masters of cloud-based environments specifically, we are very much mission-driven versus chasing every monetary opportunity that comes our way.

  • Are you convinced that scalable security teams are the future?
  • Do you have a ton of security/compliance questions and just need an expert to give you some answers?
  • Do you just need a guide to point you in the right direction with your current security program efforts?

Eden Data is here to nerd out on security/compliance/privacy any time, and we like to think we are pretty cool to talk to (anyone that uses this much neon HAS to be cool).

Contact us today at sales@edendata.com to take the first step in changing the way your business views cybersecurity leadership forever.

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About Taylor Hersom
Taylor Hersom builds world-class security programs for organizations who not only want to embrace cybersecurity but want to realize the benefits of putting data privacy first- from brand recognition to customer loyalty- while realizing substantial ROI. He was a security & compliance expert with Deloitte followed by a CISO for a technology firm where he built a security program from the ground up - catching the entrepreneurial bug. He has a keen understanding of cybersecurity & compliance as it relates to the next generation of companies who are predominantly de-centralized and cloud-centric. He serves as the security thought leader for multiple organizations globally and also as a Board Advisor for various startups. Taylor resides in Austin, TX and enjoys hiking with his four dog monsters, is never far from a book (or an entire stack), and is an avid connoisseur of lattes, which you can usually find him sipping in meetings. More By Taylor Hersom
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