Outsourcing ITO related services has saved tens of billions of dollars (and possibly more) for US corporations. In almost any case it is the trifecta of lower expenses, available skill sets and ability to scale up or down as needed which results in the adoption of an outsourcing strategy.
What is usually never part of the consideration is time to market (fear of loosing out) or a really pressing business need which necessitates the adoption of an outsourcing strategy.
Cyber security though is different though. For sure, lower expenses , available skills and the ability to scale are nice to have when it comes to Cyber Security...but what really separates Cyber Defense as an outsourcing strategy from the rest of the pack is that corporations feel a HUGE (!) need to address the issue as quickly as possible.
Simply stated....corporations feel like they are being overrun with cyber security related issues and they simply do not have the necessary skills and time to address it.
The need for Cyber Defense has created a bottle neck with a huge amounts of companies trying to get through the bottleneck in their attempt to access the services offered by so few professionals.
It is the perfect storm...and I can say that I have never seen a pent up demand for a particular service like this before.
A recent Intel Security report surveyed IT decision makers and reported that a whopping 82 % of the respondents are complaining about difficulties in their attempt to hire cyber Security professionals.
It should come therefor as no surprise that 60 % of the respondents are considering outsourcing some or all of their cyber defense needs. Considering the fact that cyber defense was really not on the radar until a few years ago...this is a rather stunning number.
The report is a rather fascinating read...and I encourage anyone with some stake in the cyber game to take a look at it. Download It Here
What might be the most important takeaway from all of it is that the issue will not go away anytime soon. Baring a rather revolutionary technical solution to Cyber Security this is an arms race which will go on.
As such it seems a fair guess that Cyber Security will stay on top of the priority list for outsourcing related services for years to come.
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For corporations which are new to the concept of outsourcing software development the mechanics of how to properly supervise and structure the dialogue between the onshore and offshore team might seem a bit intimidating at first.
Collaboration between the members of an In House team is rather simple...in most cases it is as simple as walking over to someone'd desk or just picking up the phone.
It is a bit more tricky (or so it seems) with an offshore team. Not only are the members of the team separated by 1000's of miles..they also often times are working on the other side of the clock with a limited ability to overlap work hours.
Consequently the question of how to collaborate is rather valid.
The single most importation item to collaborate a software development is the use of specific collaboration software which is used to supervise and structure the entire process. Using a proper coloration tool (assuming it is being used by the onshore and offshore team) will do wonders for the development.
There are plenty of software solutions out there which offer collaboration, some of them are even available free of charge. We use Active Collab for all of developments but there are plenty of other solutions available. (https://www.activecollab.com/)
A Software like Active Collab offers the ability to properly organize Task Management, Team Collaboration, Time Tracking and even the corresponding invoicing.
One important thing to remember...Active Collab or its peers is not a tool to control development. It is not being used to verify the work is actually being done. As such the users of the software are relying on proper reporting of hours worked on a voluntary basis.
There are specific tools available to supervise that alleged work is truly being done. I will address that in a separate blog post. (Hive Desk)
I have included some screenshots which displays some of the functionality of Active Collab.
A great way to gain a good understanding of what a software like Active Collab can do for you is to subscribe to a trial. Almost all of the vendors offer a free trial.
In order to provide you with a better understanding of some of the functionalities I have included five screenshots with explanations as to what is shown.
A snapshot of a task list is shown below. Developers work off the task list to move through the process. Typically each specific development step is assigned to a developer as part of the task list.
Once the task list is created the developers work off the task list and report their progress on the update page.
Separately the developer report the hours worked on each task. Assigned hours to a task and hours actually spent can then easily be reconciled
The developers report their progress and raise questions or issues as part of the daily discussion. The daily discussion is typically used to address technical issues.
The General Discussion area is where Top Level Discussion are being held. Management will use that to check in on the overall status of the development.