Outsourcing security saves Texas hospital $1 million

By John Andrews
12:00 AM

The Harris County Hospital District in Texas solved two problems with one phone call when it outsourced its IT security management to local contractor Alert Logic. Not only did the move save the healthcare system nearly $1 million in labor costs, it simultaneously boosted its internal network protection.

The ever-mounting threat of intruders, combined with growing technology expenditures over the past five years caused the hospital to roughly double its security expenses to between $600,000 and $700,000, said CIO Tim Tindle. At that point, something had to change, he said, so he scouted around for options.

“We worked hard to find ways to save money,” Tindle said. “We settled on outsourcing our intrusion detection needs to Alert Logic rather than continuing to manage it in-house.”

Alert Logic considers itself similar to Brinks Security in that it guards the inner sanctum of the computer network – what Vice President of Marketing Chris Smith calls “the third layer” of protection.

“Just about all networks have perimeter security such as a firewall, which serves as the outer moat,” Smith said. “Most also have a second layer, which is desktop or endpoint security, such as anti-spam, anti-spyware and anti-virus software.

“The problem with those two layers,” Smith continued, “ is that they offer no protection against worms that exploit system vulnerabilities. So we offer a third level of protection that detects and stops intruders that slip by layers one and two. It also identifies intruders from inside the organization who are trying to access information they’re not authorized to see.”

Security outsourcing recently got a boost from Palo Alto, Calif.-based research firm Frost & Sullivan in a report from its Stratecast Partners division. The study, titled “Bridging the Gap between Effective Internal Network Security and Cost,” found that farming out IT security services can generate savings in the hundreds of thousands for large facilities and that even small organizations can save upwards of $100,000 in cumulative costs over a period of years.

“There is no doubt that the nature of network security has permanently changed and perimeter defenses are no longer sufficient,” said Michael Suby, research program manager at Stratecast Partners. “Companies – especially small and mid-sized firms – are scrambling to protect themselves with the volume of threats growing every day. When conducting a side-by-side evaluation, businesses can see that the cost savings of using an on-demand service are significant.”

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