Assume for a moment that you’re the CFO of a business. One of your most important responsibilities is to protect the business’s bottom line; not an easy task, given the growing threat fraud represents.
High-profile data breaches, information skimming and phishing tactics, a growing network of vulnerable IoT-enabled devices, and lax attitudes toward consumer security have fueled online criminal activity.
Identity fraud attacks increase by 8% between 2016 and 2017, while account takeovers exploded during the same period, with losses increasing more than 100% to $5.1 billion.
Altogether, fraud represents an average liability of $15.5 million per merchant…about 8% of total revenue.
That realization is leading a lot of CFOs to ask whether they might be better-off looking outside their organization for solutions.
Why Would It Be Better to “Buy” a Solution?
There are four key concerns to help determine whether in-house or outsourced fraud prevention is the best answer: cost, adaptability, intelligence, and effectiveness. You might assume an in-house solution would offer the best of each attribute—or at least enough of each to make it the better option—but that’s not necessarily true.
Internal teams can be difficult to scale, especially as fraud is not a consistent threat throughout the year. Fraud can spike suddenly, and your in-house team might not be agile enough to respond, which means more cash lost to attackers.
Going with a third-party means consistent, predictable costs, even as you grow. Plus, outsourced solutions provide greater transparency on real financial impact; with in-house teams, you might not know how much you’re really spending relative to what you recover.
By hiring a third-party service, you get a clearly-projected ROI, backed by accountability. A good service provider offers in-depth, easy-to-understand reporting to demonstrate their effectiveness. If they do not meet projections, you know where responsibility lies.
Lastly, in-house teams can have a more intimate understanding of your organization but may lack the specified expertise of a dedicated fraud prevention service. While your internal fraud department understands your business, third-party services have a broader perspective regarding fraud. They can identify and address trends that an in-house team might not be equipped to handle.
Maximizing Your Efforts
Remember: it doesn’t have to be a choice between one or the other. I’d advise businesses to adopt the most effective strategy, which might call for keeping some processes in-house while outsourcing others.
At present, 43% of CFOs surveyed say they are “very likely” to outsource at least part of their fraud prevention. That figure jumps to 69%, though, if you look at just eCommerce merchants. That’s because CFOs are uniquely positioned within their businesses to understand the benefits of maximizing their fraud prevention efforts.
An in-house team can leverage their intimate understanding of the organization, while third-party providers offer specialized expertise. For example, you may be able to audit PCI compliance and conduct manual reviews on your own but need to outsource your chargeback management or fraud scoring.
To help decide what might be better handled by an outside service provider, try asking the following:
- What can a provider guarantee in terms of revenue?
- What data does a service provider require?
- What new data can they produce?
- Do you require constant assistance, or just “on-demand” help?
- Are there client testimonials available?
- Would adding a vendor help transition to new technologies and industry developments?
- How dynamic and adaptable is a third-party solution to your specific business?
If you do your research and find you’d be better-off to outsource your entire fraud solution, then that would be the best option. Likewise, if a balance of in-house solutions and outsourced fraud targeting would produce a better return, then that’s the right answer.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for fraud and risk mitigation; instead, always go for whatever will offer the best bang for your buck.
Monica Eaton-Cardone is an entrepreneur and business leader with expertise in technology, e-Commerce, risk relativity and payment-processing solutions. She is COO of Chargebacks911 and CIO of its parent company Global Risk Technologies.
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