Choosing the Right Managed Security Services Partner

Choosing the Right Managed Security Services Partner

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Hwei Oh
4 min read
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The growing sophistication of cybersecurity threats means that investing in top-quality cyber protection is no longer an option but a necessity. However, budget constraints make this virtually impossible for many organizations, especially smaller ones to do in-house.

Managed security has emerged as a solution for organizations struggling to optimize their cybersecurity. With a managed security program, organizations can have top-of-the-line security for a fraction of the cost of assembling, integrating, and maintaining an internal program. That said, choosing the right managed security partner is crucial to ensure that your security investment works.

Here’s a short guide you can follow to help you partner with a managed security provider that’s right for your business.

Why having the right managed security partner is important

Not all managed security service providers (MSSPs) are created equally. While this is true, it is less a statement of quality and more a question of whether a provider is the correct fit.

Some managed security service providers specialize in specific sectors or business sizes, so organizations must find the one that’s right for them. A managed security service provider catering to larger businesses might overwhelm a small business while choosing a managed security provider specializing in a different sector might lead to a less desirable integration and worse outcomes when it comes to industry-specific requirements.

The wrong partnership can lead to inefficient use of resources—budget, time, etc.—and can also result in less overall protection for your organization.

Evaluating your managed security needs

When looking for a managed security services provider, evaluate your security needs by identifying your security gaps. You can start by:

  • Running vulnerability scans on your web-facing properties.
  • Interviewing employees to understand their level of understanding of common threats.
  • Evaluating what internal security policies are in place (if any).
  • Reviewing any incident response plans you have in place
  • List the number of external devices your organization is using and what security software currently exists on them.

This internal review will help you gain an understanding of your current limitations, such as budget, staff, and existing security measures. The knowledge will give you a strong starting point for determining what you need from a managed security provider and establish a baseline from which to measure success.

If you have the staff to handle it, a slightly more advanced version of the above would include:

  1. Conducting a comprehensive security assessment to uncover vulnerabilities in your network, systems, and applications.
  2. Reviewing existing security policies, procedures, and controls to find inadequacies.
  3. Evaluating staff awareness and training on cybersecurity best practices.
  4. Analyzing incident response capabilities.
  5. Assessing compliance with the relevant legal and industry security standards.
  6. Using automated scanning tools to determine your security posture.

Whether or not you have the available capabilities and tools to conduct this assessment is additional information you can use when considering a managed security services provider. A good managed security provider should be able to carry out this type of evaluation and also propose a plan of action that shores up any weak areas. If they’re unable to perform those two fundamental tasks, you might want to keep looking.

Selecting a managed security partner

Once you’ve established the gaps in your company’s security, you can more easily find the proper managed security provider. As mentioned previously, the managed security provider’s size and specialty with specific sectors plays a role.

Large companies such as AT&T, IBM, and Verizon offer security programs, but they may be too big for your business or lack the tailored approach a smaller managed security provider might offer.

You may also want to find a MSSP who specializes in highly regulated areas such as finance or health. This ensures they know how to address regulatory and compliance factors that are part of a cybersecurity strategy.

Other key factors include:

  • Pricing: Does the managed security provider offer transparent, easy-to-understand pricing?
  • 24/7 Support: Is the provider available all the time?
  • Communication: Is it easy to communicate with that provider?
  • Training: Does the provider offer training programs to help your employees learn about common attack vectors, such as phishing?
  • Vendor management: Will the managed security provider simplify vendor management? Will they act as a “broker” that leads you to different vendors, or will they adopt a single-vendor solution that frees you up from the complexities of multiple vendors?
  • References and client list: Can the managed security provider provide references and a client list that you can verify yourself?
  • Exit strategy: Are the exit terms clear in case the partnership doesn’t work out? Is there any sort of vendor lock-in involved, or could you quickly switch to another provider if you wanted to?
  • Incident response time: According to IBM’s cost of a data breach report, the longer it takes to respond to and resolve a data breach, the more expensive it becomes. What measures will the managed security provider implement to ensure swift response and recovery?

Managed security providers are a cybersecurity lifeline for many companies with fewer internal resources. As such, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the MSSP you choose. That feeling of ease is only possible when there is transparency on both sides. So, make sure there’s an open dialogue with the managed security provider you select. Being able to ask the right questions and receive clear-cut answers is a good sign that the provider is committed to having a strong partnership.

If you’re interested in learning how SolCyber can serve as a comprehensive managed security program provider, feel free to contact us for more information.

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Hwei Oh
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What it requires is practicality and reason.

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