Today’s Cyber Crime Requires a Strategic Partnership with a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)
Over the last several decades, the run-of-the-mill computer hacker has evolved into a global, sophisticated, multi-million dollar cyber criminal industry. As a result, the simple firewalls that used to protect organizations have had to mature alongside.
The most effective cybersecurity systems today are those that can not only respond to incidents quickly and effectively but are able to constantly monitor both endpoint devices and network environments for any potential threats. Simply having a few tools or pieces of software is simply no longer enough. In fact, the most effective security systems are those that are managed through strategic partnerships between companies and expert managed security service providers (MSSPs) who can add value by continuously improving the security posture of your business. By working together to design a cybersecurity program that’s customized to the specific business issues of that organization, such a partnership provides the greatest defense against bad actors and cyber crime.
What Is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)?
A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is a business that specializes in providing cybersecurity services to its clients. Besides managing cybersecurity events, an MSSP maintains an up-to-date suite of cybersecurity tools and handles ongoing maintenance of those tools to ensure their detection capabilities are maintained.
Because cyber criminals are always seeking new ways to infiltrate networks and devices, avoid detection, and do as much damage as possible, today’s businesses require 24x7x365 monitoring. By staying ahead of these bad actors, an MSSP can identify potential vulnerabilities and threats before a great deal of damage is done, vastly improving a company’s security posture.
MSSP vs MSP: Does the Difference Matter?
While a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) seem very similar, these two types of organizations are often significantly different.
MSPs are interested in providing services for the broader information technology environment and are frequently used by small to medium-sized businesses. These organizations may manage the overall IT infrastructure, provide technical support, handle user accounts and offer compliance and risk management.
MSSPs, on the other hand, focus specifically on cybersecurity. They go far beyond implementing firewalls and anti-virus software by providing threat mitigation, around-the-clock monitoring and triage, security across a broad range of environments (including in the cloud), and other sophisticated security expertise to deliver a comprehensive network and device security service.
Partnering with the right MSSP can generate many advantages for a company. Although not all third-party solution providers will offer the same services, it’s important to understand the potential benefits that the right partner may be able to provide.
- Ongoing Monitoring. One of the most important benefits of engaging an MSSP partner is to have 24/7 monitoring of your environment.
- Event Detection. An experienced MSSP will be able to successfully detect suspicious events as soon as they occur on your network or devices.
- Alert Review. Being able to sift out true threats from false positives is an important skill that can save a great deal of time and money.
- Prioritization. Along the same lines, those events that must be elevated to high alerts need to be done so quickly.
- Investigation. An MSSP must be able to immediately initiate an appropriate investigation into those top priorities and identify vulnerabilities and threats.
- Mitigate. After threat detection, your MSSP should be able to rapidly mitigate them to minimize any damage or halt further network compromise.
- Up-to-date Knowledge. Ideally, your partner stays one step ahead of bad actors and understands potential security threats before they do.
- Software and Tool Configuration. Ensuring that all your software and tools designed to protect you from cybercrime stay up to date can be a full-time job. An MSSP should successfully manage that process.
- Maintenance and Management. By partnering with an expert MSSP, you can rest assured that they will be managing your cybersecurity tools around the clock, freeing your team to manage mission critical IT responsibilities.
What Can an Advanced MSSP Strategy Do for Your Cybersecurity Posture?
While many MSSPs may be able to deliver these services, you may want to seek a partner that offers an even more advanced MSSP strategy. The best MSSP partners take the time to understand your particular business’s overall strategy, technical environment, and critical security needs first. Then, they make recommendations to improve your security posture or customize their comprehensive cybersecurity offerings to meet those specific needs.
Every business is different, and the cybersecurity needs of a financial institution will be different than those of a hospital. Developing a strong, strategic partnership with your MSSP will improve the detection capability of security events in your environment while yielding many other long-term benefits. If you’re considering moving in this direction, be sure that your selected partner:
- Has the skills and expertise to recommend the best tools, strategy, and approach to improve your security posture.
- Takes the time to learn and understand the intricacies of your business and your unique security issues.
- Can utilize next-generation endpoint tools and other state-of-the art cybersecurity tools that provide the best detection and protection capabilities.
For example, by taking the time to understand your business needs and technical environment, one advanced MSSP strategy may be to recommend to limit access to your environment within specific geographic operating regions. This allows your partner to better monitor those security events that may be the greatest threat while minimizing the number of false positives. This strategy directs resources to the most likely areas of threat, which can mean great protection, and faster overall resolution and mitigation.
What to Look for in Your MSSP Partnership
Before embarking on a partnership with an MSSP provider, be sure you understand exactly what you are seeking. Here is a list of basic services that you may want to consider:
- SOC service that includes monitoring, detection, analysis, and incident response
- Advanced Cybersecurity Tools including EDR/Next-gen A/V, Cloud Service Monitoring, DNS Monitoring
- Cybersecurity Platform Engineering
- Phishing Email Response and Cybersecurity User Awareness Training
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Threat Intelligence and Threat Hunting
- Cybersecurity Customer Success Manager
A partner that can offer a full suite of services can help you determine which ones will be most beneficial for your organization. You may want to consider supplementing your MSSP service with a vCISO service as well, further strengthening your security posture. This service can help you focus on your businesses key security strategies and policies that may be necessary to fill current gaps and develop a stronger security culture.
[redacted]: A Powerful MSSP For You
Working with a managed security services provider like [redacted] connects your organization with a partner second-to-none. Not only will you access our top MSSP professionals, but you will be able to tap into our entire organization including our incident response team and threat intelligence experts.
We bring decades of experience from both private and public sectors, including federal government security expertise, to the table. As a result, our advanced MSSP services can be specifically formulated to protect your business’s unique security needs.
We stand at the ready to protect your critical assets with sophisticated, informed cybersecurity security services. Contact us today to learn more.
Based in New Zealand and with over 20 years of IT experience, Tim is responsible for the strategy and operations of the Managed Security Services (MSS) business at [redacted]. The MSS business provides cybersecurity services, including SOC security event monitoring and incident response. Prior to joining [redacted], Tim held leadership roles at a variety of IT companies, including Datacom, Wex, and Mako Networks.