Sash Vasilevski from Security Centric explains why businesses should employ MSSPs as part of their cyber security strategy.
With the IT security landscape constantly evolving, many businesses struggle to find and retain people with the knowledge and skills required to counter threats.
Often, responsibility for security is simply handed to the existing IT team, making it one more thing on their already crowded to-do list. They’re expected to stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals while also managing all other technology aspects within the organisation. It’s a tough ask.
For this reason, rather than retaining a large IT team in-house, some businesses opt to make use of a managed service provider (MSP). Acting as an extension of internal resources, an MSP can offer support and assistance with anything from servers and client devices to networks and cloud resources.
However, things are different when it comes to security. Threats are changing so quickly that it requires specialist knowledge and experience to keep up. To be fully protected, a business needs access to these specialists who can offer advice and guidance and ensure suitable protective measures are in place.
Such support can be delivered by a managed security service provider (MSSP). These organisations have built a team of experienced IT security specialists who are fully trained in the latest tools and strategies.
The benefits of an MSSP
There are six key reasons why using an MSSP to complement an MSP or in-house IT team makes business sense:
- Depth of expertise
To achieve effective IT security, an organisation needs access to individuals who have appropriate certification and training as well as real-world experience. It’s not sufficient to simply use an IT generalist as they are unlikely to provide the level of security guidance and support that a business requires.
- Breadth of expertise
The technology landscape comprises a range of complex components, each of which requires particular knowledge and skills. A business needs subject-matter experts who can cover everything from IT strategy to Windows servers, networking, IaaS, SaaS, database security, applications, APIs and endpoints. When you add security to this mix, things become even more challenging.
Indeed, many businesses simply won’t have the resources required to support a team with all these skills. Also, it can be tough for in-house staff to maintain their skills in what is a rapidly evolving area. Even if such a team can be created, knowledge and skills quickly go out of date, potentially exposing the business to risk.
A better approach is to make use of the skills offered by an MSSP which has staff totally focused on security and on the steps needed to enhance it.
- Experience multiplication
MSSP staff also apply their skills across multiple organisations, which helps them to remain sharp and be aware of how different infrastructures need to be protected. Other clients can benefit from this experience which will simply not be available from an in-house team.
- Removing conflict of interest
Some MSPs claim to be able to also handle an organisation’s IT security, however it’s highly unlikely they’ll have the depth or breadth of skill required to do this effectively. Just because you are interested in something doesn’t mean you have the expertise to do it.
Having both an MSP and an MSSP allows a clear demarcation of responsibilities and ensures an MSP has no conflict of interest when it comes to protecting their position. Each party can add value to the client in pre-agreed ways.
- Access to platforms that are ready to be consumed
An MSSP can provide clients with access to hosted platforms that are already fully functional. This can remove the need for an organisation to invest significant capital in tools and hardware which then needs to be deployed, configured and maintained.
- Economies of scale
The adage "don’t reinvent the wheel" is particularly relevant when looking at managed IT security. If a business opts to use a managed SEIM provided by an MSSP, for example, they can essentially remove around 80 per cent of the effort required to have it operational. Because the platform is shared by multiple clients, just the final 20 per cent will need to be configured for each client’s particular circumstances.
For these reasons, making use of an experienced MSSP can deliver significant value to a business. They can be confident they are receiving the best possible advice on security and have in place the software and services needed to ward off threats.
In this way, cyber security can become an enabler rather than an inhibitor and support a business as it grows and evolves.
Sash Vasilevski is the principal at Security Centric.