Industry Trends

Security Trends: Managed Security Service Providers

By Stephan Tallent | July 06, 2016

Small and large businesses alike are struggling to meet their need for better, faster, more cost-effective cybersecurity. With the unemployment rate for security professionals extremely low (less than 1 percent in some cities), a company’s prospect of finding – and then keeping – security talent is daunting. At the same time, the threat landscape is becoming unmanageable. According to a January 2016 Ponemon Institute© research report1, improved hacking tools have made it easier, faster, and less expensive for hackers to execute successful targeted attacks against companies. And unsurprisingly, targeted, persistent attacks are on the rise. Regulatory compliance requirements are also affecting more businesses each year. And meanwhile, today’s cybercriminals are well financed, with an organizational capacity that rivals a Fortune 500 company, meaning they have an increased capacity to build and deliver custom, sophisticated attacks designed specifically to evade detection.

As a result, organizations across the globe are turning to managed security service providers (MSSPs) to fill their security skills gap. These firms offer security hardware and expertise as an operating expense, which provides businesses of all sizes a cost-effective, amortized security solution. Additional benefits of MSSPs include:

  • Enabling your IT department to focus on their core competencies: A managed service approach allows companies to meet the breadth and depth of security needs while maintaining IT support across other areas of the business.
  • Reducing issues with obsolete technology: Capital expense is another costly component to securing the enterprise. Security technology changes fast. As network speeds increase, so do firewall performance requirements, creating a hardware arms race that is costly and difficult to maintain. Through an MSSP, you can upgrade hardware as needed without excessive capital expense.
  • Accessing top security talent how and when you need them: Due to their specialization, MSSPs are in a position to provide highly skilled engineers, properly configured technology, and around-the-clock monitoring and management to mitigate risks.
  • Meeting regulatory compliance with professional help: MSSPs commonly specialize in meeting various compliance regulations for the protection of customer data, and can guide you through the process and how it affects your business.

Not all MSSPs are the same, however. The following are key questions to ask when selecting a provider:

  • Is your team continually trained on the latest security issues and trends?

Ideally, a provider will employ professionals who already have a background in managed security services. In addition, you will want to know that they have the most up-to-date industry knowledge of threats, solutions, and technologies.

  • Do you provide end-to-end security?

While many security point solutions offer some integration with other point solutions, a fabric approach to security enables deeper, more comprehensive security that can detect and defend against incidents anywhere across your enterprise. A fabric approach also provides integrated reporting, which gives you a much better picture of your threat landscape.

  • Can you ensure uniform device management across all locations?

Multi-device management is key in this age of the Internet of Things. Be sure that you’ll have a clear picture of what’s being done to secure your business across all your locations and all your devices.

  • What optional services are available?

Some providers offer a “one stop shop” approach to physical and cyber security, with services like network connectivity, video surveillance, and physical and logical access controls.

  • How do you incorporate threat intelligence into your managed service?

Threat intelligence made actionable is the best way to stop cyberattackers. Shared threat intelligence or aggregated threat feeds make an MSSP that much more effective.


1. Flipping the Economics of Attacks, Ponemon Institure©, January 2016