Today’s information security landscape grows more and more complex, and the costs of suffering a data breach or ransomware attack grow ever higher. Many mid-market businesses are looking for better, more comprehensive ways to keep themselves secure.
A managed security services provider, or MSSP, can offer a level of security expertise and performance that many mid-market firms cannot produce internally, making the MSSP model an attractive option.
In this guide, learn how this model works and what you can expect should you choose it.
Managed security services providers, or MSSPs, are outside companies offering technology solutions centred on cybersecurity. Just as a managed IT services provider (MSP) provides a range of managed IT support, an MSSP offers a broad range of IT security services.
While the specific offerings vary from provider to provider, below are the most common general categories of managed security services the typical managed IT security firm offers.
Security information and event management (SIEM) is the discipline of detecting threats by collecting data on and analysing both threats and security incidents. SIEM generates significant amounts of data, creating a resource challenge for many businesses.
An MSSP handles SIEM for your business with a combination of powerful tools and human intelligence, freeing up your bandwidth and delivering actionable information.
Most mid-market and larger organisations should utilise a security operations centre (SOC) model, where a dedicated group analyses cybersecurity data, including that generated by SIEM. Where SIEM detects and alerts, the SOC team and makes decisions about cybersecurity approach.
But here again, the costs and specialisations required to run an SOC internally can be prohibitive or distracting. An MSSP provider serves this role, functioning as your SOC, creating the relevant responses to any security events.
Many MSSP providers offer co-management options, where your business and the MSSP work together to manage elements such as SIEM and SOC. If your business has already invested in cybersecurity infrastructure and staffing, you may prefer to work with a firm willing to enter into a co-management agreement.
Cybersecurity is more than simply identifying and responding to threats. At a more foundational level, cybersecurity must include strategy and a roadmap for implementing new or additional security tools and layers. But before the road-mapping process can begin, an organisation must understand its current cybersecurity readiness.
Managed IT security services partners generally start with such a cybersecurity assessment, identifying a business’s current state of readiness as well as any vulnerabilities that must be addressed. Then, in partnership with the client organisation, an MSSP will build out a cybersecurity roadmap that shows which steps to take to reach a more fully protected state.
Data practices are increasingly regulated, even more so in certain industries such as healthcare, finance, and government. The results of a cybersecurity breach are even more troubling when considering compliance: not only could your business suffer operational and reputational harm, you may be found in violation of data regulations.
A managed security services provider will assist in building an approach to data, security, compliance & governance that is compliant with relevant regulations, keeping your business safer from compliance-related enforcement actions and other concerns.
IT security is vital in preventing a cyberattack from damaging your business and in growing your cyber resiliency (how well you can respond if you do experience an attack). Such attacks can cause immeasurable damage: financial, operational, reputational, and more.
It’s simply not an option any longer for your business to go unprotected. The stakes are too high.
For many mid-market organisations, running a comprehensive information security program internally is difficult. It’s difficult to hire enough highly specialised employees to set up the framework, do the work, and maintain the systems. Even knowing what skills to hire for is a difficult feat.
Consider these reasons why an MSSP provider is a sensible choice for mid-market organisations like yours.
As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. And if you don’t know it, you certainly can’t protect against it.
The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing, with new threats and new threat vectors everywhere you turn. Your internal team can protect your business from the threats it knows about. But how confident are you that your team has the resources, training, and bandwidth to stay abreast of every emerging threat?
An MSSP steps in and provides a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment, identifying both internal and external vulnerabilities and creating a plan to resolve them.
If as a business you are undecided about working with an MSSP, this is a wise place to start: contract with an MSSP to conduct this sort of assessment, and compare their results with your internal team’s work. Usually, the MSSP identifies significant vulnerabilities that a business’s internal team missed. If this happens for you, you’ll instantly prove the value of bringing in a partner.
The compliance and governance landscape is equally complex and can become a significant resource drain. Even if your organisation is doing everything properly, the time and resources required to demonstrate that compliance can be problematic.
Similarly, many organisations at the mid-market size recognise the need for digital transformation, including cybersecurity transformation, but they lack the depth of knowledge and firm leadership skills to chart this course. An MSSP does this work for multiple clients yearly and can leverage their experience for your business’s benefit.
Identifying threats is only the first step. Both threats and intelligence data must be managed: that is, collected, processed, analysed, and turned into actionable recommendations.
It is common for mid-market firms to lack these capabilities (due to the budgetary and skill gap concerns just below). But there’s little point in having threat detection if a business cannot analyse and respond to those threats.
Working with an MSSP delivers this crucial missing capability.
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Staffing an internal IT department is an expensive endeavour. Doing it right requires hiring for countless disciplines, skills, and specialisations, some of which you may need only occasionally (but need nonetheless).
Often there simply is not enough budget to fill out an entire well-staffed IT department. In such cases, working with an MSSP — often at a cost lower than internally staffing the same functions — is both a budgetary and a logistical win.
Even when an organisation has the budget and infrastructure in place to hire for cybersecurity, the hiring landscape makes this a difficult and time-consuming process. There simply aren’t enough specialists to go around, especially in highly adaptive fields like information security.
One way to sidestep this skills gap or hiring gap is to contract with a vendor for the capabilities you’re lacking. Because IT and cybersecurity are the business focus of an MSP (or MSSP), they have more focus on hiring for these roles than does the HR or recruiting division at a typical mid-market firm.
Your firm may be doing quality work already in IT, governance, compliance, and cybersecurity. Even still, the landscape shifts quickly, with new threats and vulnerabilities popping up nearly every day.
A cybersecurity uplift builds on the work you’ve already done, identifying needed areas of improvement and previously unknown vulnerabilities.
Despite the many challenges we’ve described already, most mid-market firms have some form of existing IT apparatus. It may not be comprehensive. It may be short staffed or under-skilled. But the existing team does good work in the areas it has been assigned to prioritise.
If this sounds like your situation, partnering with an MSSP provider is the ideal way to strengthen your existing IT team, allowing them to regain focus on their core skill areas rather than permanently operate stretched too thin.
A managed IT security services provider can absorb much of the day-to-day workload from your existing IT team as well, freeing your in-house team to strategize and execute on higher-level initiatives. This approach often relies on a firm that can offer managed IT services more generally, not just security services. But many quality firms — us included — offer both.
Perhaps your firm realises that IT simply is not a core competency and wishes to offload all IT support and security needs. With a provider operating at sufficient scale, an all-in-one solution is an option.
Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) offers fully customisable packages that can include managed services, managed IT services, and many more offerings. Whatever your organisational needs look like, we can build a service package that fits your unique needs.
Once your team decides to partner with an MSSP, one crucial question remains: how do you go about selecting the right one?
First, look for an MSSP that is aligned with your organisation. Some MSSPs cater to specific industries, while others take a more generalist approach. It’s important to align on this point, so be sure to ask any prospective MSSP for example clients and testimonials in your field.
Second, look for a firm that is both comprehensive enough in its offerings and yet flexible enough to meet your unique needs. Some MSSPs try to fit customers into an existing mould in an effort to save time. But others take the time to learn your business and customise their approach to fit your needs.
Third, choose an MSSP with the depth and experience to truly meet your needs. Smaller, boutique firms may claim to offer a higher level of service, but do they have the depth to resolve your incidents and to stay on the bleeding edge of the cybersecurity landscape?
CBS is a strategic partner with the size and scale to support your business in numerous facets of your IT and security. CBS is a leading managed service provider throughout ANZ but is more than a mere MSP. CBS offers a wide range of additional services, including managed security services, vulnerability management, cloud transformation, IT consulting, Data recovery, and more.
When you’re ready to gain the managed security services expertise you need, CBS is here for you. Reach out to our team to get started.
CBS is one of Australia’s most highly accredited Cybersecurity services organisations. We’re proud to be among the few Australian MSSPs in the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association (MISA), which means we can better defend you against a world of increasing cyber threats. CBS is one of the few MSSP’s holding three Azure Advanced Security Specialisations, across Identity & Access Management, Cloud Security and Threat Protection. We know whats required to safeguard your organisation today.