Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is a mouthful, kind of like NECCO (New England Confectionery Company) but way more useful. Despite the practicality of managed security service providers, many people don’t actually know what they do or how much easier they could make your life. Thankfully, at RSI Security, we are security experts of all things complicated, especially relating to security and technology.
In this article we will take you through what MSSP programs do, how managed IT services function and whether or not your company would be improved by utilizing such services. In 2019, cybersecurity services can no longer be overlooked. The damage done by cyber attacks to companies, big and small, can be catastrophic, even fatal to a business.
However, that doesn’t mean that every managed security service provider or other managed service outsourcing are worthy investments. Understanding what their role is and how they can best advance your agenda is the key to getting the most out of your MSSP program.
What Are Managed Security Service Providers?
An MSSP program is essentially network security, which is administered by your internet provider. When it comes to cybersecurity, your defense begins with the impregnability of your network. Your internet connection is the first door of many for hackers to enter.
In the early stages of the internet, service providers would sell firewall appliances and other security tools as part of the service. Customers were then expected to set up their own security, using said security devices to protect their dial-up connection.
The days of dial-up internet have gone the way of the dinosaur, yet, many companies still cobble together their security through part-time employees, freelancers and, or full-time employees.
That being said, there is a massive market shift underway as more and more companies see the upside to managed service outsourcing. According to a 451 Research survey, which was sponsored by OPAQ Networks, 87% of IT security professionals planned to move to managed security service within the year.
Why Use a Managed Security Service Provider?
Clearly, with such overwhelming support, there must be a proven upside to choosing such services, as opposed to addressing your own cybersecurity in house. It’s also important to explore and learn about the different managed vulnerability services available. First and foremost, outsourcing your network security saves you money. 82% of respondents in the same IT survey reported that they dedicate 20-60 hours a week managing their security situation. Almost 75% said that they spend at least $178,000 annually and that’s just for mid-sized businesses.
A more significant concern for these businesses is that despite spending so much time and money on their security, they still don’t feel secure! According to Daniel Cummins, a researcher for 451, “The security challenge for mid-tier businesses is multi-dimensional. For these businesses, everything seems to be increasing — attack frequency, security and compliance requirements, complexity, costs, and the number of security products that need to be managed.”
It has become evident based on how common security breaches are that keeping a few part time contractors or even full-time employees isn’t enough to keep hackers at bay. It takes a village to raise a child and apparently an army of IT workers to keep your sensitive information and the information of your customers secure. The world has turned digital and that, unfortunately, includes crime. Looking at the cybercrime statistics can be a jarring and depressing act. According to a survey conducted by Carbonite, companies are getting hammered by cyber attacks and have little confidence that another one isn’t on the way. Here are a few of the numbers reported:
- 26 percent of organizations experienced ransomware attacks in 2016.
- 42 percent faced malware attacks and 40 percent were impacted by phishing.
- Of the surveyed IT pros, a majority said their company was currently not fully prepared to handle these growing security threats.
A major part of the problem, according to IT people, is the lack of time they are allotted to creating, innovating and modernizing the actual security technology. The vast majority of IT people’s time it turns out is dedicated to maintenance requests, paperwork and other menial but necessary tasks. According to a Spiceworks survey, “Only 11 percent of their time is spent on IT planning and strategy, and only 13 percent of their time is centered around what they want to do most: modernize technology.”
This time crunch is one of the biggest factors as to why many businesses are switching to MSSP programs. Having an in house IT department is great, but hiring enough people to cover the day to day and to keep your head above water with innovations coming fast and furious is very, very expensive.
The Wild Wild Web:
The internet, since its inception, has been a playground for those technically advanced. Setting rules and regulations for a cyber world without obvious delineations has been a challenge, to say the least, for the government and private sector alike. Today, there are more checks and balances than ever. However, there are more profitable opportunities and more hackers than ever to exploit them.
The rise in cybercrime is undeniable and so too, is the cost of damages from data breaches. A cursory google search unearths cyber breaches from every company under the sun and millions of dollars in cost. So many companies are switching to managed security service providers in an effort to protect themselves.
The bottom line: MSSP programs are more effective, efficient and have access to data protection technology that only a handful of specialized private firms also utilize. Cyber threat hunt operations, machine learning, artificial intelligence and dark web cyber threat intelligence are just a few of the advanced arsenal MSSPs utilize to keep your sensitive information secure. There’s also the added bonus of substantial cost effectiveness compared to an in house or third party security team. A 2017 NTT Security report found:
- “ Among business professionals who are currently using an MSSP, 31 percent said it is because of a lack of internal skills, and 27 percent indicated they want access to better technology.”
- “28 percent said they believe it is more cost-effective to outsource their security to an MSSP or other third-party security vendors.”
A Penny Saved:
We have touched briefly on how managed security service providers are more economical than in house cybersecurity teams or even third party contractors. That may seem like a pipe dream since we have already laid out how MSSPs are also, generally, more secure than their more expensive counterparts. It begs the question, how are MSSPs both more cost effective and more secure?
The answer comes down to automation, proper resources and having a singular dedicated goal. Managed security service providers entire reason for existence is to work around the clock to keep data secure. In house security teams run into the issue of not having enough manpower to simultaneously managed the minutiae of cybersecurity and the advanced technical tinkering that is required to fend off the sophisticated attacks of hackers.
MSSPs are able to field an army of techs to cover all the bases of cybersecurity. They also have the added advantage of incredibly large and powerful computing clouds that grants them impressive technological capabilities that very few in house security teams can match. These “cyber soldiers” also have untold hours of security and education awareness training that they put to good use to create customized security protocols and advanced security measures designed especially for your company.
The progress with cloud computing also enables these companies to design, evaluate and remotely monitor your cybersecurity around the clock. Can you imagine the cost of paying for a single security tech 24/7? With an MSSP, 24 hour security is a given, not an egregious expensive cost of doing businesses.
Understanding In House Limitations:
For some monolithic companies like Google or Facebook, the cost of creating a large battalion of people all dedicated to security is a rounding error. However, that is not a realistic expectation or one that is remotely pragmatic. By outsourcing your security needs to a reliable MSSP, a company can concentrate on their core business, which is what will ultimately decide the long term outlook of the company.
In the new world of continual unrelenting cybercrime, MSSPs can also allay the worries of investors who increasingly demand transparency. Such calls for sharing of detailed security plans have become more and more common as investors see the potential damage done by security breaches.
The laundry list of companies that have lost millions in damages and even more in negative publicity has grown long enough that investors need to know that the issue of cybersecurity has been adequately addressed. In 2014 a security breach ran Target over $200 million. In the same year, Sony lost $40 million. In 2017, Equifax estimated their damages in the $300 million range.
You might think that these are outlier cases, but the fact is data breaches happen at an alarming rate. All you need to do is look at this Wikipedia list of all data breaches. It’s longer than a day at the DMV. Also, consider this report by CyberCrime Ventures, which estimates the cost of cybercrime to be 6.1 trillion by 2021!
Evidently, whatever the cost of quality security, it pales in comparison to the potential damage that can be done by hackers. The last thing businesses need is another giant issue to address on a daily basis. The world of commerce is cut throat enough without having to add more complications and security risks.
Understanding What Cybersecurity Is Up Against:
The number one problem companies run into relating to cybersecurity is not understanding how it works or the enormity of the problem. For many companies, there is a natural dissonance between decision makers and IT people. It, sometimes, stems from decision makers not being conversant in the language of tech and IT people not adequately painting the picture.
Often, security responsibilities fall on the CIO but placing cybersecurity on a single person’s shoulders is a classic mistake. Malcolm Marshall, Global Head of Cyber Security at KPMG, discusses a common communication gap, “The CIO has a very important role, but as more businesses use digital as their route to the customer, they are not always engaging with cybersecurity experts.” Marshall believes most senior executives don’t appreciate the complexity and compliance requirements of their security policies and technology infrastructure.
A KPMG survey of 1,200 chief executives aptly portrays the lack of true preparedness. According to the survey, “Half of the CEOs say they are fully prepared for a future cyber event. Yet, results revealed that only half of CEOs had appointed a cybersecurity executive or team, and less than half had changed internal processes, such as data-sharing.” Supposedly half are ready, yet another half has yet to implement some of the most basic security protocols.
The age old adage of “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” relevant for any business not properly addressing cybersecurity. This is true not only for giant corporations with stacks of vital information but the mom and pop store around the corner.
Hackers don’t discriminate. Just about every business has potentially valuable information, especially if the information is just sitting there for the taking. No longer can the argument be made that a business was blindsided by a data breach. The threat of cyber criminals is well documented and the public has little sympathy for any dereliction of security.
To recap, a managed security service provider is a company that can provide advanced cybersecurity services alongside other basic internet, network, and IT needs. This type of security is quickly growing in popularity as they offer a number of advantages and service offerings. The growth and innovation in cloud computing allows these giants to provide such security remotely. First, they provide technological and human manpower that is impossible for the majority of businesses to match.
They also offer those professional services and expertise at a fraction of what it would cost for a business to do themselves. Combining superior security at a more cost effective price has proven to be a successful business model. For companies looking for more information on MSSPs and cybersecurity solutions, contact RSI Security or check out RSI’s managed security services today.