When companies look for a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP), they should look at the process in the same way as hiring an employee. Unfortunately, very few do. These providers will be responsible for protecting an organization’s digital assets, just as a cybersecurity employee. Shouldn’t the same level of scrutiny apply?
Before talking to an MSSP, companies should determine what they need in the same way they outline what they want in an employee. Organizations should look at:
Once companies outline what they are looking for, they can begin their search for an MSSP. Businesses should consider a provider’s ability to deliver the following.
Although the shortage of cybersecurity personnel declined during 2020, the worldwide cybersecurity skills gap remains at 3.1 million unfilled job openings. For Canada, the number of unfilled positions is over 15,000. Any recent decrease in the skills gap is attributed to organizations investing in improving the skills of existing employees.
Unfortunately, many small- to mid-sized businesses find hiring additional staff to be cost-prohibitive as salaries continue to climb, given the worldwide shortage. Smaller organizations also have more difficulty providing ongoing training for technical staff. They cannot afford the lost time while an employee is in training, or they lack the financial resources to encourage ongoing education.
Over 50% of companies believe the skills gap places them at risk for a cyberattack. MSSPs should have the technical expertise to address current and projected cybersecurity concerns. They should expand in-house capabilities to cover the complexities of cyberspace and offer training to raise the skill level of in-house IT staff.
It’s no longer enough to defend against a cyberattack. Organizations must aggressively look for possible threats. According to IBM, malicious software is in place approximately 280 days before it is discovered. That means those hackers have been inside your system for months, worming their way into secure locations and extracting digital assets.
MSSPs with threat detection capabilities operate under the assumption that bad actors have already compromised a system. They are constantly looking for possible entry points to protect against cyberattacks. Providers should use available tools to scan systems automatically. The process needs to happen 24/7 to stay ahead of bad actors. Once collected, MSSPs should have the expertise to analyze the data to improve security.
Although more than half of companies felt they handled the move to remote work effectively, they still worry that the expanded network is not secure. Given that most conversions were completed in seven to ten days, the security posture could not be adequately checked. In some instances, that process has yet to be performed.
Many organizations viewed a less robust security environment as temporary, expecting to return to the office within weeks. That didn’t happen. Instead, companies are looking at staff working from home, either part- or full-time, for the foreseeable future. That means those stop-gap measures need to be reevaluated to protect a hybrid workforce. MSSPs should have experience in non-traditional security practices. Whether it is remote, distributed, or hybrid, the off-premise workforce must have the same level of security as on-premise staff.
Remote workers are not the only endpoints that require strong security. With more companies deploying sensors, wearable devices, and IoT devices, security networks extend beyond the traditional firewall. MSSPs should have experience in devising networks that are as secure at the edge as they are behind the firewall.
Proactive MSSPs analyze the data received from their cybersecurity tools to provide insights into how a system is working and where security needs to be strengthened. They also use that information in conjunction with industry reports, trends, and best practices to continuously improve cybersecurity. They should have the ability to leverage their security knowledge and company-specific data to deliver actionable insights.
Although organizations need data to make decisions, they also need the ability to interpret that data. With the volume of data coming from multiple sources, it is easy to become overwhelmed, leading to the “wall of worry.” The wall happens when there is so much information that staff is afraid they have missed something crucial. With MSSPs, companies can eliminate that wall.
MSSPs should partner with companies to ensure they can adapt to changing circumstances without disruption. That requires a business continuity plan that encompasses disaster recovery scenarios as well as cybersecurity compromises. The first step in a plan is determining how and when to perform backups. It is also crucial to determine how to store backups on- and off-site. Cybercriminals have become sophisticated enough to compromise backups that are maintained locally.
Recent events have taught everyone that business disruption comes in many forms and that having a plan in place to address them can be the key to survival. Finding an MSSP that has experience and capabilities to assist in business continuity is essential. No organization is exempt from disruption.
People are the first and last lines of defence. With over 60% of cyberattacks coming through phishing or social engineering, keeping employees informed on cyber threats is essential to preventing a possible compromise. MSSPs should have the expertise to train individuals on what to look for and how to defend against a possible attack. They can work with in-house IT staff to develop more effective security procedures.
Employees are the last line of defence only if they have been properly trained to identify suspicious activity and report it. If it isn’t reported, it can’t be mitigated. Without knowledge, employees cannot assist in protecting corporate assets. MSSPs should be part of the process that strengthens the human element of security.
Compunet InfoTech specializes in cybersecurity services. Whether it is Dark Web or Endpoint protection, we have solutions to meet your needs. Our 30 years of experience in the greater Vancouver area has shown us how to strengthen the cybersecurity posture of Canadian businesses. To learn more about what a managed security services provider can do for your company, contact us for a consultation.
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