As modern enterprises continue to face a constantly evolving and increasingly complex cyber threat landscape, many are turning to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) to take charge of their security posture.
One of the primary factors driving the demand for MSSPs is the rate at which cyber threats are increasing – both in frequency and sophistication. This makes it particularly difficult for organisations to stay up-to-date with the constantly evolving threats that target their interconnected IT ecosystems as they try to safeguard their sensitive data.
Coupled with this is the fact that there is generally a global shortage of skills within the cybersecurity space. This skills dearth is further compounded by the complex nature of the modern cyber threat landscape, which places tremendous pressure on cybersecurity specialists.
Because cybersecurity is such a massive field these days, for an organisation to effectively protect its IT ecosystem from bad actors, it would have to hire a team of security experts to look after every component of its security infrastructure. This includes everything from hardware to external-facing to media – and this would require each team member to be a professional in a specific area of security. This means companies would essentially have to spend huge amounts of money to retain multiple skills, which is simply not affordable or sustainable.
Peace of mind
On the other hand, MSSPs can provide a managed service and the requisite skills for a monthly retainer, giving organisations the peace of mind that their security needs are taken care of by professionals with the right skills, certification and up-to-date knowledge. With that comes 24/7 monitoring and response – which again would be very expensive to maintain in-house.
Aside from skills and cost savings, engaging the services of an MSSP also takes care of regulatory compliance requirements for storing and securing sensitive information. At the same time, an MSSP can provide the flexibility and scalability that would be difficult to replicate in-house. Services provided by an MSSP can be scaled up or down, depending on the customer’s current needs.
The demand for MSSPs has also been driven – to a large extent – by the move to the cloud, with many modern enterprises adopting hybrid or multi-cloud environments. However, while most cloud providers offer specific protection features for data leak protection and access management, the responsibility to secure data and applications still rests with the customer. Yet, securing a cloud environment can be far more complex than an on-premises system and this is where MSSPs can also bring the necessary skills.
For organisations contemplating engaging the services of an MSSP, selecting the right partner is a critical decision. Due to the shortage of skills, companies would be well advised to select an MSSP that is adequately resourced to play multiple roles within the cybersecurity landscape and provide the right tools and services to meet their needs. Furthermore, a solid track record and industry referrals can go a long way in helping a customer select an appropriate MSSP.
However, engaging a suitable MSSP starts with an organisation understanding its own needs and its current security posture, while also having insight into what it eventually wants to achieve. While there might not be a silver bullet for cybersecurity, it is important that organisations consult a professional for guidance and align their security posture with a proven standard.
Ultimately, the key differentiator in the selection of a service provider comes down to the value that they can bring to an organisation. Aside from cost savings, a suitable MSSP will also deliver aspects of management, responsibility and accountability, while being innovative and agile enough to respond to the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape.