Businesses are facing an uphill battle when it comes to cybersecurity. The number of threat actors is multiplying daily, as are their skills and attacks. Simultaneously, security leaders, already dealing with staff and skills shortages, must do more with lower budgets. How can a business amp up its security in such turbulent times?
In a previous post, we discussed a viable solution: partnering with a managed security service provider, or MSSP. Like any business, each MSSP has a unique offering, so selecting one that complements your business is no easy feat. The partnership can provide incredible benefits or drown your already exhausted team in more work which is why this topic deserves such deep exploration. With all the information, you’ll be able to make a smart decision as to which MSSP will be the best fit for your company.
Considerations for choosing an MSSP
Before we pick up where we left off, here’s a quick overview of the topics we covered in the first half of this series:
- Expertise and experience: The MSSP you choose should have extensive experience in monitoring, identifying, and mitigating threats, as well as experience in protecting businesses with data and infrastructure similar to yours.
- Shared responsibilities: The MSSP should clearly define which responsibilities they cover and which will be left up to you and your team. Any mismatch or inability for them to cover the gaps your team cannot handle is a red flag.
- Internal capabilities: In addition to critical certifications, the MSSP you select should provide high availability, global reach, and redundancy so that if any disaster occurs, you can maintain business continuity. Their security practices should be as ironclad as possible, so they aren’t the cause of a breach.
Now let’s dive into more aspects you must consider when choosing an MSSP.
Budget and value for money
Every organization must work within the confines of its budget; that’s just a reality. It’s best to be honest and transparent about what yours looks like, keeping in mind that while you pay an MSSP, the services and value they bring should save you resources and time in the long run.
Although it may be hard to put an exact dollar amount on the services an MSSP provides, you should consider the costs associated with:
Business risk: An MSSP should lower your business risk by staying on top of emerging threats and either hardening your security posture or instructing you on how to protect your business. If your security team no longer needs to invest time in keeping abreast of new attack patterns and solutions, they are free to attend to other IT issues or critical business activities.
Staffing: Searching for and training new hires, whether it’s because you need to replace a leaving employee or the company is growing, is expensive. If the MSSP you partner with can supplement your staffing needs, that could help justify their fees.
Employee awareness: Given that 63% of insider threats come from employee or contractor negligence, ensuring your entire organization is up-to-date and educated is one of the best ways to keep threats at bay. Inquire about whether they provide security awareness and threat training sessions as part of their offer. That will inherently lower your risks and eliminate the need for your team to use their valuable time on trainings.
Incident response and support: On average, it takes businesses 277 days to identify and contain a breach. How much damage can happen in that time, and how many days could be eliminated if you had an MSSP supporting your security efforts? Additionally, if your team needs any kind of support, how much time could be saved if they could turn to an MSSP for a quick answer instead of researching the issue themselves?
Tools and platforms: You already have a tech stack and a team that is comfortable working with it. Does the MSSP use tools that fit your existing tech stack? Can they provide you with a more streamlined and cost-efficient set of tools, saving you money in the long term? If you need to replace your tech stack to partner with a specific MSSP, consider the costs associated with purchasing new tools and lost productivity due to training teams to use them.
Your business uses a specific set of services or products to function, but those could open you up to higher risks. For example, more eCommerce sites use Magneto than any other website builder; however, it is also the most hacked. Over the last few years, popular software products, including Windows 10, Microsoft Exchange, Atlassian, and Log4j packages were among the most hacked, affecting thousands of companies.
The MSSP you select should be well-versed in every product your organization relies on. The tools the MSSP uses should complement the open gaps created by your services.
Making the final decision
Every organization has its own specific security needs based on what it offers, how it serves clients, where its located, what kind of in-house team it has, and a variety of other factors. In a similar vein, each MSSP has its strengths and weaknesses.
After identifying a few MSSPs suitable for your business needs, map out each one’s pros, cons, capabilities, and costs. Let all the factors discussed in this post and those covered in part one, guide your comparison and decision-making process.
Although some executives may push for a partnership with the least expensive MSSP, that option may not provide the most bang for your buck. The cost of a breach is enough to put most SMBs out of business. In light of that, a more expensive MSSP that offers better protection will be worth every penny.