Managed service is a relatively new concept, but that doesn’t mean that the industry hasn’t grown rapidly. You can now get a managed service contract for your household appliances and one for your automobile. The truth is that not having access to a large cache of capital needed to make proactive investment used to be the bane of the small business. The service model has changed that completely. It has certainly revolutionized the IT deployment and support models. In fact, from hardware support to cloud computing, there are service options for most IT products. This month, we will take a long look at the Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), and the circumstances that need to happen to gain value from one.
What is a Managed Security Service Provider?
You know how it seems like every other day there is a major data breach, network takedown, or infiltration broadcast on the evening news? Companies of high repute, including Disney, Yahoo, Sony, Anthem, Target, Equifax, and a laundry list of others have had major data breaches that have exposed hundreds-of-thousands-to-billions of users’ information. As a result, you’ve seen companies start up with one goal in mind: to mitigate detrimental circumstances that surround the growing use of IT.
Like many of other IT service providers, the first companies to utilize these services were larger enterprises with tens of thousands of employees. Given that they tend to have the most complex environments and the financial resources to afford the often-pricey services MSSPs provide, it isn’t a big surprise that a lot of the best practices used in network security were developed by IT technicians solving enterprise-level problems for enterprise-level businesses. After strategically moving into the mid-market over the past few years, MSSPs have increased enough in number to start selling their brand of managed security to small and medium-sized businesses.
It’s not really news that SMBs have suffered a disproportionate percentage of hackers’ ire recently. The Verizon Data Breach Investigation report in 2016 found that two-out-of-every-three of the 855 reported data breach incidents happened to businesses that employed between 11-and-100 employees. Demand, it seems, has allowed SMBs access to better outsourced security services.
What Does an MSSP Do?
The MSSP, especially ones that conduct business in the SMB market, traditionally are just managed service providers that extend a routine agreement to one that is a little more device-sensitive. Typically MSSPs are tasked with two basic things. First, they are responsible for the monitoring and management of an organization’s network to ensure that security threats are mitigated. Secondly, they manage device deployment. Users are less apt to be on point about security initiatives so by having people there managing the devices that connect to your organization’s network, you position someone between endpoints and hacker paydirt: the data on your central servers.
Of course, for businesses that function inside the various industries that require very specific security practices, such as healthcare, retail, and professional services, the benefits an MSSP provide is that they have a lot of experience dealing with data, infrastructure, and regulations in those specific industries. For those companies that are under strict compliance regulations, or those that work with them, having a service in place that allows for comprehensive security service and thorough reporting is ideal. Specifically, some services an MSSP would offer include:
- Compliance assurance
- Intrusion detection
- Managed firewall
- Malware elimination
- Pen testing
- Virtual private networks
- Vulnerability scanning
Are the Costs Worth It?
There are two schools of thought to this. The first is that if your business is inundated with security problems, there is a good chance that you will deal with data loss, downtime, and other situations that could make it increasingly difficult to create positive revenue positions. If that is your current position, paying the extra money for an outsourced security provider will pay for itself. After all, with the myriad of entities out there actively looking to get into your network; or, more specifically looking to get ahold of the personally identifiable, financial, or medical information that you depend on, maintaining a high level of network security is paramount to any success your organization is going to have.
The second position is that the average coverage of a small business will cost a few thousand dollars per month, and if you already have IT personnel on staff, or you pay a managed service provider like Network Management Services for network monitoring and patch management, it could put your organization behind before it even has a chance to create any revenue. If you have sustained a secure network and infrastructure with the security resources you have in place, adding the extra layer of security monitoring, while it couldn’t hurt your security position, may hurt your financial position.
Really, it comes down to your needs. For the organization that deals in information that hackers would target, an outsourced MSSP contract may be just the thing you need to ensure airtight security. However, if your company functions fine without the extra security, whether it’s because the information you have is safe enough, or because the data you possess isn’t necessarily what hackers are looking for, you can probably forgo the expense as long as you are diligent about how you manage, share, and store data.
At Network Management Services, we have found success creating and managing storage and computing infrastructures that are reliable and keep data secure. If you would like more information about managed security services, or if you just want to talk to us about the state of your network and endpoint security, call us today at (707) 268-8850.