As we have previously discussed, there are many potential benefits to the employment of a managed service provider. While a standard internet service provider (ISP) doesn’t do much aside from providing basic access, a managed service provider also provides a wide range of services and benefits. The cost-effective nature of these plans has made them very popular, especially with large organizations. However, there is a different kind of managed service provider, and that is the managed security service provider (hereafter abbreviated “MSSP”).
What Is An MSSP?
A managed security services provider might be described as an enhanced internet service provider with an emphasis on security. It can be confusing because most MSPs will offer security-focused services. However, an MSSP plan will focus primarily on security, and that is the main difference between the two.
In most cases, MSSP services take the form of administration or oversight. Cybersecurity is one of those things that cannot fully be automated (although certain aspects of cybersecurity can be automated). When you are trying to guard against a cyber-criminal who is very familiar with the technology, you need someone with an even greater level of expertise to counter them.
Reasons To Employ An MSSP
Not everyone needs dedicated MSSP services. If your business or organization is deemed to be low-risk, you may not need to go this far. However, with all the devastating cyber-attacks that have taken place in the last few years, it is fair to say that everyone is at risk to a certain extent. The important thing is to evaluate your security situation and determine if this kind of thing is really needed.
On the other hand, if your business is deemed to be high-risk, or if it deals with companies that are, an MSSP might be just the thing. It represents a great way to scale up security when necessary. Even if your business activities don’t require the use of confidential data, you might consider an MSSP as a way to streamline your labor costs.
When you use an in-house security team, a lot of their daily work will consist of routine monitoring. This kind of monitoring has to be done on a constant basis in order to be effective. Thus, if an hourly employee is doing that kind of thing, it can get expensive quickly. On the other hand, most MSSPs will simply charge you a set monthly rate.
Some people also choose these services because of their external nature. If you have suspicions about any of those who work within your organization, a third-party MSSP provider can be used to check them out and monitor their activities. Industrial espionage is a thing, and it happens more often than most people realize. Apart from that, there are plenty of common criminals out there, and some of them are much smarter than others. In a larger sense, there are definite advantages to the use of an impartial outside actor.
Let’s talk about some of the specific services that a competent MSSP can provide. This list is by no means complete, of course.
Firewalls are one of the more reliable methods of controlling network access. However, they really don’t do a lot of good unless they are used properly. A firewall works by simply blocking certain IP addresses from connecting to the network. However, a firewall can be a lot more effective when combined with expert monitoring.
This is another type of security monitoring, but it’s a little broader. Intrusion detection relies on a simple principle: If someone gains illicit access to your network, they will be looking to achieve some sort of shady goal. The process of meeting that goal will force them to do certain predictable things. If there is a sufficiently educated person watching the activity, those “red flags” can be detected and neutralized before any major harm is done.
Virtual Private Networks
VPN services are sometimes seen as tools for shady individuals to conceal themselves, but that is far from accurate. Yes, VPN services have been misused by some, but they are also potent protective weapons. A VPN basically creates a private “tunnel” between you and the rest of the internet. The “walls” of this “tunnel” are composed of strong encryptions that would take years or even decades to crack using brute-force methods. As long as no one foolishly gives out the VPN network password to an unauthorized user, these networks will greatly reduce the opportunities for an attack.
In many cases, hackers and other such criminals will look for flaws and glitches that can be exploited. Online gamers call this an “exploit” as opposed to a “hack.” Have you ever wondered why your software has to be updated from time to time? This is why. Software updates are usually aimed at closing known vulnerabilities (among other goals). However, these updates are not always enough.
For an organization that deals with sensitive data, there is a need to constantly look for vulnerabilities. Penetration testing is one of the best ways to achieve this, but the process will normally start with a simple vulnerability scan of the entire system.
Standard antivirus software isn’t very effective, and there is a clear reason for that. These programs can only scan for known malware signatures, which means they have no capacity to identify a new threat. Thus, all a hacker has to do is change their game up a little bit, and the antivirus scan will be ineffective. On the other hand, a managed antivirus service is much more effective. Because it isn’t just an automated piece of software, managed antivirus software can potentially guard against any threat.
Managed Security services can be a great way to close the holes in your armor and make your organization secure from cyber-attack. While it is not possible to create a completely impenetrable system, competent expert management can stop or counter the vast majority of threats. If you would like to know more, feel free to call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.