Not every company can afford to pay a dedicated cybersecurity team, and this limitation has probably led to many unfortunate attacks. Cyber-criminals of various types will take advantage anywhere that weakness is seen, so this represents a major problem. In response to this need, managed security services have become an important industry across the globe. But how do they work? What do these companies do? Let’s delve into that topic and see what we can find.
What Are Managed Security Services?
These are simply third-party companies that offer security-focused IT services. Outsourcing this kind of thing makes a lot of sense for companies that need affordable but high-quality security coverage. Managed IT services for small business tend to be a lot more affordable than a full-time resident team. As such, managed security services are among the top managed IT services on the market.
Different Levels Of Involvement
When you set up an MSS plan, you will have an opportunity to tailor it for your organization. The most important decision here is to decide the level of involvement that this third-party company will have.
If you want the MSS provider to take care of everything, then you will want to go with a “fully managed” plan. As the name implies, this plan involves the MSS provider taking full responsibility for all aspects of your security. This can include everything from periodic audits to incident response and threat hunting.
If your company already has a significant amount of IT resources, a “co-managed” plan might be the right way to go. This kind of plan will involve a division of responsibility between your in-house professionals and the third-party provider. Obviously, there is a lot more room for customization here, so companies need to take great care when deciding the structure of a co-managed plan.
Any good MSS provider should engage in regular “threat hunting.” This means that they will constantly work to improve your security by finding and patching any holes that may exist. There are several ways to do this. First, they can look at the structure and architecture of your system and try to determine the easiest routes of attack. If they want to go even further, they can even do a “penetration test.” This means that they will deliberately attempt to hack the system just so they can see if it is possible or easy.
If your MSS provider doesn’t do this on a regular basis, or if they never manage to find anything, it means you probably need to switch companies. Virtually any system will have some kind of flaw, so constant negatives are an indicator that the company isn’t doing its job with sufficient diligence.
Research And Record Keeping
One of the best things about using an MSS is the fact that you have a wide array of highly trained professionals at your disposal. Hiring all of those people on your own dime would not be a cheap proposition, but an MSS allows you to get those high-quality services at a lower rate. When those trained professionals are not doing more important things, they will be working to maintain and expand their database of security information.
This is a big advantage for small businesses because they can get access to years’ worth of research and intelligence without having to pay for that research. This makes it far easier for both in-house and outsourced security staff to identify threats and to separate them from false alarms. For instance, many common software programs will have glitches and vulnerabilities inherent in the code (these are commonly called “exploits”). By making a database of these exploits, an MSS provider can more easily pinpoint those pesky security gaps and close them.
When you look for a managed security services provider, it is important to ask about network and security monitoring. It isn’t really worthwhile to pay a company like this unless you get some good “watchdog” services out of the deal. This is highly beneficial when employing a co-managed plan because your in-house team won’t have to waste time with routine monitoring.
Most cyber-attacks can be detected before they occur, but only if someone is watching. Moreover, the observer must be competent and educated enough to recognize a threat immediately. There are all sorts of network security monitoring tools, all of which focus on the monitoring of network traffic. Obviously, most cyber-attacks begin at the network level, unless we are talking about a physical-access kind of threat.
The Importance Of Communication
Another thing that helps managed security services to work well is constant communication. An MSS provider should not a silent partner, and should instead keep their client updated at all times. This is one of the best ways to recognize a good provider. Even if it might seem like a waste of time, those updates can make the difference between an ironclad system and a weak one. This is the case because your MSS cannot do everything alone. They will occasionally require some co-action from you or your employees, so that should be expected.
A lot of MSS plans will also include the use of a managed firewall. Most of us know that a firewall is a program that acts as a “filter” between you and the rest of the internet. However, without accurate and updated rules, these things don’t do a lot of good. Most people just download a pre-written list of known malicious sites so that they can be blocked, but a managed firewall offers something a lot more dynamic. Because trained professionals will constantly be working to refine those firewall rules, they will tend to be a lot more effective.
As you can see, managed security services can be very versatile. They are meant to be an all-purpose security solution for those who need such a thing. If you would like to try the best managed security services, we recommend that you give PCH Technologies a call at (856) 754-7500.