Managed security: Everything you need to know

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September 27, 2021

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Managed security is an increasingly popular topic among owners of Central Texas SMBs. Data security is becoming more and more challenging due to a rising number of cyber threats, their evolving sophistication and the intrinsic complexity of data systems.

But what if you could absolve your team or even your internal IT resource from carrying that burden? In this article we’ll break down everything you need to know about managed security services and hiring a managed security services provider in Central Texas.

 

Why you should seriously consider managed security services

Threat actors are scanning networks and endpoints for known vulnerabilities every day, and once they map them, they begin to move in for the attack. Other increasingly common threats are black-hat hackers that sell exploits on the dark web and spyware developers that pay bounties to tipsters who share zero-days (undocumented vulnerabilities). It is obvious that maintaining a team that can keep up with this ever-evolving menace is practically impossible for small businesses.

But ignoring the risks in an assumption that “security through obscurity” will save you in the long term is also a falsehood. There are so many malicious actors right now that no firm is spared, no matter its size or revenue figures. We are now starting to see automated scanners and bots that scrutinize the web for open/vulnerable endpoints and misconfigured databases, finding them mere minutes after a careless employee has made a mistake.

While many threat actors would prefer to exploit highly valuable targets, most lack the required sophistication and instead go after low-hanging fruits. Most of these attacks have the potential of a fallout that includes regulatory penalties, client legal claims and reputation-destroying publicity.

While no business is truly invulnerable (the IRS, Department of State, Twitter, Marriott and countless other massive organizations have been hacked in recent years), those with a managed security program are far less likely to be hit. 

If they are, they have an expert team to help conduct the forensics investigation, coordinate incident response, perform data restoration from backups, undertake clean-up operations on all systems and eventually develop and carry out a security posture strengthening plan. Business continues moving forward quickly versus potentially shutting down (60% of SMBs that are breached go out of business within 6 months). 

Employing an in-house IT team that would be in a position to handle all of the above comes at a dizzying cost, so this is not a question of investment rationale, but one of practicality and feasibility. As such, having a managed security program is a no-brainer for small- to medium-sized organizations, and it remains imperative whether you see it from the perspective of economics, time, operational safety or legal compliance.

 

What are managed security services

To put it simply, managed security services (MSS) is a business term for trusting a third party to take care of everything that has to do with the cybersecurity of your organization. Be it defending against malware infections, network infiltration incidents, customer data theft from misconfigured databases, ransomware attacks, email phishing etc. The service provider is responsible for setting up the infrastructure, securing it, updating it, remote monitoring and then responding to any emergencies.

In these relationships, SMBs don’t have to incur the costs or time that underpin employing an  in-house cybersecurity team. They are relieved of the responsibility to maintain backups and redundancies, perform intrusion detection, set up firewalls, carry out patch management, respond to incidents, monitor networks and so on. For entities that have a limited budget to allocate to security, MSS is the ideal scenario as it provides a high cost security strategy on a fractional basis. 

As security is complex and multi-layered, managed security services can be offered or taken up in tiers. Not every SMB  is required to have the same level of services since no two SMBs have the same needs. Typically, small- to medium-sized businesses need versatile all-in-one solutions that comprise security monitoring, legal or policy compliance, network management, routine security updates and consultation and training. 

There are also two categories of managed security services: fully-managed services and co-managed services. In the former case, the provider takes care of everything, manages and monitors the entire set of deployed systems and tools and also operates and maintains the resources required for this purpose. In the latter, a provider may join the existing technologies and resources in an organization as an extra support  that will provide help only where needed. For example, a company may choose to have an MSS provider take care of security management and monitoring only on holidays, out-of-office hours and weekends. MyITpros offers both options, treating them with the same level of diligence.

 

Red flags when choosing a provider to support your managed security program

 As beneficial as managed security services can be, there are some red flags that signify a potentially troublesome provider. Here’s what to watch out for.

  •  The “you won’t need that” claim – Typically, vendors who don’t possess the expertise to offer something specialized that covers a particular need will dismiss your worries and attempt to assure you that your request is inordinate or irrelevant to the security stance of your organization.
  • The outsourcers – There are MSS providers who believe it’s fine for them to outsource to third parties (often offshore), as they are maximizing their profits at your expense. With each additional entity that is involved in this service, the risk of having an internal data breach increases exponentially, and this is just one of a host of problems that arise from this practice.
  • Lacking a strict data protection policy – Asking for a data protection and non-disclosure policy is the first thing you should do when negotiating with a provider. If they don’t have one, or if they give you something overly generic, they’re not serious about protecting your data.
  • Refusing to disclose clientele – An honest and ethical vendor would feel confident about their client feedback and would happily share client examples that can be contacted directly by prospective customers.
  • Lacking a deployment and/or migration plan – A trustworthy vendor should be in a position to lay out a deployment and/or migration plan in detail, mentioning specific timelines, risk factors and potential bottlenecks in the process. If they give you promises about “quick turnarounds” relying on justifications such as “we’ve done this numerous times” or just give you an estimate without looking into the specifics, expect massive delays and problems along the way.

 

The MyITpros advantage

At MyITpros, we employ up-to-the-minute security protocols so nothing is left to chance. Our managed security services include the following: 

  • A complete security assessment of your network and underlying systems
  • Effortless password policy implementation
  • Triple-layer end-point security using state-of-the-art tools from leading providers
  • Firewall set up and management
  • Application of security patches as soon as they become available
  • Full backup management
  • Email security through inbox filtering solutions
  • Implementation of organization-wide MFA (multi-factor authentication) programs
  • Security awareness training through KnowBe4
  • Disk and data encryption using unbreakable algorithms

If you are already using a cloud solution for your business, we can fully integrate our security services with it or migrate your data to our own managed cloud services. The same applies to the IT services we offer which can be combined  with MSS to achieve a holistic result that leaves your business far greater protected against cybercriminals.

If you’re ready to take your cybersecurity to the next level, be sure to connect with our team today. Still not sure how at risk you are? Download our cybersecurity bundle  to dive deeper into evaluating your specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

 

 

Stefanie is the Director of Client Success at Integris.

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