3 Key Considerations Before Outsourcing Your Security to an MSSP
Do You Really Need a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)?
When it comes to monitoring your environment against security breaches and intrusions, your organization can choose between taking care of security in-house or outsourcing it to a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).
Related article: 5 Benefits of a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)
Whether you need to meet compliance requirements, secure your business against intrusions or ensure maximum operational uptime, chances are that you’ll need to figure out how to monitor your environment 24/7 in a way that is effective, cost-efficient and yields maximum ROI.
Truth be told, every organization is unique in terms of its cybersecurity needs. Engaging with an MSSP can have tremendous advantages for certain businesses and may not be required for others.
3 key considerations that you should be addressed as part of your decision making:
- Overall security requirements
- Security expertise
- Threat monitoring & incident response
Disclaimer: This evaluation is not exhaustive and is meant to outline several key considerations that we have found to be useful for our customers’ decision-making process.
Define Your Overall Security Requirements
Before you can decide whether to outsource your security projects or deal with them internally, you need to have a look at your overall security requirements and how they align with your current cybersecurity posture.
If you have a pretty good understanding of how effective your cybersecurity defenses are against breaches, cyberthreats and intrusions, you’re already better off than most organizations and may not need to engage with an MSSP. In addition, you will have to think about your current security initiatives– not just in terms of what you’ve implemented, but also in terms of how you can measure effectiveness, demonstrate ROI and how your security initiatives strengthen your cybersecurity posture over time.
If you feel confident answering these questions, you may be able to go down the in-house security route. If you’re unsure about how your security initiatives, tools, and technologies actually protect you, you may want to consult external expertise.
Lastly, compliance is also a principal reason for choosing to partner with an MSSP, who can provide you with continuous log monitoring and a full-fletched vulnerability management program to help you demonstrate compliance.
To get an overview of all your security requirements, a cybersecurity posture assessment can help you evaluate your current security posture, identify gaps and propose concrete recommendations for improvement.
Evaluate Your In-house Security Expertise
Unfortunately, the security industry is in deep trouble and faces an increasingly critical cybersecurity skills shortage. According to ISACA, 83% of businesses presently lack the required human resources and skills to properly protect their IT environment and assets. Projections are pretty bleak, to say the least, with recent studies projecting a worldwide shortage of 2 million skilled cybersecurity professionals by 2019.
The term cybersecurity skills shortage refers to two issues:
- Not enough people working in the cybersecurity field or entering the cybersecurity field in the first place
- Existing cybersecurity professionals don’t have the required skills to keep up with the everchanging security field
Indeed, it is unlikely that “organizations can effectively assess, plan for, protect, respond to and recover from cybersecurity threats and incidents” without a pool of skilled cybersecurity people who they can revert back on (Infosecurity Magazine, 2018).
To take care of your security internally, you will need to ask yourself if you have enough qualified in-house security resources to strengthen your cybersecurity defenses effectively and continuously and if you will be able to retain them on the long run.
In practical terms, this means that your security team:
- Has to have clearly-defined roles and responsibilities to run a successful security practice,
- Must be operational and available around the clock, not just during regular business hours,
- Can review security-related data and identify which information is critical versus which one is not,
- Can easily take care of all necessary patches, updates, and upgrades to your security technology,
- Is comfortable responding to potential security incidents and dealing with post-incident communications and mitigation procedures, and
- Is stimulated and motivated enough to stick around as part of your business.
Evaluating your in-house security expertise will be an important step to help you decide between in-house or outsourced security.
Review Your Threat Monitoring & Incident Response Processes
Cybercriminals don’t work 9-5, so your corporate environment should be protected on a 24/7 basis, even (and especially) after business hours and on holidays. The reality of many businesses is that their security team only has limited visibility on their environment, namely during the hours they work. Businesses rarely even have clearly-defined incident response processes in place to deal with the eventuality of managing an incident when it occurs.
Related article: Best Practices for Building an Incident Response Plan
To ensure continuous protection of your organization’s critical data, a managed security service practice can be helpful and will liberate your in-house IT team of tedious tasks such as log review, correlation, and security incident analysis and escalation.
Unlike most in-house security teams, an MSSP can offer a 360-degree of your cybersecurity maturity, leverage global security data and cybersecurity analytics to help you protect your data, monitor your environment and respond to intrusions.
If you already have 24/7 monitoring tools in place or consider acquiring some, such as a SIEM solution, make sure that your in-house security professionals:
- Review all generated logs on a regular basis (at least every 2 hours),
- Identify security incidents accurately and promptly, and escalate them according to pre-defined escalation grids,
- Handle the vast amount of false positive alerts,
- Report on their security findings on a regular basis (preferably monthly),
- Take care of the necessary patches, updates and upgrades, and
- Demonstrate the effectiveness of existing security controls.
If you are confident about your in-house threat monitoring and incident response process, you should be well equipped to make do without an MSSP. If you have the slightest doubt about your capabilities when it comes to monitoring your environment and managing incidents, an MSSP may offer you the peace of mind to focus on running on core business.
When it comes to securing your business against threats and intrusions, you will have to take a close look at where you’re at right now before taking the leap of doing it all on your own. Handling cybersecurity projects internally may seem feasible at first, but will really depend on several key factors, including your overall security requirements, your internal security expertise and your capabilities to mitigate and respond to security incidents. If you feel that you’re falling short on any of these 3 aspects, you may want to consider outsourcing your 24/7 security monitoring requirements to an MSSP. If you’re confident to have a good grip all around, you may be fine on your own and may not need to engage with an external provider.
Before you make a choice, you will need to evaluate your cybersecurity requirements carefully and get detailed answers on how an MSSP can help you address your shortcomings to maximize your ROI and offer long-term protection. Regardless of which industry you’re in or which compliance requirements you’re subject to, a thorough assessment of your cybersecurity maturity is essential to decide on an efficient security strategy that can protect your business and shield you from intrusions.
Curious to find out if you really need an MSSP? If you’re not sure, we’ve developed a quick and easy checklist that will help you understand when an MSSP may come in handy and when you can probably do without.