By Jamy Mullin, Solutions Architect, SRC Technologies

IT security is something that every business today understands they must address. From sophisticated phishing scams to cryptojacking schemes, your business’ most valuable data has never been more vulnerable – and your IT people have never been more busy protecting it. Organizations that have made the smart decision to outsource mundane “keep-the-lights-on” kinds of tasks to a trusted third-party managed service provider (MSP) are already a step ahead of the game, even if they don’t know it yet.

When you use an MSP as an extension of your IT team, that MSP quickly gains a lot of insight into what is normal and what is not normal in your specific environment. They get to know the ins and outs of your baseline network traffic. And, as a result, they can quickly recognize deviations in those patterns that require a deeper look to see why that behavior has changed. This means, in terms of end-to-end security measures, developing a relationship with an MSP you trust can provide you with a first line of defense against security breaches.  It also gives you a way to “keep your eye on the ball” while freeing your internal IT staff to focus on strategic IT projects that will deliver real business value that puts you ahead of your competition.

At SRC, when we begin a managed security services relationship with a new client, we like to do an assessment that will identify areas of concern that need immediate remediation right up front. Of course, no one likes to spend money on “what if” scenarios, but by the time a potential threat turns into an attack, it’s too late. That’s why we think it’s so important to help our customers find the right level of support that meets their needs and budgets from the start. Oftentimes, after trying to perform all the tasks in house that are needed to keep their data and systems safe, companies find that a managed services solution is a more cost-effective way to manage their security.

We recently had a large client on the East coast who came to us for an endpoint security solution. They wanted us to roll out the solution and teach them how to use it, then they planned to take over the day-to-day operation of the solution in house. With the huge number of potential threats in the world today, the client’s internal IT team was quickly consumed with doing nothing but the monitoring and management of their security protocols. When they did the math, they realized that a managed security service from SRC provided them with a more cost-effective solution, and it freed their internal IT team to go back to what they do best – using technology to create strategic advantages for the business.

Six Ways MSPs Help Relieve Heightened Security Concerns

In essence, there are six key ways that a managed service provider can help you cope with today’s heightened security concerns both effectively and economically.

  1. Train Your Users: Since phishing attacks play such a significant a role in most data breaches today, it’s important to train your users to become “human firewalls.” We provide security awareness training as a service through our relationship with KnowBe4, an organization renowned for uncovering phish-prone users so we can teach them how to recognize dangerous emails and scams.
  2. Perform Penetration Testing: Of course, not all attacks start with phishing. Sometimes hackers find their own back door. To beat them at their own game, there are two primary types of penetration testing an MSP can perform; we do these in cooperation with Synack, one of the IT industry’s most trusted penetration testing organizations. The first is a point-in-time test over a two-week period, and the second is continuous testing that involves 24x7x365 work, something that usually only very large organizations guarding extremely sensitive financial or healthcare data, for example, might require.
  3. Plug Those Holes: Once your vulnerabilities have been exposed and identified, you need to plug those holes right away. An MSP can help by upgrading older equipment, patching software or replacing firewalls, routers and switches. In a managed security relationship, the MSP will also continually monitor your systems for new vulnerabilities, and they will take immediate action to remediate them.
  4. Keep You in Compliance: An MSP that is continually monitoring your environment can also ensure you remain in compliance by deploying automated tools that scan your system for known exploits as well as logging behavior patterns. We recently had a customer that asked us for reports about everyone that had logged into their network, and they were surprised at how quickly we could produce that information. Because we rely on automated tools like EventTracker, for example, we can track and report this kind of information at any interval required.
  5. Provide Ongoing Support: After you’re assured that your system is as hardened as possible, you’ll need ongoing support and maintenance to keep up with any new devices or applications that might introduce vulnerabilities. This is where an MSP relationship can become incredibly valuable. Many organizations go through extensive steps to ensure their systems are secure but fail to maintain that level of security on an everyday basis. Whether you’re adding endpoint security, checking for new viruses or adding software patches, security remains an ongoing task that someone must tackle – either your in-house IT team or a trusted MSP. It all comes down to a balancing act that requires defining the roles of in-house personnel and trusted partners in ways that allow you to maximize your resources to enable the business to perform at its best.

Want to learn more? Check out the IT Security Services page on the SRC website. Worried that turning over key aspects of your security to an MSP means handing over the keys to your IT kingdom? Don’t worry – this blog explains what a co-managed relationship really looks like. Next, find out why as-a-service options are such a smart move.  Then, contact us to find out what SRC Technologies can do for you.