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Consider using an MSSP's expertise to augment IT staff, maintain best practices and fight cyberattacks.

December 12, 2022

5 Min Read
Managed Security
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By Mikhail Ruchkin

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ClearScale’s Mikhail Ruchkin

Cybercriminals don’t work 9 to 5. They don’t take off for vacations or holidays. They work 24/7/365. And they continually evolve their methods and are becoming bolder, more innovative and increasingly stealthy.

So it’s not surprising that, despite piling on the latest and greatest cybersecurity tools, organizations still experience data breaches. It doesn’t help that internal IT teams are stretched thin and constantly must deal with competing priorities. Staying on top of current and emerging cyber threats can be a full-time job itself.

Building a dedicated in-house cybersecurity team is an option. But given the competition for IT security professionals, it’s an expensive, time-consuming one that may not be sustainable. That’s why procuring managed security services is a practical strategy for dealing with cyber threats.

The Benefits of Managed Security

One of the benefits of contracting for managed security services is similar to the case for using managed IT services in general — the companies that provide them, who are typically referred to as managed security service providers (MSSPs), although they can be cloud consulting companies or other entities — usually offer a depth and breadth of expertise that ensures even the most complex security issues can be addressed.

Service providers that specialize in IT security, including security specific to cloud operations, maintain experienced teams of experts. They’re at the forefront of their fields and stay on top of emerging threats. They not only employ IT security best practices, but they’re also often instrumental in developing them.

In addition to keeping up with emerging security trends, these organizations invest in leading-edge cyber-defense tactics and tools, as well as mitigation strategies. The best among them take a multilayered approach to IT security. They employ a variety of resources to defend against both external and internal breaches across endpoints, at the edge, throughout the network and anywhere else.

Among the resources they can employ are vulnerability and security assessments to identify issues and fix them before they become problems. They can also take over the responsibility of monitoring an organization’s network and cloud infrastructure, maintaining the security integrity of their endpoints and incorporating practices like application vulnerability monitoring, firewall management and configuration management.

Cloud security services providers can help set detailed access controls and permissions for sensitive assets that should only be available to authorized individuals. They can apply encryption at rest, encryption in transit, and other security techniques that keep data safe. They can also configure alerts that help prioritize and guide responses to security incidents as soon as they surface.

These service providers also can employ advanced techniques such as risk prediction analysis and adaptive risk modeling to prevent the occurrence of advanced threats. Backups and disaster-recovery planning may also be included to mitigate data loss and help keep your business up and running.

Some managed IT security services providers also have expertise in compliance with the security facets of various regulatory requirements and industry standards. They can help integrate the necessary controls to meet HIPAA, PCI-DSS and a variety of other compliance mandates.

Another advantage of outsourcing IT security is that services are tailored to an organization’s needs. That may include building customized risk management strategies specific to your business model or enabling you to contract for services on an “as-needed” basis. Doing so gives an organization the ability to quickly scale up or down with an already trained and knowledgeable staff that can handle the dynamic volume of business.

Focus on Patch Management

One of the most important ways to combat malware and other IT security issues is patch management. Patch management is also one security responsibility that can easily be handed off to a service provider.

Since most IT staff are already stretched thin, it’s difficult to stay on top of the latest patch releases, much less apply them. As a result, in-house IT staff often must squeeze in patching whenever they can — leaving their systems vulnerable when patches aren’t implemented immediately.

In addition, organizations with busy IT staff may not have documented and enforced patch management processes integrated with their overall change management program. An organized and controlled patch application process is needed to ensure compliance with mandated patch and update levels. A lack of adequate control and visibility can lead to spending resources on unnecessary or low-priority changes while neglecting more important initiatives.

Providers of managed security services make it their business to stay on top of security issues, including the latest patch releases. They’re more likely to have expertise in automated solutions for endpoint scanning, patch acquisition and deployment for multiple vendors.

In addition, these service providers understand that change management is vital to every stage of the patch management process. They’re well-versed in helping organizations integrate their patch management program with their change management system.

Service providers can build in risk mitigation and address issues such as how patches will be phased and scheduled to prevent mass outages and how updates will be certified as successful. They also can ensure that patch application plans include contingencies to cover scenarios in which something goes wrong during the update.

Manage Your Security with an MSSP

When looking for a managed security provider, find one that has extensive experience in dealing with IT security issues and stays on top of both emerging threats and new security technologies. Ask yourself how your organization’s IT security stacks up against industry best practices. Find a partner who can discover your security gaps and which solutions can eliminate them. By doing so, you could find yourself far ahead of your competition in combating costly cyberattacks.

Mikhail Ruchkin is the director of information technology and security at ClearScale. He oversees all security services for ClearScale and customer projects and has more than 15 years’ experience in the industry. You may follow ClearScale on LinkedIn or @clearscale on Twitter.

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