Navigating the maze: selecting the right MSSP for cybersecurity success

By Steve Harrison Cyber Operations Director

In today’s fast-paced IT world, outsourcing cybersecurity services has become a common practice critical to operational success. Gone are the days of not having to worry about cybersecurity threats, with data breaches detrimentally affecting organisations of all sizes. Managed Service Security Providers (MSSPs) are becoming increasingly necessary for organisations looking to secure their networks without exceeding their budgets and workforce resources.

An MSSP oversees a company’s security systems and processes to deliver comprehensive security management, often operating remotely via the cloud. The services encompass infrastructure security setup, regulatory compliance assurance, continuous 24/7 threat monitoring, and robust data protection. With a multitude of services to choose from, we explore five key questions to help you decide what MSSP to select for your organisation.

Do the services of the MSSP align with our strategy?

An MSSP usually provides various modular services to protect varying parts of your IT infrastructure. You’ll likely see services including incident response, vulnerability management, managed detection and response (MDR), and Security Incident Event Management (SIEM). As well as the type of service, there may be other variations to consider, such as available coverage in terms of its Security Operational Centre (SOC) capabilities or options for levels of support if a breach were to occur. With many available options, aligning costs and services with objectives ensures resources are optimised effectively.

As a customer, you should strategically align with an MSSP to establish clear and measurable outcomes that can be understood across the wider business. This may include actionable goals such as reducing incident detection time or fine-tuning detection rules to reduce the rate of false positives. This data can help frame a cohesive cybersecurity framework to support your business from a governance, risk, and compliance perspective.

Does the MSSP keep up to date with technology?

Cyber doesn’t stand still; your MSSP shouldn’t either. Therefore, anticipating and preparing for future threats requires an MSSP to evaluate emerging technologies continuously. Your MSSP acts as an intermediary between attackers and customers. This proactive approach not only improves the organisation’s cybersecurity readiness but also demonstrates the MSSP’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge services in the dynamic digital landscape.

Many industries have specific cybersecurity standards and regulations, and an MSSP that stays current with technology is more likely to align with these compliance standards. Research the MSSPs services to understand if they have the tools to defend against evolving threats and risks proactively.

Does the MSSP have expertise that will allow your business to grow?

Business growth often comes with an increased exposure to cyber risks. Consider if the MSSP is aligned with your organisation’s growth objectives and can offer advice to positively contribute to your future expansion strategic goals. Expertise in scalable cybersecurity solutions allows your organisation to grow in size, scope and complexity. As your cybersecurity strategy evolves, some MSSPs may have other capabilities that could be advantageous to you in time. A growth-oriented MSSP supports business expansion and fosters a long-term partnership by adapting its services to the organisation’s evolving cybersecurity requirements.

Acknowledge the scale of your business and find a security partner that aligns with it. If you’re a small business, consider opting for a smaller MSSP that can provide specialised care and attention instead of a larger one where your needs may be overshadowed.

What type of experience and customers does the MSSP have?

Understanding the experience, history and vision of your potential MSSP will quickly show if they are aligned with your organisation and needs. If your MSSP has customers similar to your organisation or has industry-specific knowledge, they may better understand your goals, which can enhance the relevance and effectiveness of their services for your specific needs. Alternatively, they may have a varied portfolio, which indicates their ability to adapt and address unique cybersecurity challenges across different sectors. Ask to see case studies and ask them honestly for advice about what has and hasn’t worked for them previously.

Does the MSSP have a culture and people that we can trust?

Handing over the keys to your data is a big deal. For threat monitoring to be effective, the MSSP will need to not only have access to all data points but also the ability to perform analysis to determine if there is a real threat evolving. Therefore, you must trust your chosen MSSP. Trust is built on the competence and reliability of the people behind the services, making it essential to ensure that the MSSP’s personnel are skilled, well-trained, and dedicated to safeguarding your organisation.

Look beyond the sales pitch! Each company you consider will present you with the capabilities of the services; however, looking beyond the polished sales team will help you see the heart of the operation and the team that will become your partner, the extension of your team to protect your valuable data. Successful customer outcomes are closely tied to effective communication and collaboration. Ask to visit their Security Operation Centre to gain a better understanding of how it functions. 

Going beyond the technology

When choosing the right Managed Service Security Provider, the focus on aligning services with organisational objectives and strategy becomes paramount, ensuring not only the optimisation of resources but also the establishment of clear and measurable outcomes.

The commitment of an MSSP to staying ahead of technological advancements signifies readiness and dedication to providing cutting-edge services in the dynamic digital environment.

However, as organisations navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity, the decision to engage with an MSSP goes beyond technical considerations. The selection of an MSSP is not just a transaction; it is the forging of a mutual alignment between your organisation and chosen provider. Treating your MSSP as an integral extension of your in-house team helps to build a trusting ally and advisor to support when navigating the complexities of the cybersecurity landscape.  As organisations entrust the keys to their data, the chosen MSSP becomes an extension of their team, working collaboratively to safeguard valuable assets. By asking the right questions and looking beyond the surface, your chosen MSSP should not only address immediate concerns but also lay the groundwork for long-term security, growth, and success. Look behind the contract at the people who are safeguarding your organisation.

How can we help?

Whether you’re new to considering if you need an MSSP, or looking to change providers, SCC are here to support you. Our Microsoft-funded Pathfinders are equipped to provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your organisation’s cybersecurity posture. Our SIEM and XDR pathfinders allow you to trial the Microsoft Security stack in your environment, configured to your requirements by Microsoft-accredited SCC Consultants. This proof of value gives your organisation real-time cyber threat detection and response capabilities, enhancing your overall security posture. Gain valuable insights into your security status and take the necessary steps to protect your business with our expert guidance.  Get in touch with one of our team to find out more.

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