What exactly is a managed security services provider (MSSP)? A managed security services provider is an international corporation that maintains a full repertoire of management services and security applications to protect enterprises, companies, and other government institutions from the potential risks associated with information technology (IT) systems and networks. Many businesses rely heavily on IT systems to improve productivity, save costs, increase profit margins, and remain competitive in an ever-changing economy. However, along with the benefits that come with these systems comes the responsibility to adequately protect the business and personal information stored within them.
Organizations have identified the need to implement a comprehensive security program to counter cyber threats to their data and business assets. Since the inception of the Information Technology revolution in the mid-1990s, the number of cases related to data loss and security breaches in information technology environments have increased dramatically. This has given rise to the development of numerous security management vendors and the increased need for managed security services providers. Organizations searching for a managed security services provider must therefore carefully evaluate the attributes of such a vendor in order to determine whether they are acquiring a solid and practical solution to their IT security requirements or a vendor with questionable capabilities and performance.
A number of factors should be considered when choosing a managed security services provider (MSPS). The foremost factor is the quality of the vendor managing the solution portfolio and ensuring that it has robust capabilities in place to mitigate security threat groups and ensure compliance with the various data protection laws that currently exist in different countries. Another important attribute is the level of training and knowledge that a security incident response service provider has in the area of managing and controlling information technology systems. A well-trained and experienced MSSP is in the best position to provide prompt assistance and advice to businesses and organizations that rely heavily on IT systems to help them successfully compete in today’s economy.
Today, several managed security services providers offer a range of managed services that include malware detection and removal, computer network security, access control management, identity theft protection, and web security. However, it is important to first establish the expertise of a particular vendor by analyzing the technical capabilities it possesses. This can be achieved by conducting an in-depth technical analysis of the business’s IT system using objective measurements and benchmarking. Such metrics would include the percentage of daily system load, average number of unauthorized user attempts to gain access to a system, and typical time taken for an unauthorized user to gain access to a system. The results of these technical assessments would then be compared against the performance of a vendor who offers managed services of similar complexity.