Data Governance

How choosing the right MSSP can help keep essential data safe

By Mattias Deny, VP Managed Security Services EMEA at Trustwave 

Organisations have never faced a greater challenge in keeping their data safe from cyber threats as cyber criminals continue to increase both the volume and sophistication of attacks.

A recent report from Osterman Research found that 81 percent of organisations reported being the victim of a data breach between August 2018 and August 2019.

The potential for huge fines and even more negative publicity via the GDPR also means that suffering a security incident has become an increasingly costly prospect, if an enterprise is judged to have been negligent in its duties to the data security and privacy of its customers.

However, keeping up with continually evolving threats requires enterprises to constantly assess their level of risk, determining the likelihood and potential impact of each new threat – alongside keeping up routine IT and security activity. The scope for potential threats is so broad that only the largest organisations have a chance of managing everything in-house – particularly as recruiting and retaining experienced cyber professionals has become a serious challenge. 

How outsourcing to an MSSP can help

The good news is that the average enterprise no longer needs to worry about finding the resources to fund a team of security experts armed with the latest technology. Instead, firms can partner with a managed security service provider (MSSP) to instantly access advanced security tools and the human expertise required to use them successfully.

Thanks to the managed service model, working with an MSSP enables a firm to access skills and expertise as and when they need them. For example, an enterprise could ramp up its services to deal with a security crisis or to coincide with a major digital transformation project, and then scale back when things return to normal.

What to look for in an MSSP

Organisations in search of an MSSP will not have to look far. The global MSSP market has undergone massive growth in recent years and continues to expand, with Gartner reporting market growth of 6.7 percent in 2018 and total revenue of $10.7bn.

That said, while there is a huge amount of choice available, organisations must ensure that their chosen partner is not only high quality, but also a good fit for their business needs and objectives.

As with most other IT services today, security has become very commoditised, so most MSSPs will be able to provide a similar selection of standard services to meet the most basic security needs. Instead of the services themselves, the differentiator is often in how the MSSP provides them. Enterprises should look out for providers that focus on a flexible approach to deliver better cost savings.

The real value of MSSP

The true worth of a good MSSP becomes apparent when it comes to the more advanced side of security, where a proactive approach becomes more important. Dealing with organised, high-level threat actors armed with the latest zero-day exploits and attack techniques will require a much greater level of expertise and insight than most standard security partners will be capable of.

An MSSP that is able to deliver threat profiling, for example, will help an enterprise to establish a detailed view of potential threats, empowering it to make more accurate strategic decisions.

Proactive threat hunting is another of the most valuable higher-level security activities a service provider can offer. This will help to discover and neutralise threats hidden within the network and scout out vulnerabilities that could be exploited in the future.

These kinds of insights will make it easier to relate security priorities to the C-suite, helping to shift the focus away from cost and towards the value good security will provide the organisation.

Preparing for the long term

Alongside looking at the technical capabilities of a potential partner, enterprises should also take into account the maturity level of the provider. Ideally, organisations should look to select an MSSP with a similar level of maturity and aspiration to themselves. This means that a company also needs to have a solid idea of its own objectives and risk appetites before going in search of an MSSP.

Companies that have their sights set on growing their operations and improving their security maturity will need a partner that can match and support their growth, potentially over a number of years.

Cyber security is a journey, not a destination. Working with the right security partner will not only help an enterprise deal with the current threats to its data, but also help it to keep pace with the turbulent and rapidly shifting security landscape as it continues to grow and develop.

About Trustwave

Trustwave is a leading cybersecurity and managed security services provider that helps businesses fight cybercrime, protect data and reduce security risk.

Offering a comprehensive portfolio of managed security services, consulting and professional services, and data protection technology, Trustwave helps businesses embrace digital transformation securely. Trustwave is a Singtel company and the global security arm of Singtel, Optus and NCS, with customers in 96 countries.