Why Managed Security Services Are Essential

May 20, 2024

Are you finding it increasingly challenging to keep up with the rapid pace of cybersecurity threats? Does protecting your sensitive data and intellectual property and maintaining compliance seem overwhelming? You're not alone. With complex and evolving cyberattacks, organizations worldwide realize the need for robust security measures. However, many businesses, especially SMBs, need help implementing these measures due to limited budget, staff and expertise. This predicament and the escalating threat landscape have resulted in a burgeoning market for managed security services (MSS).



What Are Managed Security Services (MSS)?

Managed security services (MSS) can be a game-changer for businesses seeking cyber resilience. MSS offer a systematic approach to managing an organization's security needs. The services can be conducted in-house or outsourced to a provider that oversees and administers the security of the client's information systems. The most significant benefit of hiring a managed security service lies in the peace of mind it provides.


Knowing that your organization's digital assets are protected by a team of cybersecurity experts allows you to focus on what you do best - running your business.


These invaluable security services can offer organizations:


  • 24/7/365 system monitoring for potential security threats
  • Security and compliance audits
  • Intrusion detection and response
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Advanced cloud security solutions
  • Patch management


Managed security service providers (MSSPs) offer a broad range of security services, from complete outsourcing of your security program to specialized services centered around a single component of your security architecture.


Now, let's dive into managed security services and unravel how they can significantly benefit your organization, whether it be a small business or a global enterprise.


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The Role of Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs)


What are MSSPs?

Managed security service providers, or MSSPs, are external organizations that specialize in handling the cybersecurity needs of their clients. With a team of highly skilled security experts, they're equipped to deal with a wide array of cybersecurity-related activities. This includes everything from managing security tools to threat management, incident response and even digital forensic investigations.


At Optiv, our MSSPs serve multiple clients and operate through high-availability security operations centers (SOCs) that are staffed around the clock. By entrusting your cybersecurity to an MSSP, you're not only gaining specific security expertise that you may lack but also potential cost savings. This is because you're eliminating the need to hire full-time in-house resources or augment your in-house capabilities to achieve 24/7/365 security monitoring.


MSSPs vs MSPs: Prioritizing Security Over Administration

While managed service providers (MSPs) and MSSPs provide vital services to businesses, there's a crucial difference between the two. MSPs typically focus on managing and supporting an organization's IT infrastructure and end-user systems. On the other hand, MSSPs prioritize security over administration.


An MSSP offers specialized security services that go beyond the typical scope of an MSP. These can include advanced threat monitoring, regulatory compliance and incident response. MSSPs also tend to conduct their services in-house or remotely, typically via the cloud, providing added flexibility and scalability to their clients.



The Scope of Managed Security Services: From Monitoring to Incident Response

The scope of managed security services is vast, aiming to provide comprehensive protection for an organization's IT infrastructure. At the heart of these services is continuous monitoring. This ensures that any security incidents are identified and addressed promptly, significantly reducing the risk of a successful cyberattack.


In the case of a security incident, MSSPs are also responsible for incident response. This can involve everything from analyzing the incident and containing the threat to recovering the affected systems and preventing future breaches.


At Optiv, we offer vulnerability scanning and managed detection and response services as part of our managed security services. These proactive measures help identify potential weaknesses in your IT infrastructure before they can be exploited by cybercriminals.




Why Managed Security Services: The Benefits

Cybersecurity threats are increasing in both volume and sophistication. This is where managed security services come into play. But why managed security services? Let's delve into the key benefits.


Comprehensive Protection: From Firewalls to Vulnerability Scanning

Managed security services offer all-inclusive protection for your organization. They provide a wide range of services, from managed cloud security solutions and vulnerability assessments to penetration testing and intrusion detection, focusing on securing your IT infrastructure from all angles. As an MSSP, we at Optiv also offer next-generation web application firewalls and other crucial functions to ensure robust digital defense. This comprehensive protection helps to identify and mitigate potential risks, ensuring your data and assets remain secure.


Access to Expertise: Leveraging Security Specialists

One of the main reasons to opt for managed security services is the access to extensive experience and cybersecurity knowledge. MSSPs have dedicated teams of security experts who specialize in various areas of cybersecurity.


Cost Savings: Reducing the Need for In-house Security Personnel

Partnering with an MSSP can result in significant cost savings. Cybersecurity requires a wide range of specialized skills, which can be expensive to maintain in-house. With an MSSP, the cost of security is distributed over the provider’s entire client base, allowing them to offer each client a higher level of security protection at a fraction of the price.


Freeing Up IT Teams: Allowing Focus on Core Business Activities

With managed security services, your in-house IT team can focus on core business activities rather than being burdened with managing complex security tasks. MSSPs handle tasks such as tool configuration and management, ensuring that cybersecurity solutions protect your organization optimally.


Peace of Mind: 24/7 Monitoring and Response

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of managed security services is peace of mind. Knowing that your organization is protected round-the-clock by a dedicated team of cybersecurity experts can significantly alleviate stress. You need a provider with continuous monitoring and threat-hunting capabilities, helping to detect and respond to threats in real time.


In conclusion, MSSPs offer many benefits, from comprehensive protection and expertise to cost savings and peace of mind. They are crucial in securing your organization's digital assets, allowing you to focus on your core business.


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How MSSPs Work: A Look at the Process

Now that we've covered the 'why managed security services,' let's focus on the 'how.'


High-Availability Security Operation Centers

First off, MSSPs use high-availability security operation centers (SOCs). Why is this necessary? Because cyber threats don't take a break, and neither do we. These SOCs are either located in our facilities or in other data centers we partner with, ensuring constant vigilance and rapid response to any potential threats.


Continuous Monitoring and Early Threat Detection

We constantly watch your network, systems and applications for any potential security threats. It's like having a vigilant guard dog that never sleeps, always looking for disturbances. This approach ensures that any security incidents are identified and addressed promptly, minimizing the risk of significant damage to your organization.


But we continue beyond just identifying threats. MSSPs are also experts in early threat detection. By monitoring the threat landscape, we often gain an advantage over enterprises whose core function isn't security related. Our specialists are trained to spot threats early on, allowing us to take proactive measures to protect your business.


Incident Response and Management

When a security incident occurs, a swift and efficient response is non-negotiable. Get a team of security experts ready to respond to incidents, ensuring they are quickly contained and managed. Let them take care of the entire process, from detection to resolution, allowing your IT team to focus on other important tasks.


Vulnerability and Penetration Testing

Vulnerability and penetration testing involves testing your network and systems for potential weaknesses that cybercriminals could exploit. By identifying these vulnerabilities, we can help you address them before they become a problem.


MSSPs can take a comprehensive approach to security, handling everything from monitoring to incident response and testing. This frees up your IT team to focus on their core tasks, while also ensuring that your organization's cyber defenses are always up to the mark.



The Importance of Managed Security Services in Today's Cyber Landscape

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, the question of 'why managed security services' becomes increasingly critical to address. In an era where cyber threats are growing in sophistication and frequency, the importance of robust, proactive and continuous security measures cannot be overstated.


Managed security service providers (MSSPs) are pivotal in this landscape. They provide the necessary expertise, technology and resources to protect your organization against an array of cyber threats.



Choosing the Right MSSP: Best Practices

Navigating the vast landscape of managed security service providers can be daunting. However, following a few essential practices, you can find the right MSSP that will cater to your specific needs and budget.


Identifying Organizational Needs and Budget

The first step in choosing the right MSSP involves thoroughly assessing your organization's needs. This means identifying which functions you plan to outsource, such as firewall management, intrusion detection or vulnerability scanning. It's crucial to involve all relevant stakeholders in this step, including business unit leaders and management, to ensure a complete understanding of your organization's needs.


Alongside identifying your needs, establish a budget for your partnership with an MSSP. Security is a critical investment, but finding a service that provides value for money and aligns with your financial resources is essential.


Researching Potential Options

Once you've identified your needs and set a budget, it's time to dive into the market and research potential options. This step involves creating a shortlist of vendors that align with your requirements. Look for MSSPs with a proven track record in providing high-quality security services.


Consider MSSPs that offer a wide range of services and have operations across the globe. These providers are often better equipped to monitor the threat landscape and provide early detection and protection.


Meeting with Vendors and Checking Customer References

The final step in selecting an MSSP involves meeting with your shortlisted vendors and checking customer references. This will give you a clearer picture of the MSSP's capabilities and how they could benefit your organization.


During these meetings, ask about their security operations centers, their response time to threats, and how they can tailor their services to meet your needs. It's also a good idea to request customer references or case studies, which can provide insights into the MSSP's performance and customer satisfaction.


Choosing an MSSP is not just about finding a vendor. It's about finding a partner that will work with you to strengthen your cybersecurity posture and protect your organization from threats.



Optiv's Approach to Managed Security Services

Optiv focuses on three main areas with its managed security services: providing integrated cybersecurity solutions, leveraging our partner ecosystem and expertise and offering tailored services across various industries.


Integrated Cybersecurity Solutions

We understand that cybersecurity is a complex field that requires a multi-layered approach. Hence, we provide a comprehensive suite of security procedures to identify, prioritize and reduce vulnerability exposure across your network. From scanner deployment and integration to asset discovery, management and scan reporting, we ensure consistent visibility across your network.


Our managed vulnerability services form a core part of our offering, enabling you to take a programmatic approach to scanning internal and external network devices, servers and other assets. In other words, we don't just offer isolated services; we ensure that all aspects of your cybersecurity are tightly integrated and working together to provide robust protection.


Partner Ecosystem and Expertise

Our expertise in cybersecurity is wider than our in-house team. We've built a robust partner ecosystem, enabling us to offer our clients the best solutions. This ecosystem is a testament to our commitment to finding the best security solutions for your needs.


Our partnerships extend to managed security services providers who bring their extensive experience and knowledge. This ensures that you have access to a vast pool of cybersecurity specialists, each with their unique skill sets and experiences.


Tailored Services Across Various Industries

Every industry has its unique security challenges and requirements. At Optiv, we understand this and offer tailored services to meet these varying needs. Whether you're in the retail sector, dealing with PCI compliance requirements or in another industry with its unique challenges, we have you covered.


We're not just about providing managed security services but about partnering with you to secure your business's full potential. Our approach to managed security services is comprehensive, integrated and tailored to your needs, offering you peace of mind and the confidence to focus on your core business activities. At the same time, we take care of your cybersecurity.


At Optiv, we understand the gravity of these threats and the necessity of staying ahead of them. Security isn't just about having the right tools and services; it's about partnering with you to secure your business's full potential.


We invite you to explore our managed security services and discover how we can help secure your organization's digital assets. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to schedule a consultation.

Ben Radcliff
Director, Cyber Operations | Optiv
Ben Radcliff is a security practitioner with over a decade of experience in security and IT operations. As Director of Security Operations within Optiv’s Cyber Defense and Applied Security group Ben currently supports a large team of security professionals across a wide array of sub disciplines including Identity and Access Management, Vulnerability Analysis, Public Key Infrastructure, and perimeter security. Ben joined Optiv in 2019 to lead Optiv’s nascent Managed Identity Practice, where he helped develop and mature Optiv’s Privileged Access and Identity Governance managed service capabilities. He holds a Master of Science degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance from Western Governors University.
Frank Giannetta
Senior Vice President, Cyber Managed Operations | Optiv