One concern that often arises when a company is considering hiring a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) and outsourcing their security functions is the risk of allowing a third party to monitor and take care of sensitive data. For many companies, this can be a source of great anxiety. Allowing a third party to access sensitive organization data and customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII) begs the question, what exactly is my MSSP monitoring?
While it is always a risk to give your data over to another entity, it is important to know that MSSPs will protect your privacy at all costs and are only interested in monitoring the security of your organization.
Let’s start to address the concerns by taking a look at what MSSPs are not monitoring:
What an MSSP is not monitoring:
A responsible MSSP places a high value on protecting client confidentiality and is primarily concerned with protecting the integrity of the client’s network infrastructure and data. As such, even if the ability is there, the MSSP staff does not review browsing activity or history, email content and recipients, or database information, ensuring full privacy for your executives. MSSP personnel strictly adhere to confidentiality agreements and act professionally. If sensitive information is seen, it is not discussed.
There are ways to ensure confidentiality is maintained, including detailed service level agreements (SLA) and statements of work (SOW). These are essential when transferring risk to an MSSP and can offer legal protections to a company in the event of a data breach.
What an MSSP is monitoring:
Typically, an MSSP will aggregate logs and events from multiple systems and sources within the client’s network infrastructure to a security information and event management (SIEM) system. Those logs and events will come from infrastructure components like firewalls, endpoint security applications, and operating systems. The SIEM will be configured with alarming rules that will generate alerts from incoming logs for the MSSP personnel to investigate and act upon.
Why partner with an MSSP?
Contracting with a third party to handle your organization’s network and information security has significant advantages, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that may not have the budget for a dedicated in-house information security team. In fact, hiring an MSSP over an in-house staff is a way to make the most of your money by gaining access to 24/7 expertise without the burden of finding and retaining staff during the massive cybersecurity skills shortage.
When you partner with an effective MSSP, they will provide monthly reports that not only improve visibility into your security posture, but also act as a tool to justify and build budget for future security needs. This allows you to map your security objectives to the greater business objectives, which in turn helps get leadership on board with your efforts.
A quality MSSP will be technology agnostic, with the ability to adapt to your current infrastructure, technology, and existing applications that you’ve already invested time and budget into.
Access to Expertise
Perhaps the largest benefit of contracting with an MSSP is the level of security expertise the MSSP can provide. A quality MSSP will be staffed with security experts who are highly skilled in network and information security, organized to detect, analyze, respond to, report on, and prevent cybersecurity events.
Ultimately, when you engage the services of an MSSP, you receive peace of mind knowing that not only is your data protected around the clock, but your privacy is also prioritized and maintained.