The threats to data security and integrity are increasing. Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends research indicates that 64% of organizations have been the subject of some sort of IT security breach. This threat is not limited to large corporations. Medium-sized businesses (between 100 and 1,000 employees) are almost as likely to be attacked as large companies (5,000+ employees).
With the threat so pervasive and challenging, an increasing number of organizations are seeking the help of managed security services providers. Managed security services can make your organization less vulnerable to the most common and dangerous threats. For examples, when it comes to ransomware, a recent Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends study revealed that a managed security approach can help reduce the chance of a successful attack by 50%. Organizations reduce the likelihood of an accidental security breach by a similar amount.
This analysis piece discusses managed IT security services in greater detail, including the key benefits they provide.
What are managed IT security services?
Managed security services generally involve the management and monitoring of security platforms, software, and similar systems. Some of the services include management and monitoring of vulnerability scanning/testing, intrusion detection, anti-virus, firewalls, and adjacent technologies.
These services are typically administered from a security operations center (SOC). The contractual arrangement between provider and client may or may not include additional managed IT services. Companies providing these services typically call themselves managed service providers (MSPs) or managed security services providers (MSSPs), depending on their services portfolio.
Customer demand is driving growth in the market for managed security services. As shown in the chart below, investment in data security is a top overall business priority for more than half of organizations.
Figure 1: Business priorities in the next three years
Source: Security Multi-Client Study (Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, 2016)
Benefits of a managed services approach to security
Managed security services is more than simply outsourcing security to reduce capital or staffing costs. Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends research indicates that managed security services can deliver a superior performance.
Specifically, this performance includes a 50% reduction in the possibility of having a data breach caused by some of the most common external threats. Security services can prevent threats from entering the organization—negating the potential for significant impacts like data loss or downtime.
While most publicized data breaches are the result of malicious activity, accidental data loss is also a major problem. Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends research shows that security services can also reduce accidental breaches by half. This helps organizations counter internal security challenges, whether it is a rogue employee, or external party that has gained access to employee credentials.
Best technology and people, at a lower cost
Whether your organization purchases security software and platforms as-a-service or as a one-time capital expenditure, these technologies do not come cheap. Another even more challenging issue is fully operating the technology, and keeping it up to date.
Rather than worrying about developing or finding staff capable of operating and updating IT security technology, your business can have access to this type of expertise—24/7—with managed security services.
The provider makes the investment in the technology and necessary staffing. They can use their scale of operation to provide these costs for multiple customers at a lower cost. Then, through the managed services contract, your organization affordably attains top-notch technology, staff, and protection.
Reduce the compliance and governance burden
Regulations can be difficult for management (even industry veterans) to understand. Your IT staff likely lacks significant knowledge on industry-specific or other requirements for security, like those for payment cards.
Even among organizations with some degree of IT security expertise, outside help could be beneficial. In a recent Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends survey, 15% of senior IT and compliance staff in organizations without security services were unsure if there had been a breach of their organization.
As part of a managed security services contract, logs are maintained to show what sort of security issues emerged, and what remediation steps were taken.
Cost control and predictability
On average, organizations are spending 24% of their IT budget on security-related capabilities. As this is a significant chunk of money, it can help to have these costs be fixed and transparent. Managed services providers are generally able to fix (and frequently reduce) costs by bringing scale to their business. The same is true with security services.
With the service level agreement, organizations also have certainty and transparency around the performance of the provider; it often goes beyond what internal IT can deliver.
Freeing up IT resources
IT resources within an organization are generally scarce due to extensive demand and the relatively high cost. For most businesses, security monitoring (never mind 24/7 monitoring) is not even an option. IT staff have their hands full keeping up the network, applications, and end user operations. Without your IT staff working on these core tasks, significant inefficiencies would likely emerge.
Conclusions and next steps
Managed services can offer significant benefits over trying to handle IT projects in house, or selectively outsourcing projects or tasks. When it comes to security, a partnership with a specialized third party is especially important. Without a managed security services provider, your organization is essentially alone in the fight against global security threats.
Fewer and fewer organizations are approaching security entirely on their own, realizing the significance of the threats as well as the benefits of outsourcing. Taking advantage of these benefits starts with reaching out to a managed security services provider like Central.