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Understanding Managed Security Services, Part 1

Author: The SageNet Team/Friday, January 22, 2016/Categories: Security Services


The Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that cybercrime costs the U.S. economy about $100 billion per year. The cost per breach to an enterprise typically ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. A rash of highly publicized breaches has made security a higher priority for most enterprises. The federal government, a top target and repeated victim of cybercrime, passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which promotes the sharing of threat data between the government and private enterprises.

Despite the increased sharing and awareness, threats are growing in number and sophistication, whether they come from terrorist groups, organized crime, or employees within an organization. Industry regulations are growing in number and complexity, further draining IT security resources. Meanwhile, security spending, as a percentage of overall IT budgets, has largely remained flat despite the expectation of better IT security. All of these factors make it difficult for organizations to scale their security expertise and effectively monitor, prevent and respond to threats while adhering to compliance requirements and protecting employee and customer data.

The need to mitigate risk resulting from a dangerous threat climate and challenging regulatory environment without additional security spending has led to an increased demand for managed security services. A study from Research and Markets projects the managed security services market to grow 17.3 percent annually through 2019. This fast growth is expected to be driven by organizations seeking more advanced security services.

A separate study from Allied Market Research found that the managed security services market is expected to grow 15.8 percent annually through 2020 as organizations attempt to secure employee-owned mobile devices and meet increasing regulatory requirements. According to the report, respondents believe that cybercrime is the greatest threat to their reputation, which shows that organizations recognize the impact of a breach is more than financial.

Managed security services refer to network security functions that are handled by a managed security services provider (MSSP). For example, an MSSP can provide security services 24x7 including security event monitoring, managed SIEM services, vulnerability management, intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, threat intelligence, file integrity monitoring, and incident management. An MSSP can manage an organization’s on-premises security solutions or deliver cloud-based tools and services via the Internet. The MSSP’s team is more aware of the latest threats, and able to respond more rapidly to security incidents, due to a full-time focus on security for customers across multiple industries.

Managed security can also involve on-demand, consultative services to supplement day-to-day security tasks. For example, an MSSP may offer the services of a virtual chief information security officer (CISO), a senior-level security professional who can provide security planning and program design to help an organization optimize IT investments and support. Ongoing security assessments and audits can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of an organization’s security tools and processes. This can include penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, which are used to identify and analyze the risk of vulnerabilities in a corporate network and provide mitigation strategies. Compliance services are common in highly regulated industries, such as finance, healthcare and retail, because they help organizations stay on top of the latest regulatory requirements and maintain data privacy.

In the next post, we’ll compare in-house security management with outsourcing, discuss the benefits of managed security services, and tell you what to look for in an MSSP.


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