Ever since the internet grew to be the world’s most prominent form of communication, business practices have evolved to capitalize on this phenomenon. Cybersecurity has become a vital part of our everyday lives with the advent of online stores, social media influencers, and real-time trading online. This sparked the dawn of Managed Security Service Providers or MSSPs.
Managed Security Service Providers guard a company or individual’s valuable data and serve as protection against online threats, like hackers or malware, that could potentially harm your business financially.
It’s an essential service— one your business can’t afford to skimp out on— but choosing the right MSSP can be a complicated process. This decision involves analyzing different aspects of your own business and the MSSP you want as your digital protector.
Here’s what to keep in mind when selecting the best MSSP for you.
What Your MSSP Should Offer You
No two MSSPs are the same, but there are few services that each one should offer, or at the very least, have on the table for you to take advantage of. Make sure that your MSSP is capable of:
Your MSSP should be able to physically assess the different aspects of your company’s network by testing its levels and features. This is to locate potential security gaps that could be taken advantage of by cybercriminals. Once these threats are identified, your MSSP will know how to formulate effective security solutions tailored to your specific needs.
Perimeter Management of Client Networks
A perimeter is a boundary that distinguishes a company’s private, sensitive data from publicly available information. A good MSSP provides network security that protects a company’s most valuable intelligence. Setting perimeters limits access to sensitive information by controlling who (and what) is authorized to get into the network.
Managed Security Monitoring
Managed security monitoring entails regularly checking user log-ins and permission changes and further investigating systems throughout the network. It’s the first step in preventing security incidents, so your MSSP should offer this as a service.
Product resale isn’t a security solution— it’s a revenue generator for an MSSP, but it also benefits businesses. In product resale, MSSPs trade various tried and tested online security packages, such as intrusion prevention systems or firewalls.
In doing so, clients can choose from several different components to tailor-make a custom security solution. Product resellers may also provide technical support as part of their packages to maximize the benefits resale models offer.
Product resale is not a must-have for MSSPs, but it’s worth considering if you have particular security needs, and need an optimized and supported system in place.
How to Choose the Best MSSP for Your Business
The MSSP you’re interested in might check all of the above boxes, but that doesn’t mean that you should invest in it. Some qualities make the difference between an excellent MSSP that’s worth your money and inferior services that you should avoid.
Look out for the following when evaluating MSSPs to find the best one for your business.
It goes without saying that the most crucial consideration when selecting an MSSP is experience. It should have a thorough, proven understanding of cybersecurity and be well seasoned in setting up, handling, and maintaining your organization’s sensitive information, systems, and networks.
Remember that your MSSP will have access to your company’s private information. It’s better to spend more on an established MSSP that you can trust than cheap out on one with no professional reputation.
You’ll need an MSSP with adequate staff. If you’re a small business, you can choose an MSSP operated by a small team or even an individual, but larger companies will need more human resources. The larger the MSSP, the more efficient it will be.
Range of Services
Beyond the services that every MSSP should offer, there are some nice extras that you and your business could make use of and appreciate. Nice-to-haves include (but aren’t limited to):
- 24/7 support
- Back-up creation
- Anti-viral/anti-malware support
- Virtual Private Networks
- Mobile security and support
How Much Do MSSPs Cost?
Considering the nature of cybersecurity, it’s no surprise that you won’t find an MSSP at a bargain. It depends on the scale of your business and the demands placed on the MSSP. Though prices vary immensely from company to company, an MSSP could cost you anywhere from $100 – $2000 a month.
How to Save Money on an MSSP
It’s important to note that not all services provided by an MSSP will benefit your business, so don’t choose the one that offers the most because you think it has the highest value.
What you want is an MSSP that is optimized and streamlined for your business, without unnecessary bells and whistles. This applies primarily to small businesses, as it’s an easy trap to fall into.
So, before you settle on an MSSP, you’ll have to figure out which services are a priority and which ones you can do without. To get you started, here are six examples of MSSP pricing models.
- Monitoring Only: Includes surveillance and alert systems but is overall a bare-boned MSSP best suited for small businesses or individuals.
- Per User: Billed as a flat per-month fee that is charged per end user. This plan typically covers devices in a network. It might be expensive for large corporations.
- Per Device: Similar to a Per-User plan, the only difference is that MSSPs charge per machine rather than by users. One benefit is that it’s easy to modify or upgrade as your business grows and is a good starter plan.
- All-Inclusive: This plan generally costs more off the bat, but it includes all remote and onsite support and security features that an MSSP can offer. It’s straightforward, and a huge benefit is that you won’t have to account for price fluctuations. A potential drawback is that it may be overkill for small businesses.
- Tiered: Perhaps the most convenient of all, tiered systems operate on a “You get what you pay for” bundle structure. Those on a budget can pay less for fewer security features or extras, while larger companies can pick premium plans that cover all bases. A great bonus is that you can always upgrade or downscale as needed.
- Pay-As-You-Go: The most flexible of all the plans, you can hand-pick and pay for the services you need and exclude the rest. It’s fully customizable and best suited for businesses or companies with highly detailed or specific cybersecurity needs.
The Bottom Line
In the fast-paced landscape of the information age, online security is non-negotiable, especially for business owners. The number, variety, and increasing severity of threats that are found today are alarming. The last thing you need is for your business to be hijacked, sabotaged, or hacked.
With the increasing demand for cybersecurity and systems management, MSSPs have become such a large part of IT infrastructure that online security can be considered an industry in and of itself. MSSPs are considered the backbone of enterprises, so you’ll do well to invest in one that won’t let you down.