Achieving the required success with an MSSP comes down to how the vendor can extend the security capabilities of the organization or deliver affordable security infrastructure.
The risks and rewards associated with the integration of managed security services are steadily maturing and have become a lot clearer for current and potential customers. In fact, the “Lesson Learned: Managed Security Services, 2019” report based on responses of 140 MSSP customers, found that while some organizations are able to capitalize on third-party security providers, others are finding it difficult to extract value from their partnership. The same report also revealed that CISOs across the enterprise landscape are under constant stress to prove their spending on MSSPs to their board, mostly comprised of non-security professionals, due to improper metrics and technology complexity, among various other things. On the other hand, the managed security services vendors have a hard time justifying how their solution supports business requirements to organizations.
Partnering with a proficient MSSP can help organizations improve the overall quality of protection and help customers augment onsite talent and breadth of skills, particularly in areas with a shortage of deep skills. Also, the MSSP engagements yield desired results when CISOs have a clear idea of their capabilities, their business requirements and hence the best fit solution with clearly outlined demands for their vendors.
Here are a few risk factors that CISOs should consider when hiring an MSSP:
Not assessing their security strengths and weaknesses
One of the biggest risks when working with an MSSP is if they cannot complement or amplify their team’s strengths. Another risk factor is choosing a vendor that does have state-of-the-art technology but it is not relevant to addressing the necessary challenges of the enterprises. Therefore, CISOs should carefully assess the strengths and weaknesses of the MSSPs to ensure they match their requirements.
Assuming that vendors are aware of the internal systems
At times, enterprises are guilty of relying on their MSSP to understand the internal IT environment as well as its processes. If they fail to take the responsibility of managing the process, conducting risk assessments, and reviewing the work being done then there’s a high chance that it can hurt the process in the long term. Moreover, lack of collaboration with the IT team while on-boarding MSSP can drastically reduce their visibility and result in a long onboarding process.
Not preparing for information asymmetry
When enterprises don’t have professionals to perform onsite tasks, they often reach out to MSSP. But, this also indicates a lack of ability to determine whether the vendor they have hired is delivering the right services for which they have contracted. This asymmetry in information can create disoriented workflows that further weaken the MSSP programs.
Having limited analytics and integrations
According to experts, MSSPs are not often keen to collaborate with non-contracted technologies. This results in limited integration with all the other security controls that an organization may have in place. Additionally, most organizations are forced to micromanage their MSSP’s interaction with the ecosystem of IT suppliers when it comes to fixing security issues. A lack of context and criticality forces organizations to work overtime verifying as well as double-checking every alert they receive.
Most of these risks can be addressed during the vendor evaluation process, however, organizations should have a structure that enables them to address it correctly. They should thoroughly research the vendor’s service delivery model and figure out how their deployment and onboarding processes work. Organizations should ensure that they can understand what services are sold to them as separate modules or packages as well as map them to their security needs.
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