Protecting your digital ecosystem requires teamwork, coordination and communications

As the pace of digital transformation and technology adoption continues to increase, most businesses have rightly decided that there is no way to manage the complex needs of a modern connected organization without 3rd party assistance. The old argument of in-source versus out –source has been replaced with right-source and the highest performing organizations are increasingly finding themselves reliant on a web of both full time employees and external parties working together to extract every ounce of productivity out of unprecedented technology based tools.

Recently in The Monitor, we’ve started exploring the differences between MSPs (Managed Service Providers) and MSSPs (Managed Security Services Providers).

Our guidance has been simple and direct: Where at one time all you needed for your IT operations and infrastructure was an MSP with a Help Desk to deal with network, connectivity, software, and user issues; today, with barbarians at the gate 24/7/365, you need to make an additional investment in MSSP services whose mission is the safety and cybersecurity of your entire digital ecosystem. In doing so you put the needs of your organization in the hands of those most qualified to protect and optimize its technology investments.

There is seldom a “one size MSP+MSSP fits all” solution. We urge you to be cautious if approached by a vendor offering both operational and cybersecurity protections under one roof.  

The Most Important Actions You Can Take to Leverage Your IT Investments

There are, however, opportunities to leverage investments that you’ve made (or should be making) in both an MSP and MSSP, and in the process, secure better ways to operate, protect and manage the entire scope of your digital ecosystem.

The single most important action you can take to leverage your investment in IT services is to have active plans, processes and policies in place that ensure that your MSP and MSSP are in constant communication and on the same page when it comes to responding to cybersecurity threats.

While these two different types of organizations have different missions in terms of how they participate in your IT program, those missions intersect when a cybersecurity alert detected by your MSSP escalates to the point where a remediation action is required. That action should be built on a remediation plan with clearly identified roles and responsibilities that you, your MSP and your MSSP agreed to use as a roadmap.

This is particularly true for a zero-day event, where the possibility of needing to disinfect hardware, take critical servers offline, or even shut down your entire IT operations may be required to prevent a disaster. In this situation, the MSSP provides notification of the event, its criticality, updates, and follow-ups after patches from a vendor are published, while the MSP executes quick response tactics, including interfacing with users, to shut the doors against the possibility of further damage.

Managed Service Providers/Managed Security Service Providers Common Denominators

Leveraging the investments you make in MSP and MSSP services starts with making sure that each vendor’s scope of services share the following common denominators: (1) a commitment to protect the profitability of your company or organization resulting from cyberthreats or attacks, and (2) an obligation to protect output of your network and the digital interactions you have with internal and external stakeholders.

Given the variety of different technologies and applications you use to operate and manage your business, putting these assurances into effect is not an easy task, but in today’s environment, a fundamental one.

4 Keys to Leveraging and Aligning Your Investments in Managed Service Providers and Managed Security Service Providers Services

There are four actions, spearheaded by your IT Department or company senior management, for aligning your investment:

1) MSP and MSSP Communications – on a continuing basis, your company, and both your MSP and MSSP need to communicate and discuss the cybersecurity threats that have been identified via continuous monitoring and standards based assessments; which of those has been escalated to a remediation action, proposed solutions and patches for gaps in cybersecurity defenses, potential upcoming threats, and best practice based recommendations from each the MSP and MSSP.

2) MSP and MSSP Planning – instead of reacting to cyber threats, a plan should be in place that at a minimum, defines the roles and responsibilities of you and your providers. This is especially important when it comes to Incident Response as the worst time to plan for a crisis is when you’re in the middle of one.

3) MSP and MSSP System monitoring – a key function of your MSSP is 24/7/365 monitoring of your digital ecosystem focused on cyber threats to your environment. Monitoring and the communication of monitoring results is one of the most critical keys for early identification and response to cyber threats.

4) Adherence to planned remediation processes – a key part of the panning process is to have planned remediation processes in place, along with training about how to initiate, manage and monitor those processes.

Connect with Us to Start Better MSP and MSSP Coordination Efforts

We welcome a chance to discuss your cybersecurity posture and how your cybersecurity efforts are being coordinated with your IT managed services program. Let’s schedule a no cost, no obligation discussion to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and threats present in your digital ecosystem and opportunities for achieving better levels of protection and effective, efficient, and rapid response and remediation in the case of a cybersecurity event.

Call me at 716-847-2651 today, or submit a contact form, here. Let’s put something on your calendar.