Cyber security and hackers are a constant business threat but how do managed security services providers help organizations succeed at being secure and productive?
The question maybe simple and there are many managed security services offerings out there in Toronto, but they are not all built the same way. Below we will cover the proper way managed security services providers help organizations.
What is a Managed Security Services Provider MSSP?
A managed security service provider (MSSP) is an IT service provider or IT consulting firm that provides an organization with proactive cybersecurity tools, monitoring, and management. These tools may include next-generation virus, spam blocking, intrusion detection, next-gen firewalls, advanced threat protect, as well as encrypted virtual private network (VPN) management.
What is the cost of cybercrime in 2019?
Recently, Accenture and the Ponemon Institute analyzed the latest cost of cybercrime in 2019 in order to help organizations target IT security investments and technical resources.
The study looked at 11 countries in 16 industries including the input from 2,647 senior leaders from 355 companies in order to establish the economic impact of cyberattacks on an organization. The study showed that cybercrime is increasing, and it is taking more time and resources to resolve.
Here are some highlights outlined in the study:
- Security breaches grew last year by 11 percent from 130 to 145
- Average cost of cybercrime for an enterprise increased from $1.4 million to US$13.0 million
- Total value at risk is $5.2 trillion globally over the next five years
This is only one of many studies as to why a managed security service provider (MSSP) is a strategic partner within an organization.
Why do organizations use Managed Security Service Providers?
Managed security services providers in Toronto come in many different flavours. The true question is how much security services does your organization need? Not all organizations have the same requirements therefore not all managed security services providers are the same either.
Organizations may either outsource all or aspects of their IT security functions to Managed security services providers (MSSP). A MSSP can offer a variety of different levels of security monitoring, vulnerability risk management, threat intelligence, as well as intrusion management.
These services can even be offer managed security services to support organizations in regulated industries that must meet compliance requirements. This can include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The success to the managed security service provider (MSSP) is industry comes down to cost savings. If an organization were to setup an internal in-house cybersecurity team, the cost and ongoing training would be large. For this reason, using a MSSP is a more cost-effective option as it will save money on equipment, software tools, and other operational costs.
What tools do Managed Security Service Providers use?
There is a wide variety of tools that a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can use to protect and organization from cyber security and other online threats.
Here is a list of some tools that help Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) protect organizations proactively.
- Industry leading Next Generation Firewall
When meeting with potential clients and the discussion of security happens, the first level of defense mentioned is next generation (next gen) firewalls. Usually the next question from the client is what is a next generation firewall compared to a regular firewall?
Firewalls are a standard security tool for many companies, but in today’s changing threat landscape, next generation firewalls are the only firewalls that can provide proper protection.
According to Gartner, a next generation firewall (NGFW) is a deep-packet inspection firewall that moves beyond port and protocol inspection. It blocks and adds application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, antivirus, and intelligence from outside the firewall.
What is the difference between traditional firewalls vs. next generation firewalls? A lot to be honest.
Next generation firewalls are much more powerful and advanced than traditional firewalls used many organizations. Even thou their basic function of protection is the same, next generation firewalls have extremely more horsepower. They use both static and dynamic packet filtering as well as offer VPN support to ensure that all connections between the network, internet, and firewall are valid, encrypted, and secure.
The most obvious difference of a next generation firewall is the ability to filter packets based on applications since they have extensive control and visibility of applications. This enables the ability to identify using analysis and signature matching. You can use a white list, or a signature based IPS to distinguish between safe applications and unwanted ones using SSL decryption.
Additional benefits of next generation firewalls include the ability to block malware from entering a network as they are more powerful and are equipped with features such as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). These firewalls are a low-cost option for organizations looking to improve their basic IT security since they include antivirus, firewall, intrusion prevention, content filtering service and much more.
If you are in business, installing a next generation firewall should be a requirement and not an option. Cyber threats are increasing an alarming rate and changing every day. Next generation firewalls give flexibility as it protects devices and organizations from a wide variety of cyber security threats.
Next generations firewalls are great network security, but they are one piece of the puzzle used by Managed Security Service Providers.
The success to network security is a multi-layered security approach.
- Next Generation Antivirus with artificial intelligence (AI)
There is standard anti-virus and now there is Next Generation Anti-virus. It carries other names such as “Next-Gen Anti-virus” or “NGAV”. We outline some key differences including why Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) use Next Generation Anti-virus (NGAV) instead of standard.
Standard anti-virus is based on the four following principles:
- Signature Detection – Signatures is a collection database (DAT file) that needs to be consistently updated by the vendor in order to recognize new threats such as files, applications, and data. Due to the nature that this change frequently, it does not always catch everything and does not offer solid reliability.
- Heuristic Detection – Heuristic detection is a great tool that can be used to detect Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). PUPs are simple changes but can be harmful such as changing your search engine settings or cracked software that has a virus in it.
- Virus Scanning – Virus scanning is simply the scanning using the signature detection listed above. The system looks at each file on the system and tries to match it against a virus database. Issue here is the signature may be behind or not updated as well as the system needing up to an hour to scan depending on your system, operating system, hardware, and infections.
Next-Gen Anti-virus (NGAV) systems do it a little differently however much more effective as it is based on the four following principles:
- Exploit Techniques – A Next-Gen Anti-virus (NGAV) tries to block a process which is doing an exploit and trying to bypass a normal process operation. It is not looking at the file type, it is looking at the process. The CONS to this method is there may be false positives as processes and applications may do things that resemble the behavior of a virus.
- Application Whitelisting – This the process for validating and controlling. Every process is permitted or denied access to the operating system. This requires control over the OS as well as access to a list of application signatures.
- Micro-Virtualization – This method blocks Direct Execution for a process however this uses a lot of CPU and does not really detect viruses, it disables the ability to affect your operating system.
- Machine Learning – This technique enables accurate detection and block rates of cyber threats based on behaviour as well as whitelisting. The more data, the longer it runs and the more effective it is for your organization.
- Artificial Intelligence – The good thing about AI is that it can adapt to the changes quickly therefore blocking or detecting.
- EDR Forensics – This process a large set of data collected from the endpoint such as logs, packets, and behavior.
Organizations must understand that anti-virus is one line of defense on a multi layered approach to security.
- Enterprise-class Remote monitoring and management (RMM)
No matter if you are a managed IT services provider (MSP), Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), or internal IT department, you should be using an enterprise class Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool to proactively manage your network.
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools help organizations to automating tasks, track systems and devices, as well as implement security policies to protect the organizations from cyber security threats.
Organizations should inquire as to which Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools are being used by your managed IT services provider (MSP) or Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to ensure it is not free or freeware. The provider should also make it clear on how many automated scripts are available as well as how many are dedicated towards security.
- Proactive Device Hardening
Device hardening is provided in various security layers. The layers include protection at the host level, the application level, the operating system level, the user level, the physical level and all the sub levels. The goal of systems hardening is to reduce security risk by eliminating potential cyber attack options.
This includes a unique collection of tools, industry leading techniques, and best practices. This will reduce vulnerability in applications, systems, infrastructure, firmware, and other areas that may open a door to hackers.
This would essentially eliminate non-essential programs, functions, applications, ports, permissions, and access therefore giving cyber criminals and hackers fewer opportunities.
A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) provider will use a methodical approach to audit, identify, close, and control potential security vulnerabilities including the following:
- Application hardening
- Operating system hardening
- Server hardening
- Database hardening
- Network hardening
Device hardening is an ongoing continuous effort that pays off in the long run. Most organizations, even with internal IT departments do not have the time or resources to stay ahead of this cybersecurity threat.
- Employee Phishing Attack Simulation and Training
There are many security features than can be put in place but if an organization wants to reduce their largest attack surface, they must train their end users, period.
In real-world cyber-attacks, organizations and end users are relentlessly bombarded with spear-phishing and socially engineered schemes from cyber criminals. They wait on an unsuspecting user to click, the process starts.
When working with a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), they will be able to simulate hundreds of realistic phishing attacks on your users. Based on the outcome, they will be able to better tune the network as well as outline what training is required to keep your organization safe.
They will help you understand your security health and measure overall risk levels across your organization.
- Organization Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is also known as pen testing or ethical hacking. The goal of it is to test organizations, network, applications to find security vulnerabilities that a cybercriminal or hacker can exploit. Penetration testing can be done on multiple levels including applications as well as performed manually by a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).
How do you choose a penetration testing partner?
Penetration testing has become very popular due to all the security concerns in the news daily. Here are 8 best practices when selecting a penetration testing (pen test) partner in Toronto:
- Define what type of pen test your organization requires
- Evaluate the skills of the pen test IT consulting team
- Ask for relevant pen test references
- Find out how the pen test data will be secured
- Ask for business liability insurance on the penetration testing partner
- Get a sample report of their pen test
- Clarify the methodology and process that will used during the pen test
- Ask about options for periodic pen test in the future
When evaluating a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) for penetration testing, you need to ensure they understand best practices, the functionality of everyday IT functions such as being a managed IT services provider more than the cost. You need to ensure your organization thoroughly evaluates their methodology, deliverable, data security practices, and project management capabilities.
When picking a long-term partner such as a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), you need to ensure that they will reduce the IT security and compliance. They need to deliver flexible managed security services and threat intelligence that align with your business goals, enhance existing security services, infrastructure, and employee management.
The Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) should include services such as Targeted Threat Intelligence, Log Monitoring and Management, Managed Security Services, Security Device Management, Professional Security Services, Network and Vulnerability Management, Compliance Services, Cloud and Virtualization Security, and Critical Incident Response.
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