3 Key Questions to Ask When Considering a Managed Security Services Provider
4 min

3 Key Questions to Ask When Considering a Managed Security Services Provider

If your organization is considering hiring a managed security services provider (MSSP), there are three crucial questions you should ask before selecting. Keep reading to learn more.

Many IT leaders realize that hiring a managed security services provider (MSSP) is necessary when facing security challenges due to their organization's size, lack of security expertise or inability to hire quickly enough. However, with limited resources, IT teams may struggle to achieve more while being bombarded with other tasks that distract from crucial security needs such as monitoring, maintenance and engineering. As the security landscape is constantly evolving, organizations may need to reevaluate their security goals, vision or mission, and seek out the expertise of an MSSP. To ensure you make the right decision, here are three vital questions to ask when considering partnering with an MSSP.

How can an MSSP help my organization improve operational efficiency?

In order to understand how an MSSP can enhance your operational efficiency, it's crucial to identify your organization's pain points. This will help you determine the specific skillset required from an MSSP. Armed with this information, you can ask pertinent questions about onboarding, service level agreements, service level objectives and security processes to achieve tangible results. While an MSSP should meet your organization's needs, the best ones will exceed your expectations. Additionally, certain improvements may need a thorough evaluation before an MSSP can help you reach optimal efficiency. Therefore, it's important to ask how a prospective MSSP will document, respond and communicate process improvements.

How can an MSSP help my organization achieve reliability?

Maintaining disciplined documentation is crucial for enhancing reliability. For consistency in service quality, it is essential that processes are repeatable. However, not all managed security services are automated, and reliable manpower is required in such cases. Just like any other organization, MSSPs may experience employee turnover or employees going on vacation. If your organization requires an MSSP due to a shortage of human resources, the last thing you want is for your MSSP to fail in providing you with the required number of skilled experts. When interviewing an MSSP, it is best to inquire about their process for ensuring that they can meet your resource requirements. As a best practice, CDW, when hired as an MSSP, always has a contingency plan in place to provide the right number of trained experts, who are well-versed with your organization's managed security needs.

How can an MSSP help my organization reduce risk?

When evaluating how an MSSP can minimize risk for your organization, it's important to take multiple factors into consideration. Here are some key considerations:

1. Security & Compliance: When searching for an MSSP, it's important to ensure they can fully meet your security requirements and consistently evaluate and fortify your organization's weaknesses. Inquire about their capabilities beyond your required needs to ensure they can respond quickly to changing security needs. Your organization's data is a valuable asset, so it's important to research and ask the MSSP about their experience with security breaches and their preparedness to respond to potential incidents. Don't risk compromising your data.

Compliance is also important in tandem with security. Make sure the MSSP has a comprehensive understanding of your industry's evolving compliance needs and can effectively monitor them.

2. Experience: If you want to minimize the risk of security threats, it's wise to seek the help of an experienced MSSP with highly skilled professionals. Before choosing an MSSP, make sure to inquire about the expertise of the professionals who will be working with your organization. An experienced MSSP will be able to provide references and information about their certifications. Many providers also promote customer satisfaction and special certifications. However, to make the best decision for your organization, it's ideal to conduct personal interviews with the MSSP team. During these interviews, you can ask about the qualifications of senior resources, contract SLAs, penalties for holding the MSSP accountable, and more. This information will give your organization leverage for quality assurance.

3. Automation: Automation plays a critical role in boosting security reliability. To assess an MSSP's efficiency, it's imperative to inquire about its automation strategies and capabilities. The absence of automation can hinder an MSSP's ability to identify repetitive patterns.

If you’re ready to engage with an experienced MSSP, you can rely on CDW's unwavering managed security services. CDW’s proficient team of experts will swiftly identify any vulnerabilities, ensure strict compliance with regulations, and optimize protocols to mitigate hazards for your organization. Rest assured that your security is in capable hands.

Dragana Vranic

Vice President of Security and Services
Dragana Vranic is the vice president of managed security services. She has over 15 years of IT management experience in networking technology, including 10 years in information security.