Top 6 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Managed Security Service Provider

Across industries, most companies could benefit from hiring a managed security service provider (MSSP), whether it be for a specific security initiative or their entire security program. 

An MSSP can take care of both routine and emergency security issues, offering 24/7 support, and swiftly handling issues that would otherwise overwhelm an in-house IT department. Outsourcing security can be particularly beneficial if any of the following conditions sound familiar:

  • You have limited IT personnel;
  • You’ve struggled to hire security staff;
  • Your business lacks internal expertise in security;
  • Your in-house IT department lacks the resources needed to implement a large security program. 

Should you outsource security?

If you are considering outsourced security services, it’s essential to pose a number of questions to any MSSP companies you’re considering. Since your goal is to have them handle your sensitive data and file storage, a thorough evaluation following best practices will ensure your company’s continued growth and success. It will also do wonders for your peace of mind.

What considerations should you pursue when looking to hire a managed security service provider? What standards set the best MSSP companies apart? Here are the questions that top security professionals recommend businesses ask when looking to partner with an MSSP:

1. What Will The MSSP Do For Your Organisation?

When looking to partner with a business, a good managed security service provider will examine the firewall, patching, and anti-virus software and take a holistic approach to protection. A top MSSP should cover the following points in their strategy for your business:

  • Management – risk management, procedures, policies, auditing, reporting, training, and education;
  • Adaptability – culture, industry, backup, business continuity and resilience, and disaster recovery;
  • Technology – firewall, wireless, Unified Threat Management (UTM), Virtual Private Network (VPN), best practices, and patch management;
  • Compliance – additional standards or regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

2. Does The MSSP Provider Have The Expertise You Need?

Not all MSSPs have the same training and certifications. Not all staff are experienced with the same brands of hardware or software. With this in mind, it’s important that you hire an MSSP that has expertise in the specific technology your company uses. They also need to have enough employees with the right education and training to work with your routine and emergency IT issues. Look for credentials including Premier Partner, Gold Certified Partner, Partner of the Year, and Mid-Market Specialist from manufacturers they work with. Partner recognition awards are a good indication of a high level of competency.

“Rely on references from recently deployed customers, who are of the same size, in the same vertical, and with similar challenges to what you currently have. Have in-depth conversations with the references.”

Ken Baylor, PhD

3. Does The MSSP Company Have The Right Resources?

This question comes with a number of follow-up questions: 

  • Are they big enough, and do they have the number of support staff you need? 
  • Are their people trained and certified at every level of the organisation to service clients in the manner that you need? 
  • Do they understand your industry and any industry-specific issues you have? 
  • Can they support your business 24/7? 

It’s essential to cover all these points as even the best MSSP may fall short if they don’t have the right resources or aren’t experienced in your industry. For example, an MSSP that specialises in health care services may not be a good fit for a manufacturing company. IT systems may be similar, but jargon, slang, and abbreviations are different, and each industry may have specific regulations with which to comply.

4. What Changes Do They Recommend To Improve Cyber Security?

Once again, this question comes with a number of follow-ups: 

  • Do they value the investment you’ve already made in your IT systems? 
  • Do they recommend logical changes or upgrades to improve your security? 
  • Do they actually require changes to be able to work with you because they can’t support your current system? 

These questions will help you find a company that will mesh with yours, make your job easier, and save you money and time.

5. How Will Your Company Benefit From Partnering With The MSSP Provider?

Outsourcing digital security to an MSSP is a partnership. The MSSP is there to protect your data, your infrastructure, your clients, and your staff. Having a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place will clearly lay out the responsibilities of everyone involved.

6. MSSP Pricing – How Much Will Outsourced Security Cost?

Costs vary depending on the level of security and the scale of service you need. However, costs should be clearly listed upfront, with a monthly contract that won’t come with any unexpected price hikes down the line. Any changes to your costs should be approved before the work is done and billed. Costs should cover management, monitoring, and reporting, and these should all be outlined in the SLA.

If you have any questions about outsourced security or selecting the best MSSP for your needs, feel free to contact Invotec or fill out the form below to request a free consultation. Our IT experts are always happy to help. 

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