Small business owners operate on tight budgets. Between operational overhead, staffing costs, digital advertising, and professional services to keep companies up and running, most don't have enough money to employ full-time IT professionals, let alone tackle the growing problem of cybersecurity. For an increasing number of SMBs, the solution is outsourcing to managed security services providers. According to a recent report from Webroot, 85% of SMBs plan to increase spending on managed IT security services.

The biggest misconception among SMB owners? That they're not vulnerable. Believing hackers will opt for high-value targets such as large-scale retailers, healthcare providers or financial firms. But SMBs are increasingly part of hacker hit-lists as cybercriminals recognize the inherent benefits of attacking smaller businesses: Lacking security makes it easy to breach network defenses, and lack of personnel makes it virtually impossible to get caught. Without sufficient IT support, companies not only run the risk of getting breached but being unable to detect and remediate security issues. The result? Networks left continually vulnerable and data consistently exposed.

To boost defense in a digital-first marketplace, SMBs can tackle security concerns head-on with a shift from reactive to proactive cybersecurity. It starts with IT security services.

What is a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)?

What is an MSSP? The acronym stands for “managed security services provider.” MSSPs represent the logical continuation of outsourced IT services: By employing subject-matter experts with knowledge of your network and business best practices, it's possible to gain on-demand protection without breaking the bank.

Much like cloud computing, MSSPs offer a way for companies to find best-fit technology deployments: For example, businesses in the healthcare industry may need a greater focus on data tracking and auditing, while those in the financial sector may put a high priority on data encryption. Attempting to hire in-house experts to fill these niche roles is not only costly for SMBs — it may be prohibitively difficult. As noted by Security Boulevard, 74 percent of business now say the lack of available infosec talent impacts them.

MSSPs offer a way to bridge the gap without breaking the bank by outsourcing expertise to trusted providers.

The Cost of Getting Breached

According to the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the total average cost of a breach rose to $3.86 million per organization. For SMBs this often seems like an impossibly high number; after all, large enterprises costs will quickly skew numbers upward. So let's break it down to the cost of a single record: $148.

Do the math: If you lose 10 records, you're out $1480. One hundred? Almost $15,000. One thousand? Ten thousand? Suddenly costs in the millions don't seem so far away.

In addition, data breaches impact consumer perception of data privacy and may cause them to rethink brand loyalty. As noted by a recent IBM study, 75 percent of customer said they would not buy products from a company they don't trust. This leaves businesses with hefty fees and decreasing sales, placing their businesses in the red and their livelihood at risk.

The Benefits of Security as a Service

Leveraging IT Security Services offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Reliable Costs — Much like cloud computing deployments, MSSP solutions come with predictable monthly costs. SMBs decide how much protection they want and what type of services best align with business goals. Providers create a contract which details services, response times, downtime resolutions and potential overages. Once agreed upon by both parties, SMBs can reliably predict critical IT expenses on a per-month basis.
  • Ongoing Protection — Cybersecurity doesn't happen in a vacuum.

Hackers are continually improving their arsenal, testing new ways to compromise networks and discovering vulnerabilities in existing, widely-used code. The result? SMBs need protection that evolves with their organization. MSSPs provide automatic security updates, patching and security best practices to help align SMB outcomes with infosec realities.

  • Improved Public Perception — As noted above, public perception matters.

If customers believe companies don't care about their data, they won't stay loyal. By onboarding well-respected MSSP solutions, small businesses can make it clear they care about consumers' privacy.

  • On-Demand Support — Support is critical for cybersecurity success.

Small, in-house IT teams do their best to respond in times of crisis, but SMBs often face the dual problems of finite resources and limited expertise. By leveraging MSSP vendors to fill critical security gaps, companies can access support 24/7/365.

Embracing Managed Endpoint Security Services

SMBs now leverage a host of endpoints for day-to-day operations. From mobile devices to IoT sensors, virtualized compute workloads and traditional desktops, endpoints are everywhere.

They're also at risk: Even compromising a single endpoint via malicious websites, phishing emails or application downloads can provide attackers access to business networks at large. And as noted by IT Governance, it now takes the average U.S. company more than 200 days to detect evidence of a cyber attack. The potential consequences? Substantial penalties, loss of customer trust, and security problems significant enough to frustrate enterprise-level IT.

How Do SMBs Use IT Security Services to Bridge the Gap?

The answer is security information and event management (SIEM) solutions. SIEM services have emerged to help companies monitor, report, and even take action on potential endpoint risks. This ties into a larger trend for the MSSP sector: Managed network operations centers (NOCs) and security operations centers (SOCs). These centralized services help large organizations manage their network and security posture across the business at large, in turn providing essential visibility into potential threats and necessary responses. This is critical in a technology market driven by increasing geographic distance: Cloud servers might be located hundreds or thousands of miles from corporate offices, and mobile devices used by remote workers may leverage networks from halfway across the globe. Combining security, network, and operations data is critical to gain actionable infosec insight.

Historically, NOCs and SOCs have been out of reach for SMB budgets. Cutting-edge MSSPs are taking a new approach with full-service SIEM platforms that provide the same functionality as combined NOC and SOC solutions — but at a price, small businesses can afford.

How to Evaluate a Managed Security Service Provider

How do you know if MSSP/SIEM solutions are the right fit for your business? Always look for:

  • Clear Terminology — Contracts should be straightforward and contain explicit descriptions of offered services, response times and outcomes if networks are breached.
  • Simple Costs — Watch out for any providers that won't disclose costs upfront or provide simple pricing models.
  • Great Reputation — The outsourced infosec industry is rapidly expanding, bringing a host of new providers into the market space. Here, reputation is critical: Look for vendors with a proven track record for successfully defending networks and remediating SMB infrastructure after an attack.
  • Future-Proof Solutions — Security isn't fire-and-forget. Your MSSP should be continually updating its best practices and technology to provide cutting-edge support and service. Put simply? Attackers evolve. So should your security services.

Effective cybersecurity is now a must-have for SMBs. Combine best-in-class MSSP with cutting-edge SIEM solutions to get ahead of malicious actors and stay competitive in a digital-first marketplace.

About ArmorPoint Managed SIEM Services

ArmorPoint is a security information and event management solution that provides a cost-effective and reliable way to continually protect your business from emerging threats. Through its customizable service pricing model, ArmorPoint’s packages and dynamic levels of expert management support the security strategies of all companies, regardless of available budget, talent, or time. And since ArmorPoint offers 24/7 security support with a team of dedicated specialists, they can provide you with the manpower you need to expertly manage all of your cybersecurity initiatives. See how ArmorPoint can make a difference in your security posture with a risk-free 30 day free trial.