THE MAGAZINE

Firms Flock to Managed Services

By John Wagley

Organizations are increasingly looking to take advantage of managed security services. The services can offer significant benefits, including low-cost security, technical expertise, and help with compliance. But it isn’t always clear that organizations understand what managed security services providers (MSSPs) offer.

MSSPs tend to provide services related to e-mail security, firewall rules, Web scanning, and intrusion prevention and detection system configurations. What is offered can vary greatly, and companies need to ask questions before committing to a service agreement.

One of the most important considerations is how well the provider meets the customer’s needs and expectations in areas such as interactivity and providing threat context and mitigation support. Sometimes customers want a provider’s involvement, says Kelly Kavanagh, Gartner principal analyst. Other customers prefer a more relaxed relationship, with providers monitoring technology and passing on important alerts but without excessive interaction.

A growing area for the MSSP market is related to security information and event management (SIEM). Using an MSSP with SIEM tools can be an excellent way to detect and uncover increasingly sophisticated threats.

Gartner expects the MSSP market to grow at about 14 percent per year for the next several years. Among the market drivers are firms’ growing interest in reducing IT costs and gaining help in meeting increasingly complex regulatory compliance requirements.

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