It can be daunting to step into the often unfamiliar world of security, where you can at times be inundated with technical jargon (and where you face real consequences for making the wrong decision). Employing a Managed Service Provider or MSSP is often in the best interest of small and medium businesses (SMBs).
In a study performed by Ponemon Institute, 34% of respondents reported using a managed service provider (MSP) or managed security service provider (MSSP) to handle their cybersecurity, citing their lack of personnel, budget, and confidence with security technologies as driving factors. But how do you find a trustworthy partner to manage your IT matters?
Here are the top 3 questions any business should ask a potential security provider before signing a contract:
1 – Are you an established and reputable managed service provider?
Okay, this is one that you’ll probably research before reaching out. Look at how long the company has been in business and who their current clients are. Are you confident that they can anticipate the unique technology needs of your business?
2 – Have you worked with other organizations who have technology needs like mine?
You will want to work with MSPs who understand your business and are able to make technology decisions based on your unique needs. Make sure they have a solid track record with other businesses of your size. If your industry has particular compliance concerns or makes heavy use of specialized programs, make sure they have experience with other customers in your industry.
3 – What does your menu of services offer?
Make sure they round out these services with key security offerings. To make sure they have basic IT security controls in place, ask them about industry buzzwords like asset inventory, patch management, access management, continuous monitoring, vulnerability scanning, antivirus and firewall management. The specifics of their answers aren’t as important as a confident, well considered plan.
Security-minded MSPs’ will make sure your software and you web surfing habits don’t provide cyber-criminals with backdoor access to your systems. They will make sure your network is secure, and they will install antivirus on all your computers. Bonus points if they are forward-thinking enough to include Security Awareness Training. Make sure you understand the services that they offer, and ask if any of these services have extra costs.
While these are not all of the questions you should consider asking a potential service provider, they can help get the conversation started and ensure you only work with service providers who meet your unique needs service providers who meet your unique needs.
- Ponemon Institute. (2016, June). Retrieved from Ponemon Research: https://signup.keepersecurity.com/state-of-smb-cybersecurity-report/
- Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study: (2017 June) https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach