Analytics
12/27/2012
09:14 PM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Quick Hits
50%
50%

How To Get Your MSSP In Line With Expectations

Managed security service providers can help your organization save time and money -- if you know the right way to work with them

Excerpted from "How to Get Your MSSP In Line With Expectations," a new, free report posted this week on Dark Reading's Security Services Tech Center.]

Managed security service providers (MSSPs) can be an effective addition to your security portfolio, or they can be a real drag on your operations. For most companies, the reality of working with a managed security service provider is somewhere in the middle.

Any managed service provider should lift at least some cost and effort burden from IT professionals' shoulders. In a perfect world, any managed service provider should meet all service-level requirements, follow escalation procedures to the letter, and provide five nines (at least) of uptime. Of course, some of your providers will be better than others at meeting these goals. Should you cut all ties with providers that aren't even close? Perhaps, but sometimes it's hard to tell where they -- and your organization as a result -- stand.

Some security service providers promise the moon to get your business, then disappear after you've signed the contract. Others almost -- but don't quite -- meet service-level agreements (SLAs). Some providers will be up front when they have dropped the ball, while others hope you don't find out, setting the IT department up for a doozy of a blindside.

The reality is that MSSPs can miss a disastrous breach. They can fail you at the most inopportune time. They can miss SLAs, and they may not actually be as cheap as you originally thought. And outsourcing business functions doesn't mean that you're also outsourcing responsibility and oversight. You need to manage a service provider just as you would any IT staff person or vendor.

Although it may not feel this way sometimes, the success or failure of a relationship with any security service provider is very much within your control. And that success or failure is as much about the capabilities of your service provider as it is about your ability to manage that provider. You may have to play the part of a lawyer, an engineer, a quality-assurance pro, and a project manager.

Structurally and contractually speaking, managing a relationship with a security service provider is in some ways like managing a relationship with an ISP. ISPs promise you a certain level of service and uptime, and, as a customer, your expectation for how an ISP will perform comes from the service level you were contractually promised.

But that may be where the similarities end.

It's easy to get a handle on how an ISP is performing. With an ISP, your service is either up or down. With an ISP, you can easily quantify and measure uptime, and you can easily test SLAs and escalation procedures.

With MSSPs, on the other hand, it can be much more difficult to verify that you're getting the service you expect. Whether you're entering into an MSSP relationship for the first time or have been using an MSSP for years, you need to commit to designing a process to ensure that your provider is performing as advertised. So while you may not be actively managing your firewall or scanning IPS logs every day, you need to make sure that your MSSP is doing these jobs effectively on your behalf.

For a list of tests and practices you can use to monitor your MSSP's performance -- and some suggestions on what to do if it isn't up to snuff -- download a free copy of the Dark Reading report on managing MSSPs.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Threat Intel Today
Threat Intel Today
The 397 respondents to our new survey buy into using intel to stay ahead of attackers: 85% say threat intelligence plays some role in their IT security strategies, and many of them subscribe to two or more third-party feeds; 10% leverage five or more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3407
Published: 2014-11-27
The SSL VPN implementation in Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Software 9.3(.2) and earlier does not properly allocate memory blocks during HTTP packet handling, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via crafted packets, aka Bug ID CSCuq68888.

CVE-2014-4829
Published: 2014-11-27
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in IBM Security QRadar SIEM and QRadar Risk Manager 7.1 before MR2 Patch 9 and 7.2 before 7.2.4 Patch 1, and QRadar Vulnerability Manager 7.2 before 7.2.4 Patch 1, allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests tha...

CVE-2014-4831
Published: 2014-11-27
IBM Security QRadar SIEM and QRadar Risk Manager 7.1 before MR2 Patch 9 and 7.2 before 7.2.4 Patch 1, and QRadar Vulnerability Manager 7.2 before 7.2.4 Patch 1, allow remote attackers to hijack sessions via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-4832
Published: 2014-11-27
IBM Security QRadar SIEM and QRadar Risk Manager 7.1 before MR2 Patch 9 and 7.2 before 7.2.4 Patch 1, and QRadar Vulnerability Manager 7.2 before 7.2.4 Patch 1, allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive cookie information by sniffing the network during an HTTP session.

CVE-2014-4883
Published: 2014-11-27
resolv.c in the DNS resolver in uIP, and dns.c in the DNS resolver in lwIP 1.4.1 and earlier, does not use random values for ID fields and source ports of DNS query packets, which makes it easier for man-in-the-middle attackers to conduct cache-poisoning attacks via spoofed reply packets.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?