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
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-2014-6090
Published: 2015-04-27
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in the (1) DataMappingEditorCommands, (2) DatastoreEditorCommands, and (3) IEGEditorCommands servlets in IBM Curam Social Program Management (SPM) 5.2 SP6 before EP6, 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.3 before 6.0.3.0 iFix8, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.5 iFix...

CVE-2014-6092
Published: 2015-04-27
IBM Curam Social Program Management (SPM) 5.2 before SP6 EP6, 6.0 SP2 before EP26, 6.0.4 before 6.0.4.6, and 6.0.5 before 6.0.5.6 requires failed-login handling for web-service accounts to have the same lockout policy as for standard user accounts, which makes it easier for remote attackers to cause...

CVE-2015-0113
Published: 2015-04-27
The Jazz help system in IBM Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management 4.0 through 5.0.2, Rational Quality Manager 4.0 through 4.0.7 and 5.0 through 5.0.2, Rational Team Concert 4.0 through 4.0.7 and 5.0 through 5.0.2, Rational Requirements Composer 4.0 through 4.0.7, Rational DOORS Next Generation...

CVE-2015-0174
Published: 2015-04-27
The SNMP implementation in IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 8.5 before 8.5.5.5 does not properly handle configuration data, which allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-0175
Published: 2015-04-27
IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 8.5 Liberty Profile before 8.5.5.5 does not properly implement authData elements, which allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.