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5 Criteria for Choosing the Right Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)

by Shiva Kashalkar on Friday August 18, 2023

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Organizations can choose to work with an MSSP for several reasons, such as security talent shortages, restricted IT budgets, the complexity of staying on top of sophisticated threats and a bewildering number of technology choices. Part 9 of our Definitive Guide to Data Loss Prevention series provides 5 criteria for selecting the right MSSP for your business.

Choosing an MSSP is a complex decision, but selecting the right partner can bring a broad range of specialized skills and tools that you would otherwise lack the time, budget, and resources to develop in-house. You can simplify the MSSP selection process by comparing MSSPs against a common set of criteria. The following are five criteria to help you choose the right MSSP for your organization’s data protection needs.

1. Is the MSSP a data protection expert?

Find out if the MSSP knows what it takes to protect your data. Have they been in the business of protecting organizations' sensitive data long enough? Do they understand your organization’s specific needs for data protection? The MSSP you choose should not only be able to reduce workload on your info security team but also act as a remote extension of your team, protecting your data from insider and outsider threats. Important aspects to consider would be experience in the industry, longevity in business and strong industry partnerships.

2. Is the team qualified?

As you evaluate different MSSPs, make sure to qualify the engineers and staff behind the scenes. Do they know data protection? Are they the subject matter experts? Can they put you ahead of advanced threats? How accessible are they? Where are they based? After all, you are putting your sensitive data protection in their hands. A well-qualified MSSP should be willing to answer all the questions above and allow you to interview the key team members.

3. Can they help you stay ahead of advanced threats?

Make sure the MSSP offers a broad range of solutions not only for your today’s data protection needs, but also to protect your sensitive data from malware that are getting increasingly sophisticated, targeted, and difficult to detect. Your MSSP should be a data protection expert that watches out advanced threats for you while you focus on your core business.

A good MSSP will bring collective knowledge from other customers and security sources (research, threat intelligence, government alerts, etc.) to keep you ahead of advanced malware. You could never achieve this collective knowledge on your own and thus it's a critical benefit of using a MSSP.

4. How do they handle your sensitive data?

It is important to understand where your sensitive data resides and how the data is handled by the managed service provider. Make sure you have complete transparency into how the data movements happen within the MSSP environment and how they provide you with data visibility. Your ideal MSSP will store and handle data in secured cloud environments.

5. Do they have references?

Does the MSSP have good references? Pulling out public references in the security industry is challenging. However, have a conversation with your MSSP on how they have positively impacted the security needs of comparable companies that are similar to you in size, stage, and/or industry. Your MSSP may be able to set up private interviews with their references.

In conclusion, there is no “one-size-fits-all” MSSP out there and choosing the right MSSP for your organization is not always simple. Hopefully, the above criteria gives you the important aspects to consider and review as you move forward with this endeavor. To learn more about MSSPs for data protection, read our eBook, The Definitive Guide to Data Loss Prevention.

Read more in our Definitive Guide to DLP Series

  1. Do you need DLP? Well, do you feel lucky?
  2. The Evolution of DLP: 4 Reasons Why DLP is Back in the Limelight
  3. Debunking the Three Myths of DLP
  4. Call it a Comeback: 7 Trends Driving the Resurgence of DLP
  5. All Trends Lead to Data-Centric Security
  6. What is Driving Your Data Protection Agenda? Determining the Right Approach to DLP
  7. Building a Value-Based Business Case for DLP
  8. Positioning DLP for Executive Buy-In
  9. 5 Criteria for Choosing the Right Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)
  10. How to Evaluate DLP Solutions: 6 Steps to Follow and 10 Questions to Ask
  11. Getting Successful with DLP: Two Approaches for Quick DLP Wins
  12. Two Frameworks for DLP Success

Tags:  The Definitive Guide to Data Loss Prevention Managed Security Services

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