MSSPs - your strongest defence

December 2004 Cyber Security

Historically, security was built into the system architecture - a silent, unobtrusive partner with a low priority level. Now, as technology continues to progress and more features become available from LANs, wireless access and Web services, security's status, undoubtedly, needs a drastic promotion.

The reality is that companies are continually embracing new technology business enablers, however, throughout these paradigm shifts security is often an afterthought and perceived as a hindrance.

Subsequently, organisations' security posture is getting steadily worse rather than better and now require best practices and due diligence.

The statistics for security incidents - which are not limited to virus outbreaks and vulnerability exploits - are frightening. It is estimated that up 75 000 PCs per day are being unwittingly recruited into secret networks that spread spam and viruses. Couple this with companies' heavy reliance on IT and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.

Today, CTOs face several critical security issues:

* How do I effectively manage security costs?

* How do I keep my IT staff up to date on all security threats?

* How do I train staff on a continual basis?

* How do I provide effective 24x7 support when SOCs (Security Operating Centres) is not my company's core business?

* How do I effectively monitor the organisation's security posture in realtime?

The above issues all involve considerable time and investment - the traditional services provided SOCs just will not cut it, by simply implementing firewalls and anti-virus software the battle is not even half won.

As a result, companies are now turning to managed security service providers (MSSPs) that optimise their security infrastructure while ensuring that critical ROI (return on investment). According to Gartner Group, the demand for MSSPs is set to increase by 20,5% over the next few years.

MSS (managed security services) include onsite and remote monitoring and management of security driven by critical 24x7 realtime monitoring, protection, escalation, response processes and expertise.

MSSs include firewalls; intrusion detection systems (IDS); virtual private networks (VPNs); routers; anti-virus/content checking; and periodic vulnerability or penetration studies/testing.

Coupled with intelligent correlation and threat monitoring of the market, an MSSP is the perfect partner to companies' risk management, patch management and asset management practices.

Even though most companies have distributed architectures run in multivendor environments, a remediated approach as provided by an MSSP strengthens companies' overall security infrastructure, which again positively impacts risk management.

Together risk management and remediation can determine asset value, therefore, assessing how the loss of an asset will impact a company's business critical operations.

MSSPs also enhance security simply because of the facilities they offer. Many of these companies have special SOCs located in various parts of the country. These are physically hardened sites with state-of-the-art infrastructure managed by trained personnel.

Whichever way you look at it, MSSPs can significantly strengthen your SOC operations, offering not only critical security solutions but also the expertise that will enable you to bullet-proof your company's critical assets.

For more information contact Adam Crooke, Atos Origin, 011 895 2000, [email protected],

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