Managed Security and Threat Monitoring Services: Practice or Partner?

If you’re an IT service provider reading the tea leaves, you’ve likely realized the future belongs to cybersecurity practitioners. As cybercriminals run rampant, businesses increasingly need security help.

While you can automate many of the security fundamentals, advanced threats often require active monitoring combined with deep security expertise. If you’re an IT service provider, but you aren’t well-versed in advanced security, it may make sense to partner before you jump in headfirst. Today, we’ll talk about why.

Dealing with the worst threats

Most security technologies attempt to block threats from occurring in the first place. Patches close vulnerabilities. Antivirus looks for known malware and quarantines it, and email security solutions block incoming malicious email.

But some threats require around-the-clock, active monitoring to catch. These threats can slip past many defensive technologies, making them hard to detect and even harder to deal with. If an attacker is bent on attacking an organization, they’ll try multiple attack methods before they find their way in. To stop this, you’ll need the ability to collect and monitor logs, the expertise to analyze them and note the indicators of attack, the threat intelligence to add context, and the know-how to remediate attacks.

Dealing with these threats requires a security operations center (SOC) staffed by experts to deal with these threats. As an MSP, you may be tempted to spin up a security-information-and-event- management (SIEM) tool and try to do it all yourself; however, you may want to fight that temptation.

Play to your strengths

Cybersecurity is a peripheral skillset (and mindset) to many other IT disciplines. If you’re architecting a network service, you want to keep security in mind; but you’re likely focusing on facilitating access rather than preventing it.

Security professionals often think differently. SOC analysts spend their days tracking down alerts and making quick decisions on whether to investigate further. Penetration testers look for ways to break systems, rather than build them. Forensic analysts focus on figuring out what occurred after an incident and, depending on the organization, preserving evidence for law enforcement.

If your background is in traditional IT, jumping full-force into offering SOC-like services might not be the best move. You can pick some of it up, but your time is valuable, and you’re running a business. Finding specialists and evaluating them for your business can be hard, too. You probably already know the tells of a novice network admin—such as referring to the OSI model levels by name rather than number. You won’t necessarily know the tells of a novice security specialist beyond their years of experience.

The Threat Monitoring Service Provider Program

Instead of going it alone, why not partner with a specialized security firm? SolarWinds MSP offers its Threat Monitoring Service Provider (TMSP) program, which lets you partner with one of our approved Threat Monitoring Service Providers. The TMSP allows you to offer SOC services without having to build or manage one yourself. Our TMSPs do the heavy lifting—you keep the customer relationship.

As businesses increasingly face cyberthreats and fall under stricter compliance regulations, service providers offering more specialized security services will be in a good position to both expand the services they offer and reach more potential customers. Partnering with a TMSP helps you gain these benefits without:

  • Learning or setting up new technology: Our TMSP program runs on SolarWinds® Threat Monitor, a cloud-based security-information-and-event-management (SIEM) tool designed to help service providers detect active threats that slip by traditional defenses. However, you still need to learn the technology and know how best to configure it for your users. Your TMSP partner can handle this and bring their experience to bear on running the SIEM tool, while you focus on your core skills.
  • Building a new mindset: As mentioned before, security often requires a different thought process than traditional IT services. It takes some experience getting used to a new way of thinking. The TMSPs already know what to spot as well as how to investigate issues—and make sound decisions.
  • Finding security talent: If you try to offer advanced security on your own, you may still need to search for and hire security specialists to handle the work. It takes time to find the right candidates, and they aren’t cheap. Plus, as mentioned earlier, if you aren’t well-versed in security already, you may not know how to weed out bad candidates. Our TMSPs have been vetted by our team. No need to find your own employees.
  • Losing the customer relationship: Keeping the front-end of the customer relationship helps keep your brand strong. Nothing should change that. With the TMSP program, you maintain the customer relationship; the TMSP only runs the back end, while you handle communications. They’re your customers, and the TMSP program won’t change that.

Taking it to the next level

As you know, the technology industry changes rapidly. As businesses increasingly come under attack from cybercriminals, demand for security services will only increase. If you aren’t ready yet to build out your own in-house security team—or even if you’re unsure—it makes sense to partner with an established security provider to help you meet the market needs without stretching your team too thin. The SolarWinds Threat Monitoring Service Provider program can help. Learn more by visiting our website today.

Guest blog courtesy of SolarWinds MSP. Read more SolarWinds MSP blogs here.