IT security today is more complex than ever. More devices, more connections, and more distributed IT environments have helped broaden the threat landscape for organizations of all sizes.
While businesses understand the importance of building a strong defense, many simply lack the resources and technical expertise needed to effectively combat today’s escalating threats without undercutting other business priorities.
To help ease this burden, companies are increasingly relying on the skill and expertise of managed service providers (MSPs). By assuming responsibility for daily maintenance and support tasks, MSPs can help you keep your IT operation running efficiently, reliably, and securely while freeing up IT resources to focus on more pressing business initiatives.
While outsourcing IT security can be an effective business strategy, not all IT providers are created equal. The range of capabilities and types of services offered by today’s MSPs run the gamut. To help ensure an optimum match for your specific needs, it’s important to carefully evaluate your prospective IT provider across several core areas.
A good IT provider should start by seeking to understand your current security posture, taking into consideration your unique data protection needs, compliance issues, and long-term business goals. How sensitive is the data you manage? What are your current methods of storage and will this change in the future? What are your protocols for data access? This detailed review will help uncover weaknesses or gaps in your security infrastructure. The goal isn’t to sell you a bunch of new technology but to ensure an optimum level of security without sacrificing functionality.
Ideally, you want to look for an IT provider with experience working in your particular field, especially if you operate in a regulated industry, such as healthcare or banking. As data privacy regulations continue to proliferate, one major challenge is keeping track of new compliance updates and changes. Some data assets require minimal protection while others may require more robust security. Determining the optimum balance is essential. If a provider has limited experience working within your industry, this wouldn’t necessarily exclude them from providing reliable service. However, you’ll want to perform extra due diligence to validate their level of competence and their ability to meet your unique security and compliance needs.
Today’s cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever. That’s why it’s critical that your IT provider be up to speed on current and emerging threats as well as the technology needed to combat them. They should be capable of implementing advanced security techniques and practices, including strong access controls, the latest malware protection, and proactive security scanning. You’ll want to make sure the provider you work with can adapt to change and growth and stays on the cutting edge of technology innovation. Your provider should be well-versed in technology planning to help ensure your security strategy is designed, implemented, and managed in a consistent manner.
Solid track record
Your IT provider should be able to provide references and case studies of how they solved security challenges and examples of reliable security service delivery across a variety of IT environments. Active client references provide a good gauge of performance, responsiveness, reliability, and expertise. Customer feedback should provide a view into how the provider operates, and if they are a good match for your organization. Do they understand the business they are protecting? Are they up-to-date with the latest technologies, trends, and potential avenues of attack? Are they inquisitive and aggressive about helping you achieve your business goals and objectives? Can they be your trusted partner?
You may not work 24 hours a day, but your IT infrastructure never sleeps. That’s why it’s important that your IT provider offers around-the-clock support. Your business demands it. Your service provider should be able to clearly outline and define its response capabilities. What is the expertise level of support staff? What is the standard response time? Will you get immediate help from an expert or will someone call you back? Ideally, your provider should offer an automated process to generate and track tickets and resolve problems from a single dashboard.
Finding time to focus on the routine functions of backup and recovery is increasingly difficult in today’s fast-paced business world. That’s where the knowledge and guidance from an outside IT provider can help. As backup and storage processes migrate to the cloud, you’ll want a provider skilled at determining optimum price points, evaluating storage media options, and choosing the best course of action for your unique needs. With today’s flexible managed services offerings, looks for a provider who can integrate the entire process of backup and recovery into a single service. Storage, design, testing, and around-the-clock proactive backup monitoring allow you to keep an eye on performance without having to manage the task yourself.
Planning for IT security is an ongoing process. Central to this effort is understanding your business goals and the role data, security, and compliance play in supporting those goals. Effective IT security requires a holistic approach that effectively blends proven techniques and practices with advanced technologies. A good IT provider will develop a clear picture of your IT capabilities and prepare a defined action plan to address any infrastructure, performance or compliance gaps. You should be able to rely on the advice and expertise of your provider to assist you with ongoing planning and strategy―continuously looking for ways to save money, improve performance, and leverage technology to support your company’s long-term growth.
Gain a performance advantage
Safeguarding your vital IT infrastructure is not just a security concern; it is a fundamental business issue. It requires an intelligent investment in resources to meet an increasingly complex threat landscape. Selecting the right security provider can help ensure the best approach to protecting your vital business assets, mitigating risks, and optimizing your return on investment.