Managed Security Services: What Are They?

control center for managed IT services with multiple stations and large screen monitors mounted on the wall

Every managed IT service provider’s portfolio includes some level of managed security services. The question is, are the managed security services you are receiving comprehensive enough to protect your organization from a breach? And what should you be looking for to know what the answer is? Below are the minimum requirements for any managed IT services company providing managed security services. If you are receiving anything less than this, you are at a greater risk for a data breach.

Endpoint Detection and Response

While most individuals are familiar with anti-virus software, it is actually an outdated approach to virus detection. Anti-virus software can only protect against viruses that it is familiar with. With more than 560,000 new pieces of malware detected each day, this equates to the anti-virus software being outdated as quickly as it’s installed.

On the contrary, endpoint detection and response is a system that looks at patterns of life that include abnormal and suspicious activity on the network to predict emerging and unknown threats before anything is infected. To clarify, this method effectively operates in real-time and is a valuable tool for preventing a data breach.

Two-Factor Authentication

Everyone is familiar with two-factor authentication, which can be an inconvenience at times. Making certain that this feature is turned on in every possible circumstance will provide a second layer of security and help prevent a hacker from being able to access your data or financial information. Minimally, your managed IT service provider should help ensure that you are utilizing this feature across the board.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

With a common thread of human error, data breaches of all kinds are becoming increasingly common. Large corporations have seen a spike in ransomware attacks and exposure of client information in the last several years that has put them in the headlines and threatened their reputations.

In the event of a ransomware attack or disaster, it is crucial that your managed security services provider has properly backed up your data. What does that mean? Proper backup protocall means having at least 3 copies of image-based backups on two different media types with one of them being in the cloud and tested. These backups should occur daily to make certain that the data is always up to date. Why so many? Because ransomware attacks can infiltrate and encrypt your network’s backup system making it impossible to restore from that backup option.  It is imperative that you have a second and third backup in place if you want to avoid paying the ransom.

Even with three copies of your backups in place, if a disaster occurs, the recovery process could take as many as three days to restore. Backup and disaster recovery is a science and should be left in the hands of the experts. If your managed security services provider has not taken the necessary steps to protect your data, you need to seriously consider finding a provider who does. Undoubtedly, if something catastrophic happens, you want to be able to get back up and running as quickly as possible. So make sure you have highly-trained professionals in place who can make that happen.

Proactive Maintenance and Remote Monitoring

Simply put, proactive maintenance involves the installation of a device on a computer to alert your managed security services provider of any issues from a daily operating standpoint. They can then remotely monitor your system for things like storage capacity issues, patches, and software updates. This feature of managed security services keeps all of your devices functioning at the highest level. It also brings a greater awareness and visibility to anything that might be going wrong.

Advanced Email Protection

Human error is the largest cause of data breaches. The majority of the errors come from phishing, vishing, or smishing attacks. In essense, advanced email protection takes a link or attachment and puts it in a proverbial sandbox to determine whether or not it contains malicious content before allowing it to open. This software provides another layer of protection from data breaches.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

As stated above, human error is the largest cause of data breaches. So it would stand to reason that ensuring that all of your employees are continuously trained in what to look for and how to detect anything suspicious is an ongoing measure that is included with any managed security services. However, some managed IT service companies only provide minimal training to your employees. Ongoing monthly training is critical to keeping your staff hyper aware of current phishing, vishing, and smishing methods and suspicious of all links and attachments. This key piece alone will reduce your risk of a cyber attack by up to 70%. Cyber criminals are changing their tactics continually. Keeping your staff educated on those changes is imperative.

Remediation of Security Incidences and Events

When something does go wrong, it is important to have a managed security provider who is experienced in remediating the issue. An experienced security team will regularly implement a red team/blue team event wherein the red team tries to destroy an environment and the blue team tries to patch it and prevent the red team from getting in. These practice events keep the team actively trained for real-life events. It allows them to know where to look and how to get your company back to normal. It is definintely a fair question to ask your provider about their remediation experience.

When you combine all of these features of managed security services, your risk of a cybersecurity incident is greatly minimized. Make sure that your managed IT service provider is providing you with an optimal security package. It’s okay to go through this checklist with them.

Want a customized solution based on your needs? Not quite sure where to go from here? Let the experts at Ford Office Technologies give you a hand at 1-800-633-3673 or by emailing

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