MSSP: a future-proof business model

Customers' demands for IT security have changed significantly in recent years. Following this development, numerous managed security service providers (MSSPs) are currently emerging. This is a business model that resellers, system houses and managed service providers are also considering for the future. But what makes MSSPs different and what should be considered when switching?

Whether it is a craft business or a small or medium-sized service company: Data processing has been taking place digitally for years. For the operation and management of their IT infrastructures, they rely on the support of various partners:

  • Resellers are chosen as their partners for the purchase of standardised hardware and software products.

  • System houses, depending on their own focus, go beyond the product range and offer support, additional IT services and complete IT solutions.

  • Managed service providers (MSP) provide ongoing management of IT systems for their customers. Their services are primarily aimed at companies that have no or very few internal IT resources.

Depending on their individual needs, size and structure, companies can choose between different approaches to achieve the same goal: The smooth, secure operation of their IT infrastructure. Although IT security is a component of this, it has so far played a rather limited role in the portfolio of retailers and service providers.

Reliable IT security: a must for operational security

IT security, however, is now extremely important for companies. Companies are becoming increasingly aware that the quality of their IT security measures can have a direct, noticeable impact on their business. For example, a successful malware attack can bring business operations to a standstill and cause high costs. Similarly, a successful theft of sensitive data can have legal consequences, even fines.

The most common attack tactics in 2019 vs. 2021

The most common attack tactics in 2019 vs. 2021 (Source: Bitkom Research 2021)

In addition, cyber criminals are becoming increasingly professional. They have developed attack tactics - above all ransomware - that make almost all businesses a worthwhile target. They continue to refine their techniques and use automation to carry out their attack campaigns.

Correspondingly, smaller and smaller gateways are sufficient for them: for example, software misconfigurations can represent a vulnerability that hackers can exploit. Instead of an "open barn door", so to speak, a "small crack in the facade" is enough for success.

Expertise in IT security: managed security service provider (MSSP)

The dramatic threat situation has ensured that the need for more comprehensive services and intensive security consulting has risen considerably in recent years. Requirements that usually exceed the capacities of specialised traders, system houses and MSPs. MSSPs concentrate exclusively on security and go one step further in their offer:

Beyond implementation and support, they take over the operation and care of their customers' security infrastructures. Among other things, they perform the following tasks for them:

  • Operation of SOC and SIEM

  • Firewall management

  • Email and web security

  • Monitoring IT and network security

  • Vulnerability detection and remediation

  • Security and pentests

  • Virus protection and updating of antivirus software

  • Provision and management of VPN

  • System updates and the application of patches

  • IT security consulting services

Considering the depth and variety of their scope of work, managed security service providers have many years of experience and a high level of expertise in the field of IT security. For them, those are fundamental skills to develop a coherent security approach according to their brief in order to provide the appropriate solutions.

Cloud technology: advantages for MSSPs and customers

MSSPs can run the services they provide in the cloud, which enables them to work highly efficiently. For clients, in turn, it could hardly be any easier to adopt a proactive, professional approach to security. They benefit from streamlined services individually tailored to their needs.

They can decide whether they want to have their security infrastructure operated completely or only in parts by an MSSP. Depending on the company's internal IT capacities, tasks can be outsourced, which optimises processes and costs. They can also act as licensees of the software, which allows them more transparency and control of their provider's work.

For MSSPs, the advantages of their business model lie primarily in

  • Long-term service contracts

  • Plannable revenues

  • Lean processes thanks to automation and remote maintenance

  • High customer loyalty

  • Lower risk through flexibility and scalability

The transformation to MSSP: the market tolerates little waiting time

The demand for professional security services is high now and will likely remain so in the future. The change to a managed security service provider is attractive for specialised traders, system houses and MSPs, because it is associated with little risk: they already have a stable customer base and it is only natural to expand their range of services to meet the needs of their loyal clientele.

The problem many face, however, is that they cannot immediately serve this large market of managed security services. Transforming their corporate structure, building up competence and especially recruiting sufficiently qualified staff involves management processes that take years to complete. This involves high investments, which increases the entrepreneurial risk for the change.

Lywand: automation reduces time-to-market

Significant reduction in effort with lywand

Significant reduction in effort with lywand

Lywand can help resellers, system houses and MSPs to make the transition to a managed security service provider in the short term and with less investment. The solution to the problem lies in artificial intelligence and automation: lywand carries out an automated investigation of IT environments and provides an easy-to-understand catalogue of measures to remedy the discovered vulnerabilities. In addition, lywand automatically proposes the necessary products that are required to remedy the problem. Lywand's service can easily be applied to all customers for MSSPs acting as licence holders as needed.

This offers the following advantages: with lywand, MSSPs can immediately create a cost-effective, workable and attractively priced consultancy service for clients

  • SMEs can be easily served

  • The transition to MSSP can be done more independently and with less risk

Would you like to learn more?

Thomas Haak

September 1, 2022

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