Organisations worldwide face a rising wave of cybercrime, underlining the ever-growing threat to personal data. In Australia, these cyber threats have and will continue to inflict significant financial and reputational damage. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), cybercrime incidents cost a small business $39,000, a medium business $88,000, and a large business over $62,000 on average.
Although achieving total digital security is unrealistic, companies can still strengthen their defences and establish a solid security foundation by cultivating a robust cybersecurity culture, implementing tried-and-tested strategies, and seeking expert advice. A highly effective strategy for business leaders to consider is the incorporation of managed security services (MSS) into their operations.
Essentially, MSS are outsourced security departments that are focused on enhancing the security and resilience of business networks. These services maintain constant vigilance over an organisation’s systems, responding quickly to any security incidents. Their role is to provide reliable cybersecurity controls and expertise tailored to complex business environments. They supplement existing security measures and provide an additional layer of protection through redundant systems and a wealth of industry experience.
How business leaders can scope their needs
A company’s investment in a managed security services partner (MSSP) can deliver significant returns. However, the key is to both carefully select a suitable partner and accurately define the project scope. It’s important to remember that the success of the cybersecurity initiative hinges heavily on these two factors.
There are four elements that organisations need to clearly understand to scope their needs accurately:
Cyber risk exposure: a company’s level of exposure to cyber threats is a crucial determinant of the tier of managed services necessary for secure operations.
Valuable data identifying essential data for operations is key in protecting an organisation from substantial financial and reputational damage in the event of a data breach.
Systems understanding system vulnerabilities to common cyberattack types, and identifying gaps in technology or expertise, will help a business prioritise its immediate security needs.
Assets a thorough audit of assets, including networks, computers, virtual appliances, data centres, and other ICT systems, along with physical and environmental components, is vital to the overall security of operations.
Stop scope creep in its tracks
Thoroughly documenting and communicating the complete security requirements of an organisation before even calling a MSSP is key to both coverage and cost-effectiveness. Scope creep—a common pitfall in IT and cybersecurity projects—happens too often, usually when there is a lack of clear communication between a company and the MSSP. Usually, this refers to continuous or uncontrolled growth and changes to a project’s requirements over time and can be detrimental to success. To avoid this, businesses should develop an explicit scope statement at the outset that is documented and carefully controlled.
All parties need to be on the same page from the very beginning, with expectations cemented in service level agreements (SLAs) and a constant feedback mechanism that closes the loop on iterative project work. When entirely reactive, projects can easily become more expensive and time-consuming than originally anticipated, compromising productivity and trust.
The best way to avoid scope creep with any managed service provider (MSP) is by front-loading effort in the planning process before any work begins. With cybersecurity in particular, every minute spent planning before deploying to a production environment is worth an hour down the line. The evaluation process before engaging a MSSP should address this comprehensive outline of requirements.
With agreements in place, proposed security services can then be defined and structured with that holistic view of the landscape, preventing time and cost blowouts that will inevitably result from rushing the all-important scoping process.
Securing an organisation’s future with the right MSSP
A company doesn’t have to confront the growing threat of cybercrime alone. By building a strong cybersecurity culture, planning carefully, and choosing the right MSSP, business leaders can enhance their defences against today and tomorrow’s digital threats.
The best MSSPs can offer the highest-quality tools and teams that can significantly strengthen an organisation’s cybersecurity without requiring a heavy investment. The ideal partner will fully understand both the company and the broader security landscape.
Unfortunately, most businesses don’t have the resources of skills needed to manage their cybersecurity effectively. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Blue Connections IT team.
Chief Technology Officer, Blue Connections IT