Keeping Business Assets Safe

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New and maturing information technologies provide many organizations with a more level playing field from which they can offer their products and services. And with wireless Internet access, professionals can conduct business any time and at any place.


But there’s a flipside. Internet threats are getting faster, more frequent and more sophisticated. Simple viruses are long gone, and blended threats are now the norm. These threats use multiple methods and techniques to infect and propagate. Not surprisingly, the only way to defend against such threats is to implement multiple protection technologies at multiple layers of the network.


In addition, software vulnerabilities are being exploited quicker than ever. In the past, an exploit might appear months, or even a year, after a software vulnerability was disclosed. Not anymore. Today, the average vulnerability-to-exploit window is less than six days.


Keeping up with these constantly changing and evolving threats is a full-time responsibility. As a result, an increasing number of businesses are partnering with managed security services providers (MSSPs). By working with an MSSP, organizations have a partner with the expertise needed to protect information assets in today’s complex threat environment.


The Right Stuff
An MSSP can provide significant value to businesses. By bearing the bulk of the burden of information protection, an MSSP frees companies to concentrate on conducting and growing their business rather than warding off threats. To enjoy the greatest return on their MSSP investment, organizations must partner with a provider that has the right combination of expertise and infrastructure necessary to provide a solid, reliable and formidable defense against current and future security threats.


Addressing security issues requires experts who are able to provide timely and meaningful insights as well as alerts, specific recommendations and rapid response to emerging threats. To that end, an MSSP must be able to accurately correlate, analyze and interpret large amounts of security data in real time.


Technology expertise also is a key element of managed security services. Only a small number of MSSPs provide an entire range of services, from monitored and managed firewall services to antivirus, intrusion protection, security appliances, vulnerability management and policy compliance services.


Moreover, vendor-neutral MSSP services provide the flexibility to accommodate a variety of security environments. The ability to monitor and manage diverse security products in an integrated manner protects existing business investments while ensuring effective analysis and threat detection.


The most effective MSSPs also have several security operations centers from which they globally monitor and manage security issues around the clock. Rather than providing recommendations based only on statistical samples of data, these MSSPs can offer more specific information based on their examination of data gathered from across the world.


Security operations centers and early warning system technology enable MSSPs to notify customers of emerging global threats to enable them to act appropriately in order to prevent potential attacks. The most comprehensive early warning system combines automation and human expertise to gather and analyze data from tens of thousands of sensors located throughout the globe. The result? Businesses have the information they need, when they need it to proactively protect their business assets from an emerging threat.


Among other communications vehicles, an MSSP also should provide detailed reports that support decisions to enhance security efforts and that outline the cost-effectiveness of the managed services they are offering. Thorough reports include data gathered from managed devices, recommended responses, changes made to the devices by the MSSP and information about the latest threats.


Safe and Sound
To succeed in the current competitive marketplace, businesses must find increasingly inventive ways to stretch every dollar. To that end, the Internet has served as a significant enabler, offering organizations the ability to enhance their operations and deliver quality products and services efficiently and cost-effectively.


As organizations continue to take advantage of the Internet to drive profitability, they also must protect their companies from digital threats that put business assets at risk. Sophisticated threats are appearing with greater and greater speed, while vulnerabilities are being exploited faster than many organizations can respond. It’s a decidedly difficult challenge. And for many businesses, partnering with an MSSP is the answer.


By offloading complex yet critical security issues to an MSSP with the expertise and infrastructure in place to defend against both new and emerging threats, organizations have an effective strategy for maintaining business continuity and safeguarding assets while controlling costs.


Bill Yassinger is director of networking and security solutions for Meridian IT Solutions. He can be reached at by

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