Balancing Complexity and Simplicity in Cyber Security

The reality of cyber security today is that business leaders are having to contend with a high degree of complexity. From accelerated digital transformation and cloud adoption in support of an agile workforce to the dissolution of the traditional secure perimeter, such a situation is compounded by a cyber-skills shortage and an unmanageable volume of tools and providers to choose from when implementing a cyber security strategy.

Increased business risk: the cost of complexity

The business challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred faster adoption of technologies, services, and applications that rely on data, networks, and devices. These are often operated by companies outside the organisation’s perimeter and delivered over a cloud infrastructure which is as opaque as it is flexible.

The technology architecture of many organisations, often made up of layers of inflexible legacy systems that have grown “organically” over many years, represents an ever-increasing management and security challenge as growth adds complexity. This complexity and “network sprawl” can lead to vulnerabilities remaining undiscovered for months, or years, as data paths and permissions grow exponentially to support rapidly changing business requirements.

Furthermore, the pressures on these legacy structures have intensified as companies have pushed their current IT to keep pace with the digital natives. As a result, complexity has driven cyber risks and associated costs to dangerous new heights and has made the implementation of effective security mechanisms increasingly difficult.

As the world shifts to the new normal and senior leaders revisit their growth strategies, it’s a good time to assess where your business is on the cyber maturity spectrum and how significant the cost of complexity has become.

Effective cyber security is not (just) about technology

It’s no secret that the cyber security industry has multiple challenges. Despite there being thousands of vendors in the market and over $172bn being spent annually on information security and risk management, the number, type, and complexity of breaches continues to rise at pace.

If technology alone was the answer, the problem would already have been solved. Yet 63% of organisations reported a breach in the last year according to analyst firm Forrester.

Many organisations make the mistake of buying top-of-the-line cyber security technologies but then lack the skills, expertise, and resources to configure and use them to their full advantage – an issue compounded by the cyber skills gap of more than 2.72 million professionals globally.

The reality is that the effort, time, and expertise needed to establish 24×7 threat detection and response capabilities in-house can be overwhelming. Many organisations try to protect their data by implementing security technologies such as XDR and SIEM platforms across a large number of endpoints, network, and cloud environments. However, these technologies can be difficult to deploy, configure, and maintain, and often take too long for an organisation’s in-house resources to gain expertise on them due to other business priorities that limit their time.

As a result, many organisations turn to managed security service providers (MSSPs) to remove the burden of deploying, configuring, and managing their security across multiple environments. MSSPs provide 24×7 threat detection and response capabilities, as well as the expertise needed to properly configure and maintain security technologies. In addition, MSSPs can help organisations keep up with the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats resulting in a greater ROI.

In order to stay ahead of the curve, it is essential that businesses take a holistic approach to cyber security that goes beyond just pure technology. This means having the right approach and expertise to identify gaps in defences and implementing a strategy that considers the ever-changing landscape. It can be a daunting task but, with the right provider in place, it is possible to overcome the challenges and shift your cyber defence from a reactive state to one that proactively keeps your business safe.

How to choose the right cyber security partner for your business

Effectively detecting and responding to today’s advanced threats requires a sophisticated mix of people, process, and technology: one that enables businesses to take a proactive, holistic approach to cyber security.

Knowing what to look for in an MSSP will help organisations get the value they seek from their cyber security programme:

  • Integrated delivery:Threat detection needs to go far beyond an organisation’s endpoints given accelerated cloud adoption and the shift to hybrid working. An MSSP provider should be experienced with a comprehensive portfolio of cyber security solutions that protect networks, endpoints, and cloud environments: bringing together threat telemetry and forensic data from the organisation’s broader infrastructure as an easy-to-consume service.
  • Smarter detection:Threat hunting is without doubt one of the more important aspects of cyber security. It needs to involve proactively exploring and interrogating systems for their current state as well as historical data – combining both human-led threat hunting with 24×7 monitoring and real-time analysis and investigations.
  • Actionable intelligence:The right level of intelligence is often the foundation for effective detection and threat hunting. Look for an MSSP that can curate multi-signal inputs with expert guidance that result in less ‘noise’ and improved intel – enabling better decision making that allows faster responses to threats to your business.
  • Accelerated response:Look for a provider who goes beyond just notifying and alerting. They should have the ability to respond to threats by containing them and keeping them from spreading further and be able to act remotely on your organisation’s endpoints, within the network, or the cloud – with actionable mitigation guidance and automated response actions tailored to your environment.
  • Culture: An important aspect that organisations often overlook is culture. Consider the MSSPs operating model and how they will work with your organisation in terms of service-delivery experience and capabilities. Some questions to consider: Are they credible, and do they have a good reputation in the industry? Do they have the right balance of strategic thinking and operational excellence to be a long-term partner? Do they understand your broader business objectives and how to make security a strategic enabler for your business?

A good cyber security provider will take a holistic approach and consider all aspects of your business in order to implement a comprehensive strategy that includes both technical and non-technical measures – all the while, they will work closely with you to keep you up to date with the latest trends and threats and ensuring that your business is always one step ahead.

The key is to find a provider who understands your business and can provide the right balance of skills, technology, and governance that makes security a strategic enabler for your business; this will give you the confidence and agility you need to stay ahead of emerging threats so that you can focus on what matters to you the most: your business.

For more insight, read this assessment from Forrester to understand the value you can expect from a European MSSP to make the best-informed decision. Access the full report: here