How to Integrate an Outsourced Network Security Team

June 12, 2019 Eric Dosal Eric Dosal

So, you’ve just hired an outsourced network security team to help your company improve its cybersecurity posture and close security gaps. Great! You know that, as a team of managed security service providers (MSSPs), they have a level of expertise in network security that your own team would be hard-pressed to match.

However, you soon discover that your new security team is causing nearly as many issues as they’re solving. For example, you could find that the new security measures being implemented by the outsourced security services team are causing hiccups in your own internal processes. Or, you may discover that the managed security services provider is missing a few critical systems that need to be protected.

What’s wrong here? Is the outsourced security team a bad fit? Not necessarily. These kinds of issues are all too common when the managed security services team isn’t properly onboarded and given the information they need to provide optimal cybersecurity services—though they really should have a process in place for obtaining this information.

How can you handle onboarding an outsourced network security team to avoid potential pitfalls and ensure a smooth transition? Here are some tips to help you out:

Prepare a Network Diagram for Your Outsourced Security Team

To provide the best network security for your organization, your managed security services team needs to know the complete layout of your company’s network architecture—what’s on it, how everything is connected, and how these assets are used in your process workflows.

Having this network diagram helps your outsourced network security optimize their cybersecurity efforts to provide better security for your organization. The more complete their knowledge of your current network architecture, the better-equipped they will be to protect your business against cyber threats.

While most outsourced network security companies can audit your network to create the diagram, preparing a network diagram helps speed up the process and makes the transition to an outsourced team smoother.

Collect Clearly-Defined SLAs from Your Cybersecurity Team

Setting expectations is crucial to the success of any long-term business relationship. Service level agreements (SLAs) help you define your expectations of the outsourced security team and gives them a set of goals to strive for.

When setting SLAs, it’s important to make sure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely—as per the SMART goal-setting framework. For example, an SLA of responding to an active network security breach event within 30 minutes would be a valid goal. Meanwhile a goal of “optimize network security” would be a less fitting SLA to set since there is nothing specific beyond making general improvements.

By setting SLAs with your outsourced network security provider, you can hold them accountable to them at a later time—this helps prevent confusion about your expectations later.

Share Some Info about Your Business Processes with the Outsourced Security Team

Every company has unique cybersecurity needs. These needs are often influenced by the organization’s specific business processes and workflows. For example, if your company uses point-of-sale (POS) terminals in a retail business, it would have a need for strong security across multiple endpoints that may process sensitive payment card data. Meanwhile, a company that processes data for foreign customers might have to adhere to the European Union’s (EU’s) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Your network security team needs to know about your business’ practices and processes so they can provide adequate protection for your business. Consider this: if you process the data of EU citizens, and don’t follow GDPR regulations, then your business could be opened up to massive fines and restrictions under this EU regulation. If your cybersecurity service provider had known about how your company processes EU citizens’ personal data, they could have helped you meet the GDPR regulations to avoid potential penalties.

Another reason to share information about business processes is that it helps the outsourced security team prioritize and customize the protection they provide. For example, if there’s a software application that is critical to your business’ day-to-day operations, your managed security provider should be made aware of that fact. This way, they can focus on ensuring high availability for that software app when modifying your network security strategy.

Communicate with Your Outsourced Network Security Team Regularly

Cybersecurity takes constant effort to maintain. Even after the network security team has been successfully integrated into your business’ daily operations, it’s important to maintain a line of communication with them. Set up a regular meeting time once every couple of weeks or once a month to go over security status updates, incident reports, and your plans for the future.

This allows your outsourced security team to keep you apprised of new developments while helping you gather the information you need to demonstrate the return on investment that your business is getting from the managed services team. It also lets you inform the outsourced network security provider about major new additions you plan on making to your company’s network so they can take the appropriate steps to secure it against intrusion.

Have any questions about how you can integrate an outsourced network security team with your business to improve cybersecurity? Reach out to the team at Compuquip for answers!

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