By Jason Ford, Chief Technology Officer of BlackMesh
The benefits of relying on a managed service provider are seemingly endless. Managed services can help organizations focus on business strategies, conserve funds and resources, mitigate risks, and maintain, operate, and deploy environments. In recent years, however, the IT industry has come to a crossroad where managed services meet security. With the current threats of cyber hacks and intrusion methods being what they are, security is as important – or perhaps more important – to system owners as any other advantages they garner from a managed service provider. While championing the incomparable value correlated with having a powerful and dependable infrastructure without having to manage it, enterprises now can – and do – feel the same about managed security services.
Managed services with a security focus.
The IT security landscape is constantly evolving. It has to keep ahead of and deal with maliciously insistent and ever-changing cyber threats. Incidents of security infringements are sometimes inevitable – the consequences of which can be disastrous for an organization. However, with early detection practices and rapid response mechanisms, these breaches are avoidable. If an agency has a managed service provider in their corner, they will find themselves addressing security measures and combating threats with a more proactive style of prepared and responsive protection.
Implementing and using defense layers.
As a managed service provider, BlackMesh, for example, has to maintain the highest levels of security for its customers. We do this through layered security, implementing multiple overlays of security controls to mitigate any potential issues. Each of these layers provide different types and degrees of security – all of which are necessary to keep customer data secure, and some of which are products for purchase. After network firewalls, our first line of defense for keeping our network secure is Radware’s DefensePro. This is an ideal security layer for combating distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and accelerating Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) web-based protection. As a real-time Attack Mitigation System (AMS), this solution safeguards network infrastructure against downtime, vulnerability exploitation, malware, data theft, and targeted attacks. This is a big part of keeping ahead of the problem, and is crucial for any provider of managed services whose objective is security.
With multiple layers of defense, alongside on-demand support for customers experiencing potential security breaches, BlackMesh can stop DDoS threats and ensure customer websites continue to operate smoothly. It’s important to remember that today, achieving the highest threat mitigation capabilities available – and keeping your network safe and secure – is imperative to success.
The need for compliance.
With rising security threats, the demand for improved security through compliance has been augmented – and in many cases, embedded into today’s company culture. As a result of the aforementioned evolving threats to IT security, increasingly strict compliance requirements have become part of almost every industry. Security concerns and subsequent regulations affect education, government, healthcare, finance, and even nonprofit organizations, and, in effect, these same concerns and regulations pertain to manages service providers. In fact, BlackMesh hosts several platforms that require specific security standards in order to function. These standards include Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 2, and Statement of Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16 compliance. The quality and quantity of compliance standards available to managed service providers is a testament to both the threats to security that exist and the magnitude of the measures being taken to combat them.
FedRAMP, for example, is a program that stems from a direct need for the federal government to address specific security needs and progress into the era of cloud computing. Since most federal agencies have not yet attained cloud technologies, they require secure platforms to reduce the annual legacy IT costs and accommodate the projected exponential growth of data requirements. A push to cloud is essential for achieving the highest degree of security for government information. This is why the government established the Cloud First policy – the initiative encourages federal agencies to utilize cloud-based alternatives for system infrastructure in consideration of cost, resiliency, resources, and security. With this cloud directive implemented, efforts to ensure agencies and contractors comply with FedRAMP is passed down to the managed service provider.
Business continuity means security.
Achieving compliance with various industry standards is just one component of what an organization really needs to properly address security threats. Continuously smooth and efficient access to and availability of critical data is fundamental to protecting what matters. Business continuity plans relevant to IT solutions are as essential for all industries and enterprises as network security. In alignment with a general security and/or compliance plan, a good managed service provider will work with their clients to develop a sufficient disaster recovery strategy. The service provider can utilize multiple datacenter locations to house client solutions and guarantee uninterrupted IT services during long-term outages. By also offering a failover location and off-site backups, providers can help system owners meet continuity of operations, disaster recovery, and compliance requirements.
Continuing to evolve and adapt.
As networks come under new threats, the means of disrupting these efforts must evolve. Cyber-attacks are persistent. Hackers devise new methods of getting data and rendering websites inaccessible. These techniques get more brazen by the day. Luckily, means of preventing and protecting against such threats are often equally – if not more – sophisticated and dependable. Having the right managed service provider means an optimal level of security through compliance, innovative technologies, and continuity measures. A managed service provider that can adapt to security variations can undoubtedly bolster security – and that’s what everyone needs.