As long as there bad guys that are intent on wreaking havoc across corporate networks and personal computers, the IT security arena will be rife with opportunity for MSPs. According to Allied Market Research, the managed security services industry is projected to hit $40.97 billion in revenue by 2022. North America is expected to dominate the global market in terms of value, but the Asia-Pacific region could see the biggest returns as the region is slated to register a 20.3 percent CAGR during the forecast period.
Security Beyond Prevention
Executives in organizations big and small recognize the importance of securing confidential data. Unfortunately, the lack of IT skills and financial resources often makes adequate data security an insurmountable challenge. MSSPs provides these organizations with access to cost effective solutions that can significantly reduce their exposure to security threats while simplifying administration and putting requirements such as regulatory compliance in reach.
Managed security encompasses a broad range of applications designed to protect client networks. Many of these applications are based on the fact that prevention is the best form of protection. The typical intrusion prevention system (IPS) helps strengthen existing defenses by monitoring network traffic for potential threats. If trouble is suspicious activity is detected, the system blocks the threat to prevent it from compromising the network. While the prevent-defense theory certainly has its merits, it might be in the best of interest of MSPs to take their managed security aspirations beyond prevention.
IT research firm Gartner expects the focus on the managed security front to shift away from prevention and more towards detection and response as firms pour money into cybersecurity. That enhanced focus has led to the development of an emerging market segment called managed detection and response (MDR). It is built around the simple premise that prevention alone can’t thwart security attacks as the threat landscape continues to evolve. Further, in order to provide protection against sophisticated exploits, a security solution needs advanced detection capabilities and the ability to quickly respond when prevention fails.
Managed detection and response is founded on core principles such as continuous network monitoring, threat validation, and rapid response to confirmed exploits. The moment a legitimate threat is detected, the system sends an alert to security personnel, allowing them to focus on mitigation rather than wasting precious time trying to determine if a threat truly exists. MDR solutions aim to help organizations bolster their defenses by simply improving visibility into threats and placing a greater emphasis on responding to security incidents.
Competition and Challenges
The MDR market is currently comprised of two segments. Some vendors specialize exclusively in managed detection and response, while established MSSPs move to the MDR model. While exponential growth has been forecast, the seemingly slow transition could bode well for MSPs. Mike Buratowski of IT security firm Fidelis Cybersecurity estimated that only 15 percent of enterprise and mid-sized organizations will have implemented MDR by 2020. This means there is ample opportunity for MSPs to take advantage by catering to the SMB crowd.
One of the biggest challenges MSPs face in MDR adoption is the transition itself. Integrating new and improved security capabilities that align with existing services and IT systems requires a strategic coordination between people, processes, and technology. There’s also need for a substantial capital investment. While competition exists between pure-play vendors and traditional MSSPs, partnership opportunities may provide a smoother entry into the market. For example, eSentire, which Gartner recognized as a major industry player, appears willing to help MSPs that want to capitalize on the MDR trend.
Understandably, increasingly complex regulations and the ever-looming threat of a disastrous security breach has organizations on edge. By taking the initiative to combine risk management, advanced threat detection, and remediation into flexible managed solutions MSPs now can carve out a cozy spot in the IT security arena for many years to come.