In the modern workplace, it’s become commonplace to have a robust IT infrastructure to support the round-the-clock needs of customers and clients. However, managing IT needs internally—especially when it comes to security—can be challenging, and often comes with a hefty price tag when hiring your own in-house IT team.

As a more cost-effective solution, many businesses choose to outsource their IT security to a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). MSSPs offer a range of services, often spanning more areas of security expertise than an in-house team, and they charge a set monthly rate that costs about as much as one salaried employee, saving your business money. 

That said, it’s important to know that not all MSSPs offer the same quality of services. It’s essential to understand your business’s security needs and how an MSSP can meet them, making sure their service level agreements fit the bill before you partner up with them.

Here are some questions that you should ask your Managed Security Service Provider before you sign up for their services:

What Industries Do You Serve?

It’s often important that your MSSP has experience serving your specific sector, as you are likely to encounter security threats that require industry knowledge. This is particularly important for industries that are required by law to follow outlined network security regulations, such as with HIPAA compliance. 

You’ll want to look for an MSSP that can not only help you meet those compliance standards but that can also protect your business with advanced security services. They should be able to perform IT risk assessments that give them a clear picture of the security threats facing your business. They should then be able to outline a robust strategy to mitigate those threats in a way that carefully adheres to industry best practices.

What Specific Security Services Do You Offer?

There are dozens of security services that a Managed Security Service Provider could offer, so it’s important that you understand what their scope and limitations are. Some MSSPs’ services may fall under basic security, while others have the capability to support advanced security infrastructures. It’s worth researching the different services offered by MSSPs so that you can make an informed decision.

For example, if you’re a retail store, you may be looking into a cloud-based point-of-sale system to safely manage each transaction. You’ll want to be sure your MSSP has the resources to support a secure cloud transformation, along with regular data backup services.

On the other hand, if you are a government organization, you may require more advanced onsite security services, such as consolidating siloed data or dark web scanning. These services must also help your organization achieve complicated governance requirements.

What Services Do You Recommend For My Company?

It’s one thing to know yourself what specific security services an MSSP offers—it’s another to make sure they can successfully recommend which ones will best protect your business. 

Your MSSP should have the knowledge and expertise to look at the bigger picture, offering both security services your company needs right now and ones you may need in the future. It’s important for your MSSP to be proactive and adaptable as your business grows so they can effectively fight against changing security threats.

Make sure your MSSP also isn’t just offering the most expensive security package but rather tailoring services to suit your company needs. Look out for an MSSP that’s going to help create a custom security plan that works for you rather than a blanket plan that’s given to everyone.

What Is Your Process for Contacting You for Support?

A Managed Security Service Provider could have everything you want on paper, but if their customer service is lacking, it’s not a deal worth striking. Some will go above and beyond, offering 24/7 helplines, remote assistance, and immediate response times to security issues, whilst others may require you to stay on hold for hours before being attended to. 

Because security issues can damage your whole network, it’s not worth partnering with an MSSP who can’t offer quick, reliable service. Make sure to ask how their ticketing system works, if anyone on your team can call for support, and whether or not they offer round-the-clock assistance.

What Are the Benefits of Partnering with You Versus a Competitor MSSP?

And finally, one of the most crucial questions to ask is what an MSSP offers that others don’t. They should be able to easily articulate the reasons they are preferable to their competitors, and from there, you can weigh those benefits and make a decision.

Some benefits you may want to consider are if your MSSP is well-known and has good reviews for their cybersecurity services, especially if you are in an industry such as government, healthcare, or law. Other MSSPs may be able to offer you particularly cost-effective procurement rates for security software. Understanding your security priorities and how a given MSSP can best meet them will help you choose the best partner.

As you venture to select the best Managed Security Service Provider for your business, be sure to ask these questions in order to gain an understanding of what options you have. Vetting each MSSP you meet with will help you get the best partner for securing your technology.