Closing the cybersecurity skills gap: How MSPs are helping businesses stay secure

By Johnny Carpenter, General Manager, EMEA 11:11 Systems.

  • 8 months ago Posted in

The constant evolution of technology combined with a highly distributed workforce has led to increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats and frequent attacks. As a result, the need for skilled professionals who can effectively handle these issues has never been more pressing. Sadly, there is a shortage of such experts and demand is currently outstripping supply.


The (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study revealed that the global cybersecurity workforce gap is 3.4 million people. Furthermore, according to the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s latest cyber security skills report, published in July 2023, many firms continue to have difficulty attracting the right level of talent. It is estimated that half of businesses in the UK (50 percent) report a basic skills gap in this area, equating to some 739,000 companies while 487,000 businesses (33 percent) are experiencing issues filling advanced roles.


This talent deficiency is among the most significant roadblocks companies face when addressing a cyberattack. A World Economic Forum (WEF) survey discovered that 59% of businesses would find it hard to respond to a cybersecurity incident because of a skills shortage.


To close this gap and ensure the security of their systems against cyber threats, more organisations are turning to managed service providers (MSPs) specialising in cybersecurity.


Augmenting in-house cybersecurity skills


MSPs can help businesses tackle their cybersecurity limitations and weaknesses in many ways.


They can work with the business to discover and mitigate current threat trends, locate gaps in existing network security, and deploy tools to address them. They can also provide vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, incident response, threat intelligence, security monitoring, and security risk assessments. Additionally, MSPs can offer automation, streamline processes — like reducing alert volumes that lead to fatigue — provide compliance management, and deliver managed detection and response (MDR).


For example, MDR solutions can include combined artificial and human intelligence collected across an organisation's entire IT infrastructure to deliver a more complete cybersecurity strategy. The multi-layered approach that MSPs can offer businesses with limited manpower or budgets helps to detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats in real-time, merging the managed endpoint detection and response (EDR) and security information and event management (SIEM) capabilities.


But the benefits don't stop there. Here are five other compelling reasons companies seek out MSPs for their cybersecurity needs:


1.      Access to expertise. MSPs have a team of skilled professionals who specialise in cybersecurity. They often have experience working with various industries, providing valuable insights into current threat trends.

Lower costs. Many companies can’t afford or attract the talent they need. By outsourcing cybersecurity needs to MSPs, they can save money on hiring and training experts in-house.

Access to the latest technology. MSPs have access to the latest tools and technologies to help organisations stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. They also stay up to date on industry trends and best practices.

Increased efficiency. MSPs have streamlined processes for managing and responding to cybersecurity threats, so organisations benefit from faster response times, reduced downtime, and more efficient use of resources.

Scalability. An MSP can provide scalable solutions to meet evolving and changing needs as the business grows.


But how do you decide who is the right MSP?


However, for all the benefits they provide, not all MSPs are created equal.


When looking for a credible partner to help bridge the cybersecurity skills gap, there are several key questions an organisation should ask:


What experience does the MSP have within your industry and in meeting specific compliance requirements? It is a no-brainer that you will want to work with an MSP with experience working with organisations in your particular industry or field. That way, they'll have a better understanding of the unique cybersecurity risks that your business faces, and familiarity with any compliance regulations your industry has.

What is their approach to security? In today’s climate, proactivity is essential. This means working with an MSP that regular assesses risks and vulnerabilities, implements best practices, and stays current on the latest threats.

Specifically, what is their approach to incident response? How quickly and effectively an MSP responds after a cyberattack can make all the difference in minimising damage and mitigating risks. Look for MSPs with a clear plan for responding to incidents and who can act swiftly when necessary.

How do they stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices? The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, so be sure your MSP remains mindful of the latest threats and developments. Attending conferences, participating in training programmes, and engaging with other industries are examples of the type of activities they should be undertaking.

What metrics do they use to measure success? Look for MSPs with a clear system of metrics for measuring their effectiveness, such as reduced incidents, faster response times, and improved employee awareness.

Can they provide references/testimonials from previous clients? Before committing to an MSP, ask for references or testimonials from other clients they've recently worked with. This can help you better understand their track record and level of expertise.


Don’t let the skills gap adversely impact your business


As businesses struggle to recruit and retain skilled cybersecurity professionals, the easiest — and often best — solution is turning to MSPs for support.


Of course, cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics and techniques, so undertaking due diligence to ensure your organisation is working with an MSP that best aligns with their business and needs is essential. A good understanding of what the organisation can and can't handle is also critical to a successful partnership and this includes asking the right questions to find the best fit.


When done right, organisations can tap into a wealth of expertise, experience, and technology, all while reducing the burden of managing cybersecurity in-house.

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