Guest Column | December 17, 2015

Security Challenges And Responsibility Are An Opportunity For IT Services Providers

By Terrence Gareau, Chief Scientist and Donny Chong, Product Director, Nexusguard

Security Challenges And Responsibility For IT Providers

As a services provider, you face a number of evolving challenges heading into 2015. Customer demands and expectations, such as constant uptime and flawless connections, haven’t gone down in the slightest, even as cyberattacks and overall security concerns reach a fever pitch. Your customers can’t afford even a second of a downtime in the digital economy, and the slightest latency extension or shortest outage can devastate their business for some time. Provider-driven security has become an expectation. As such, you need to integrate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection and network monitoring tools into your solution portfolio immediately. These are no longer luxuries for you or your customers.

The evolving role of security as a function of service providers is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from the competition. Delivering a higher level of security, insight and transparency to aid customers makes it clear your company is committed to the long-term health and success of customers. The key for service providers now becomes identifying the right security partners to offer the breadth and brand of security most likely to appeal to your customers while fitting into your mold for the ideal partner.

MSPs Must Identify The Best Partner For Them

Your customers already expect assurance. But they also need performance from the security platforms built into your portfolio. They need the intelligence and analytics of modern security tools with the added capability of expanded performance visibility. The challenges presented by cyber criminals in 2015 demand DDoS protection providers that get in front of attacks to block them and eliminate malicious traffic before end users deal with any problems. With a properly protected network, customers get the availability they need, so their end users receive the predictable and exceptional service they expected. The right DDoS partner will also help your customers reduce bandwidth consumption and enable global monitoring to leverage analytics that improve preventative security measures.

A security partner’s delivery model is equally significant. It must be flexible enough to fit into your portfolio as needed. In some circumstances, this will mean a private model for those who prefer a purpose built, on-premises infrastructure deployed at the edge of a network. It can also call for a cloud option for quick deployment and limited capital expenditure. No matter the preferred model — on-premises, cloud or, even, hybrid — both the DDoS provider and services provider need to understand the activities end users run on their networks to deliver the right service and make necessary adjustments along the way. The right partner will provide a platform that fits into your stack and can evolve to your end users’ needs.

Even further, though, is power. Modern attacks come in greater frequency and numbers. Cybersecurity partners need to maintain global scrubbing centers capable of dealing with the largest attacks. Moreover, DDoS vendors in 2016 have to be able to do more. The threat matrix is multifaceted, so the defenses must be, as well. Your customers and their end users need cloud-based Web application firewalls and the ability to prepare for additional incursions.

Making A Partnership Work For All Parties

Better performance of your solution stack takes the right partner. Identifying the right company to work with means finding a vendor whose technology complements yours. However, there’s a similarly significant need for any partner to deliver real value to your business to encourage short- and long-term success. Here is a list of questions to ask to ensure you enter into relationships that work for everyone: you, your partners, and your customers.

  1. Are there up-front costs associated? The offering should be able to be delivered under your own brand as a value to your customers.
  2. What is the revenue-sharing model the partner is offering? The true partner believes in the mutual opportunity of the partnership.
  3. What is the speed to service? Customer satisfaction and operational efficiency are measured in minutes, not hours or days.
  4. What industry track record and service reputation does the partner actually add to this partnership? Remember that even in the most challenging and complex attack scenario, your partner will be carrying your name and your reputation with them.
  5. How flexible are the delivery models — on-premises, hybrid or cloud — that are offered? Is there the potential for costly customizations just to suit your specific business needs?
  6. What are the numbers? Is your partner sharing exact numbers of in-place, purpose-built capabilities and capacities? Are there numbers around latency and availability?

No matter the region or industry you’re serving, as a services provider, you’re facing more pressure than ever to keep your customers’ companies safe and entirely operational. A few minutes of downtime can cost companies millions. Furthermore, data security problems pose even more significant issues. Making security a part of the solutions you deliver to customers is a challenge, of course, but it’s also a major opportunity. Attacks are more powerful than ever before and more diverse. The solutions and strategies for securing networks from these threats must become just as strong.