Value for Money: 5 Ways MSPs and Their Customers Can Improve Attack Surface Management

Managed Service Provider
Attack Surface Management
5 min read
Kris Shoemaker
Head of Channel
August 23, 2023
Kris Shoemaker
Head of Channel
August 23, 2023
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For many businesses, keeping pace with the ever-evolving threat landscape and the new technologies designed to defend against it can be overwhelming. Add to that a market climate that’s forcing layoffs and budget restrictions, and suddenly IT and security teams are faced with a new question: what compromises can we make? 

When it comes to security, businesses have little they can compromise on. Distributed work models and increased reliance on cloud systems are continuously expanding every organization’s attack surface. The proliferation (and mix) of digital assets, data sprawl, and vulnerability management is challenging to manage, especially with legacy tools, technologies, and methodologies. Teams need more resources to defend against complex security risks — not less.

Supplementing in-house capabilities with MSP support

Nowadays large corporations and SMBs share a similar risk profile. All data is equally valuable, and attackers are using similar techniques to access and exploit it. Yet according to the 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, what is different is small and midsized businesses’ ‘ability to respond to threats due to the resources they can deploy in the event that they are attacked’.

As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), you play a valuable role in attack surface management strategy and support your customers' ability to respond to incidents. You’re continually augmenting your security stack (and service portfolio) with best-in-breed technology to consistently drive security forward for companies of all sizes.

As IT and security leaders work to address their organizations’ cybersecurity posture, they often rely on a ‘build it’ or ‘buy it’ planning approach. They must ask themselves whether the business can afford to source a best-in-class security stack and specialized team to manage it all (build it), or if IT budget is better spent on augmenting in-house capabilities with fully stacked and staffed MSP partner (buy it).

Before making that decision, leaders must assess their current attack surface and the factors that affect it (use cases) and their broader cybersecurity strategy.

5 ways you and your customers can work together to improve security outcomes and achieve attack surface management:

1. Re-assess the attack surface

Every business’s data cache and attack surface expands with each digital asset it adds. Understanding what the business’s attack surface looks like starts by understanding what data the business uses, stores, and shares. Conducting an attack surface evaluation is an important exercise for initiatives like security strategy planning, cyber insurance renewals, and compliance alignment. An up-to-date attack surface assessment provides insights that help you gain a deeper understanding of your customers' data and how their various data types rank in terms of risk.

2. Re-evaluate your customers' data protection use cases

Use cases vary depending on the industry your customer operates in and the types of data they handle. Attack surface management and use case planning go hand in hand: you can’t map and execute one without the other. While an attack surface assessment considers the business’s attack surface, use case planning will define the use cases that affect it. Use case examples may include (but aren’t limited to): data discovery, data loss prevention, data permissions, data protection, compliance reporting, and incident response. Having a current understanding of the business’s use cases will support planning efforts and balance initiatives across your customers' in-house resources and your team.

3. Understand your customers' business outcomes – and how your team can support them.

A business outcome planning session may reveal security use cases or the need for unique MSP services like risk assessments, board and stakeholder reporting cadences, or professional services.

4. Re-visit your SLA

Standard SLAs are, well — standard. However, once you’ve completed an attack surface assessment and defined the customer’s security use cases, you and your customer will benefit from a tailored SLA that outlines the level of engagement, support, and insights your customer needs while underscoring the relationship’s value for money.

5. Work together to achieve and sustain meaningful reporting cadences

Now that you’ve got a clear understanding of your customer’s attack surface, security use cases, and business outcomes, you can institute reporting cadences that deliver meaningful value and put your customer on a path to greater security maturity. Integrating benchmarks to measure the performance of your shared attack surface management strategy will help you more easily identify areas of improvement.

Achieving strong security outcomes by understanding your customer’s data

You can’t protect data that you don’t know about. Every organization harbours large amounts of dark data—unclassified, duplicated, or orphaned data. Having a clear understanding of the data your customer uses, stores, and shares is critical to ensuring positive security outcomes.

The Cavelo platform provides simplified attack surface management that can help MSPs assess their customers' attack surface with automated and continuous data discovery, data classification, and risk benchmarking. It’s a simple solution that you can use to institute security best practices, align to regulatory compliance requirements, and maintain regular reporting cadences that monitor your customers' risk benchmarks over time.

The platform offers valuable insights that can guide your shared attack surface management planning. By integrating the platform directly into your tech stack, you can enrich the services you’re offering to customers through the data discovery, vulnerability management, and compliance capabilities the platform provides.

Take a self-guided platform tour today and see how the Cavelo platform can help your team — and your customers — achieve attack surface management goals.

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