Combatting the Cybersecurity Skills Gap with Managed Security Services

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    Today, organizations face a perfect storm when it comes to cloud security. As organizations embrace digital transformation, adding new solutions and devices to the stack, cybercriminals are launching sophisticated attacks aimed at leveraging these new solutions as entryways to sensitive data. To minimize the impact of these attacks, regulatory bodies have issued a myriad of new compliance standards, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Act, which result in major penalties if neglected. Securing the cloud has never been more important or challenging.

    The Cybersecurity Skills Gap

    Unfortunately, this challenge is further compounded by the cybersecurity skills gap. Cybersecurity professionals are in huge demand as organizations adopt digital strategies, yet there are very few professionals who actually have the necessary hands-on security experience organizations seek.

    Currently, there are an estimated 350,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the US, which remain vacant. This trend extends beyond US borders, with estimates showing 3.5 million unfilled security jobs globally by 2021.

    Unable to outfit teams with professionals to maintain security infrastructure, organizations are at a heightened risk of data breach and noncompliance.

    Challenges Securing the Cloud Due to the Skills Gap

    While security concerns hindered cloud adoption for many years, organizations have come to understand that cloud can actually offer enhanced security due to the shared responsibility model. As we talked about in Part 1 of these series, the shared responsibility model divides security maintenance and responsibilities between the subscribing organizations and the cloud service provider. This model has been adopted widely by top public cloud providers, including AWS and Azure.

    The general rule is that the cloud service provider is responsible for security of the cloud, while the organization is responsible for securing what and who goes into the cloud. More specifically, the cloud service provider is largely responsible for physical infrastructure security, host infrastructure, and computing, networking, and storage software. This is security of the cloud.

    The customer is responsible for security in the cloud. This constitutes access management, endpoint protection, application security, firewall configuration, encryption, and data integrity. Organizations are responsible for deploying the necessary solutions and processes to protect what they store within the cloud.

    This shared responsibility model can make the cloud a secure option for organizations, however, only if they have a team with cloud security knowhow to deploy data protection solutions, access management policies and tools, and monitor cloud activity for suspicious data movement that might indicate a threat.

    However, a recent survey notes that 29 percent of organizations face a shortage of cloud computing security skills within their personnel.

    Using Managed Security Services to Combat the Skills Gap

    To secure the cloud, organizations need an experienced team. However, these teams are becoming increasingly difficult to outfit as the skills gap persists. This is especially true because as security professionals become harder to find, many organizations are priced out of the hiring race due to increasingly competitive salary offerings.

    This is why organizations should utilize managed security services. These offerings combat the challenges posed by the skills gap by equipping organizations with a skilled security team that is familiar with policies of major cloud service providers, understands security and compliance requirements and the tools that help meet them, and can provide constant monitoring.

    Among the top benefits of managed security services are:

    Familiarity: A key benefit of managed security services in the cloud is the team’s familiarity with both the policies of cloud service providers and with the security solutions best suited for each provider. This allows them to give guidance on what exactly falls to the organization in the shared responsibility model, and which tools they should implement to meet that responsibility. From there, this team is able to deploy, monitor, and troubleshoot these solutions moving forward.
    Compliance Reports: Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are also aware of regulatory standards and the controls that must be in place to maintain compliance. A team of security MSPs can ensure that security solutions and processes are updated when regulations are, to avoid penalties.
    Monitoring: Successful cloud security requires team members who can constantly monitor the network for anomalous behavior to detect risks and attacks before they can spread. With MSPs, organizations can count on monitoring across the environment at all times. MSPs can augment your security team and help your organization investigate suspicious acitivities.

    Final Thoughts

    The cybersecurity skills gap is affecting organizations of all sizes. However, it is not an excuse for an insecure cloud. With regulations growing increasingly strict and attacks more sophisticated, organizations should look to managed security services to provide ongoing expertise and support.

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