How to Find the Right Managed Security Services Provider in Houston

If your business is in the market to find the best managed security services provider in Houston, this article will walk you through our recommended best practices.

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You might think finding a managed security services provider in Houston was as simple as carrying out an online search and picking the first result. The problem is that not all managed security services providers are the same. 

Finding the right one for your specific needs could make a big difference. The right service provider can help your business thrive. The wrong one can be a waste of money.

Make Sure Managed Security Services Is Your Best Option

Unfortunately, the world of IT is full of jargon, often with confusing interpretations. Let’s drill down into exactly what managed security services are. It’s a model by which a service provider takes care of a particular aspect or aspects of your security needs on an ongoing basis.

It’s a different proposition to staff augmentation. That’s where you temporarily bring in extra staff who follow your orders. 

It’s different from professional services. That’s where a service provider carries out a one-off job.

And it’s not the same as the break-fix model. That’s where the experts only step in when a problem has already occurred and needs solving.

Managed security services mean the service provider takes control of and is responsible for the relevant tasks. You tell them what you want to achieve, and they worry about how to make it happen.

Get the Right Services

Because managed security services are such a broad offering, you’ll need to make sure a potential provider offers the particular services you need. You’ll also want to ensure they have experience and expertise in those areas.

As an illustration, managed security services could include:  

  • Consulting on your needs and how to boost security.
  • Securing your network through tools such as a firewall, automated filtering, and virtual private networks.
  • Monitoring your security to spot suspicious patterns and potential intrusions in real-time.
  • Sourcing, installing and maintaining security software, including ensuring it doesn’t restrict your employees’ ability to do their job.
  • Auditing and testing your security. This could include vulnerability assessments (a checklist-based approach to spot potential gaps). It could also include penetration testing (an authorized attempt to breach your defenses, simulating the approach a hacker would take.)
  • Checking whether your security meets specific compliance standards, for example, when you hold and process data in a regulated industry such as health or finance.
  • Training your staff in cybersecurity and avoiding phishing scams.

Think About Location

If you’re looking for a managed security services provider in Houston, you’ll need to consider how important the in-person element is to your business. Your chosen services will affect whether the provider needs to physically visit your office, either regularly or in an emergency. Dealing with a Houston-based provider is also useful if you want to meet in person to discuss your needs.

Look At Language

As we noted, managed security services are often riddled with jargon. However, please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a provider who uses confusing terminology is an expert. The best providers know how to explain their services in plain language that helps you make an informed decision. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” While a good provider will treat you like an adult, there’s still a lot to that philosophy. 

Make Sure The Price Is Right

Picking a managed security services provider isn’t simply a case of getting the cheapest quote. Managed security services providers use a range of pricing models, so you’ll need to find one that fits your business and offers the best value. Generally, it’s a subscription model that considers the specific services covered in the package. Options can include: 

  • Paying a fixed, regular fee.
  • Paying a specific fee for each employee (or device) the service covers.
  • Paying a varying fee based on which range you fall in, for example, between 50 and 100 employees.

Picking the right model can depend on how predictable you want your expenses to be and whether you have plans to expand or change your staffing levels.

Get It in Writing

As we said earlier, managed security services is all about a provider taking both control and responsibility. That responsibility is usually laid out in a service-level agreement. That’s where the provider doesn’t just commit to providing the service but makes quantifiable, objective commitments.

Examples could include:

  • Patching all computers within a certain period after a security update is available.
  • Responding to all security alerts within a set deadline.
  • Maintaining monitoring for a certain proportion of the time. 

A good service level agreement will also set out the consequences of falling short, such as offering a partial refund or credit towards future service. It will also clearly define how the service levels are monitored and defined. 

Pay particular attention to any rules for designating the priority for specific security issues. These will often reflect practical concerns. For example, a risk rating combines how likely hackers are to exploit a security vulnerability and how much damage that could cause.

Make Sure They Are Up to the Minute

Security is an ever-changing field, and a service provider who was once on top of their game could soon become less useful if they don’t keep up to date. Look for providers who can show they can stay relevant. For example, they could use the latest security tools or put staff through professional development and training to keep their skills relevant.

Remember that while a managed security services provider should always keep your business activity completely confidential, providers will often learn lessons from security threats against one client that help them better protect their other clients.

The Bottom Line

When looking for a managed security services provider in Houston, never be afraid to ask questions. Hiring a provider isn’t just a financial expense; it’s an investment in both your security and your ability to concentrate on running your business.

If you’d like to learn more about what a managed security services provider can do for your business, contact Meriplex today.