Modern IT leaders are tasked with driving strategic business initiatives, leaving them conflicted in determining when and how to devote time to basic security hygiene (what we all call “run tasks”). And news of WannaCry ransomware—and its variations—is evidence that victims who exercised consistent, basic security procedures could recover more quickly than any of their affected counterparts that did not routinely manage their systems.

With these facts in mind, coupled with the ever-growing cyber talent shortage, which is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2019, many leaders are turning to managed services in order to boost their security strategy. Here, we outline some of the top ways organizations are leveraging external talent to bolster security and achieve their strategic goals.

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As most people know when it comes to security, routine monitoring, maintenance and upgrades are necessary as threats evolve. Staying on top of the latest products to help combat things like malware and ransomware can be tedious and fatiguing, so turning to a provider to help is essential.

One important way to improve security is to update desktop and application patches. According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 85 percent of successful exploits could have been prevented if they were patched.

The 2017 Cisco Cybersecurity Report recommends that IT teams “evaluate which patches are most critical to network safety, and place those at the top of the to-do list.” In order to maintain focus on critical tasks, many organizations look to a managed services provider to prioritize the thousands of patches issued each year.


Data mining is one effective way businesses are leveraging managed services. Many threats to business security don’t show up initially as a risk—this is called a zero-day exploit. With thousands of data points taken from different sensors 24x7x365, determining which information is threatening or not can take time—and often it’s already too late.

According to the Ponemon Institute 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study, these types of attacks have the highest cost per breached record thanks to the length of time to detect and contain. With years of knowledge in threat analysis, a managed services team of experts can sift through data to quickly identify which exploit notifications are false positives and which could actually lead to an incident—helping businesses avoid the impact of a breach. Then, the team can then address any threats through remediation services.

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Maybe you’ve migrated some of your storage to the cloud, or perhaps you now have a larger mobile workforce than you did a few years ago. As your business transforms, your security must be one step ahead in order to protect your sensitive data. And as needs evolve, your managed services provider can recommend the appropriate security measures and vendors for different technology.

A CIO article states, “A managed services provider can cover all the security bases for a company: Firewalls, intrusion detection and intrusion prevention solutions, security event and incident management, managed vulnerability and identity management solutions — even first-level incident response. It can be difficult, especially in such a severe talent shortage, for companies to find talent to secure each vulnerable area, much less all three.”

And, with all of the tools and technology, a managed services provider will integrate and manage these complex and sometimes incompatible tools.

There are many times a managed services provider can augment the talents of an existing IT team. In a world fraught with data breaches, identity theft, hacked information and leaked PII, the need to enhance a security practice program should be at the top of an IT leader’s list.