Too many security tasks, not enough time. It is a common phrase in today’s organizations as risks, security threats and compliance mandates all conspire to put additional pressure on companies as they seek to use technology to uncover new levels of efficiency.

Falling short
The cybersecurity skills shortage has become a fact of life for the industry. In ISACA’s recent ‘State of Cybersecurity 2018 Part 1: Workforce Development’ report, the group noted that 61% of respondents said that half or less of their applicants for open security positions are qualified, with 30% indicating that less than 25% of applicants are qualified. Additionally, 25% reported it took 3 months to fill an available cybersecurity position, while 26% said it took 6 months or more.

Managed security service providers (MSSPs) have tried to take advantage of this void – as well as the complexity of the threat landscape – for some time. But the inability of many traditional MSSPs to deliver more than just reactive security alerts and provide true proactive security for hybrid IT environments has created a remediation gap.

Filling a need
Into this gap has stepped security-as-a-service (SECaaS) providers, who specialize in deliver security from the cloud and for the cloud. A comprehensive security solution can offer more than just visibility into cloud environments; it can automate and orchestrate the response to threats when they are detected. By leveraging best-of-breed technologies, SECaaS vendors take advantage of the speed and scalability provided by cloud computing to bring strong security and response capabilities to businesses as they grow.

SECaaS vendors can also differentiate themselves with their pricing model and time-to-value. For example, while many MSSPs use fixed or annual contracts, SECaaS vendors often take a more flexible approach and empower customers to only pay for what they use in a consumption-based model. From a time-to-value standpoint, by leveraging the cloud, SECaaS vendors can quickly deploy security to customers, while the implementation time for MSSPs can take weeks.

Like any other managed security service, SECaaS offerings take the challenges of managing security in an increasingly complex environment so that businesses can focus on their core competencies. Supporting a SECaaS offering should include a team of skilled professionals with the ability to monitor and protect your environment 24/7/365. Any moment of dwell time by an attacker is another second they have to steal data and impact your environment.

Picking the right provider
Determining the security approach and provider best for your organization involves several considerations:

Know your needs
The first step is to determine what your needs are as an organization and establish criteria for the provider that meets your security and regulatory compliance requirements. Also, carefully examine the gaps that may exist between your security controls and the ones provided by the vendor.

Incident response
SECaaS vendors that can offer incident response capabilities across on-premise, hybrid and cloud environments can aid organizations by reducing both downtime and the amount of money that needs to be spent if a data breach occurs.

Integrated solutions
If the SECaaS provider can offer multiple solutions that are integrated, organizations will benefit from a service that can provide unified visibility and management across different security functions and environments. It also eliminates the CapEx that comes from buying new security technologies to add more layers of protection.

Price points matter
Lower cost of ownership is often discussed when it comes to cloud computing, but it is not always delivered. Performing a price comparison for both on-premise solutions and cloud service providers is an important piece of deciding which vendor and approach is best for you.

Vendor’s security
Cloud providers should have high levels of security. Be sure to ask the vendor about how they will protect your data as well as access to their systems. This is particularly important for regulatory compliance reasons.

Check their record
If you are handing even part of your security mandates off to a third party, it is imperative to ensure they have a track record of excellent service. Customer support is vital with any managed security service, as is the expertise of their staff. Ideally, the service will provide not only best-of-breed protection and expertise, but also audit-ready compliance.

The challenges facing today’s companies serve as proof that a new security approach is needed. Answering the call requires a solution that enables quick deployment and provides a unified view of the IT security posture of your organization.

A holistic SECaaS offering, featuring proactive capabilities like active threat hunting with security controls, can deliver effective threat detection, reduced costs and provide the expertise needed to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals looking to infiltrate your organization.