Enterprises eager to improve their security posture are turning to managed security service providers (MSSP) in increasing numbers. So many in fact that IDC analysts expect managed security services will be the fastest growing segment of global security spending with a five-year CAGR of 13.6% by 2024.

However, finding a provider with the right mix of services and capabilities for your organization can be a time-consuming exercise as the space is now crowded with over-hyped startups and legacy vendors moving from selling products to offering services. Their slide decks are pretty and they talk a good game, but simply put, not all service providers are created equal.

Seconds Count … and the Clock is Ticking!

While cutting edge tools may indeed have advantages in identifying a breach, they’re of little use if the provider’s security professionals don’t act promptly to contain the threat. All too often, a breach expands as a provider’s staff dutifully alerts the client and awaits approval of their containment plan. Veteran providers know to avoid this by working with clients during the onboarding phase to agree on the types of time-sensitive situations they’re authorized to immediately act upon. This is vital because seconds can make the difference between containing a breach to single affected machine and an expanding malware infection spreading like wildfire.

And this is just one example of how experience makes the difference.

While all managed services providers understand the need for well-defined processes and procedures, this doesn’t guarantee that newly-minted providers know how to craft or execute them properly – or if they will even work.

Incumbents clearly have the edge here, having experienced more and learned important lessons. They continually update and refine their SOCs, policies, procedures, staffing, and other aspects of their operations for optimal performance. Obviously new players can follow this same model, but it will take them years to reach comparable levels of maturity. As the saying goes “you don’t know what you don’t know” – or in this case, what you haven’t experienced.

Experience also extends to a provider’s staff. The knowledge, insights and “sixth sense” of these battle-hardened security experts are key reasons why enterprises choose the managed services model versus continuing to do it themselves. Startups may have trouble hiring – and retaining – experts due to the ongoing global shortage of security professionals.

You Need a Partner

As important as experience is, it’s not everything when it comes to choosing a service provider. The relationship you have – or don’t have – with your service provider is also important, because when it comes to ensuring the security of your organization’s security, the value of a trusted partner cannot be understated.

Many MSSPs are so focused on delivering services with optimal efficiency that the customer relationships are mechanical and strictly transactional. However, most customers realize they need more – they need true partners to hold their hands and guide them through the twists-and-turns of their digital transformation journeys. MSSPs that coolly perform contracted services and nothing else cannot provide that guidance and support.

When Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mount Everest he had the help of veteran Sherpa Tenzing Norgay as his guide. It took them both, working together, to summit the mountain as a team.

Been There. Done That.

If I sound confident in my statements it’s because Open Systems has been in the managed services game for more than 30 years now, during which we have learned a lot meeting the networking and security needs of our enterprise customers in 184 countries. And we must be doing something right because our customer retention rate is 98%.

The proven platform underlying our SASE, MDR, and SD-WAN managed services clearly contributes to our success, but the real credit goes to our team of security and networking experts. With more than 500 years of combined experience, each must complete 400 hours of hands-on training and pass our rigorous certification testing before serving customers. Their commitment to providing our customers a “white glove” experience cannot be overstated.

Customers Sound Off

But don’t take my word for it. Read what our customers have said about Open Systems in the Gartner Peer Insights user reviews. In addition to these glowing reviews, we were the only company to receive a “100% willingness to recommend” rating from its customers in the February 2021 Gartner Peer Insights “Voice of the Customer”: WAN Edge Infrastructure report.

Entrusting your company’s security to a managed services provider is a good idea and there’s no shortage of companies that want your business. Just remember when you’re evaluating providers that experience matters.