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Blog | 5-minute Read

How to strengthen SME cyber resilience with managed security

Anna Webb profile headshot

Anna Webb

Head of Global Security Operations

Published: 10 June 2024

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly turning to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) for protection. But to build the cyber resilience needed to stay operational when attacks occur, you need a provider with the right mix of talent and technology.

Cyber resilience is more than just preventing attacks.

It’s about having the ability to get on the front foot against attackers. To proactively search and identify emerging threats so that defences always remain robust.

And to ensure you can anticipate, detect, react, and recover from incidents with rapid speed and minimal disruption to the business.

Because, like it or not, attacks and cyber incidents are inevitable.

70% of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK experienced a cyber security breach in the past 12 months.

UK Government, Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 2024

But it’s no easy task when resources are tight and talent is scarce.

This is what working with the right managed security partner should bring. A means of simplifying your investment in return for the technology and expertise to improve cyber resilience, protect against advanced threats, and maintain business continuity.

Accessing the cyber talent pool

Ah yes, the on-going cyber skills gap.

With the World Economic Forum indicating an urgent need for four million cyber professionals to plug the gap, it’s no wonder security teams remain under-resourced.

The reality is, in-house or outsourced, if your SOC doesn’t have the personnel to implement essential cyber security practices, resilience is compromised.

And your risk levels are a great deal higher.

Now, obviously this is the advantage of working with a reputable MSSP. After all, it means accessing a skilled team with the know-how to keep your estate secure.

People are an essential part of the protection puzzle. But there’s more to it than that.

You need to have confidence that you’re working with a team that seek to understand your business and have the bandwidth to manage. It goes without saying that some demonstrable measure of credibility, Microsoft Verified Managed XDR status, for example, doesn’t go amiss.

This means having the right people working in a culture built around good processes, like:

  • Fast and efficient onboarding that keeps you protected from day one.

  • Automated incident playbooks based on threat intelligence and experience.

  • A culture of continuous learning that ensures threat knowledge and skillsets are always current.

  • Application of a zero trust approach across the team and all activities.

  • Accurate, actionable, and real-time reporting that offers clear articulation of risk for technical and C-level staff.

A technology stack that keeps pace with modern threats

All of the above is vital. But it needs to be supported by an ever-evolving technology stack able to meet the challenges of the day.

For instance, at Kocho we offer end-to-end protection based on Microsoft’s unified security solutions, like Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender XDR.

These tools leverage automation, AI, and behavioural analytics to provide robust protection against emerging threats across the entire estate.

And, of course, it’s an ever-evolving picture. Consider the speed at which generative AI has come to the forefront with tools like Microsoft Copilot for Security.

The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft Security [New for 2024]

Cut through the complexity. Master Microsoft security.

While it’s unrealistic to expect every SME to stay at the sharp end of technological innovation in cyber security, it’s in the interest of MSSPs to keep up with the Jones’.  Ensuring that the stack into which they invest meets the challenges of the day, for the benefit of their entire customer base.

And, of course, the critical factor is that this technology is being managed by experts who understand how to maximise their effectiveness.

So, how does this people-tech partnership drive protection and cyber resilience across the business?

Continuous monitoring and rapid response

The threat of attack is always present, so the need to monitor activity never ceases.

Now, we know that for many organisations, achieving this effectively in-house is almost impossible.

What an MSSP should offer, therefore, is the right combination of skilled professional supported by market-leading technology.

For instance, Kocho’s managed SOC team is supported by Microsoft Sentinel. This is Microsoft’s market-leading Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution. A tool that enables real-time analysis and immediate response to threats, ensuring that any potential breaches are identified and addressed swiftly.

Tools like Sentinel, in the hands of capable professionals, provide an always-on holistic view of your entire estate. It draws on data from any source in the ecosystem and uses AI for real-time analysis.  Detecting anomalies and threats at machine speed and allowing teams to more accurately prioritise and take appropriate remedial action against threats.

See how Microsoft Sentinel can supercharge your threat defences with our on-demand demo.

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Microsoft Sentinel helped to reduce false positives by up to 79%.

Forrester, Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Sentinel Study

Extended detection and response (XDR) for end-to-end protection

We’ve spoken before about the importance of unified security to improve posture and cyber resilience. At the heart of this, aligned to robust, continual monitoring, is effective XDR.

In other words: The ability to analyse, detect, respond, and remediate new threats and attacks.

At rapid speed. At all times. Everywhere.

One of the issues we often encounter in organisations trying to achieve this is the fragmented nature of their security set-up. Different tools in place for different aspects of the estate.

Something that drives up costs and creates potential risks thanks to silos and security gaps.

That’s why we advocate a singular approach to XDR. Utilising tools like Microsoft Defender XDR which consolidates various security signals from endpoints, identities, email, and cloud applications.

With a singular view of potential threats across an organisation’s entire infrastructure, it leverages AI for lightning fast detection and automated response.

It offers seamless integration with the rest of the Microsoft stack, like Sentinel, for comprehensive, unified threat defence. And not just against traditional attack vectors like malware and phishing.

Advanced and modern XDR means have the capability to predict and identify zero day exploits and sophisticated threats and intrusion attempts. Applying machine learning to granular and vast threat intelligence to spot anomalies, detect unusual patterns, or pick up on unusual behaviours.

Offering the reports, signals, and data that skilled analysts need to take swift remedial action, while providing the automated tools that allows proactive tactics like threat hunting and attack disruption.

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Advanced AI threat detection reduces the threat of a breach by 60%.

The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft SIEM and XDR

Enhanced cyber resilience through shared threat intelligence

Working with an MSSP means benefiting from continual threat learning and intelligence sharing across all their clients.

For instance, if a phishing attempt is identified and blocked with one client, the information gathered from that incident (the IP address, for example) is fed into the ongoing threat intelligence and fed out across all other clients in case others are targeted by the same source.

This collective knowledge enhances your organisation’s cyber resilience, making it better prepared to withstand and recover from cyber incidents.

Maximising existing Microsoft licensing

If you’re like many of the customers we talk to, you’re probably already investing heavily in Microsoft licensing.

But are you utilising the full spectrum of security features available to you?

A reputable MSSP with a deep knowledge of the Microsoft stack should be your partner and consultant when it comes to unlocking the potential within your existing licences. Ensuring you get the maximum value from your investment.

By integrating and optimising tools like Microsoft Defender for Office 365, Entra ID, or Intune, for instance, your MSSP can help enhance your security posture without requiring additional expenditures.

Conclusion

We get that many SMEs feel like they’re between a rock and a hard place when it comes to cyber security. Acutely aware that attackers have them in the cross hairs, yet beset by difficulties when it comes to building up the resilience they need.

Finding a suitable security partner to take the task on is often the obvious, common-sense solution.

But of course, not all MSSPs are created equally, and care needs to be taken in making the right choice. This means finding a partner committed to the concept of putting their customers on the front foot regarding their security. A partner with the tools and talent to develop long-term cyber resilience.

Who, by leveraging expertise and cutting-edge technology can help SMEs achieve streamlined, cost-effective, and end-to-end protection against the most sinister of cyber threats.

Key takeaways

  • Every organisation, regardless of size, faces relentless and rapidly evolving cyber threats.

  • 70% of SMEs in the UK experienced a cybersecurity breach in the past year.

  • Cyber resilience is about proactively searching, identifying, and responding to emerging threats.

  • Access to skilled cybersecurity professionals is critical for implementing effective security measures and managing risk.

  • Utilising unified security solutions, such as Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender XDR, ensures comprehensive protection and real-time threat detection.

  • An effective MSSP provides 24/7 monitoring and swift response capabilities to address potential breaches immediately.

  • Partnering with an MSSP can help SMEs leverage the full potential of their existing Microsoft licensing, enhancing security without additional costs.

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Anna Webb profile headshot

Author

Anna Webb

Head of Global Security Operations

Anna has over 20 years’ experience in operations management, major incident management, and cyber security. CISSP qualified, Anna is officially a Security Changemaker (Microsoft Security Excellence Awards).

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