Emerging tech and talent challenges highlight need for managed security services

Managed security services provide a leg up as companies become more digital

May 30, 2024
Risk consulting Cybersecurity consulting Managed services

Creating an effective cybersecurity approach is not optional for middle market companies, as suffering a cyberattack can have a harmful ripple effect across the business. But small internal security groups can feel overwhelmed and outnumbered as they contend daily with criminals from countries around the world. Managed security services solutions have become a critical strategy for middle market companies to augment existing personnel or take over entire functions, establishing a security strategy that can stand up to modern threats.

In the 2024 RSM US Middle Market Business Index Cybersecurity Special Report, 61% of respondents indicated they had two or fewer data security and privacy employees. With companies becoming more digital every day and the potential attack surface expanding, companies often don’t have enough internal resources to cover evolving risks.

In addition, with the continuing challenges in the labor market, qualified security talent can be difficult to hire and retain. And the internal personnel companies do have may not have the right skills to keep up with the rapidly evolving threat environment. Simply stated, companies often need help.

“Operations that require a large investment in technology are typically where it is tough to get people that have the necessary skill level,” says Daniel Gabriel, a principal at RSM. “So, companies turn those functions over to an experienced third-party provider. It is often a reaction to the inability to get the right talent in the organization, but it’s a good way to augment a team.”

Managed services have been a trusted strategy for middle market companies within several functions for many years. But in recent years, the strategy has expanded to encompass security and privacy services, giving companies options when internal resources are not sufficient.

In addition, while managed security options were initially limited to monitoring services, several other services are emerging to meet the specific needs of the market. For example, RSM Defense is RSM’s managed security monitoring solution, but also available are new services for governance, risk and compliance as well as a loan staff strategy that can provide experienced staff for as long as a company needs them.

“I am seeing more companies that want a provider that can provide multiple services, says Gabriel. “They don’t want to work with 30 service providers. Instead, they want a provider who can provide multiple things and package those up for seamless interaction.”

In recent years, how companies engage with managed services providers has changed. Previously, such providers were treated as third parties that provided little value—they just handled a process nobody wanted to do. But organizations were not typically getting the results they anticipated, and they began looking for more value from providers.

“Now, when companies engage us in conversations about managed services, it’s about what outcomes they will receive,” says Gabriel. “It’s not only about how we will support a product or tools, but also about what value the company will gain by entering a managed services agreement.”

The way the market is buying managed services is pivoting, and companies are getting better at determining what they want.

“Companies have become more sophisticated, and they are looking for more things as a service,” says Gabriel. “That’s where they can offload repetitive tasks or things that they do not have the personnel or experience to handle themselves and get results.”

A managed security services strategy provides several direct benefits, including scalable solutions that can grow with demand and advanced tools that companies may not have access to otherwise. In addition, with the modular approach and the growing depth of managed security solutions, companies have seamless access to whatever resources they need to secure their environment.

As companies implement more technology and cybersecurity risks become more complex, managed security services become a more attractive option. These services are rapidly moving toward becoming a core component of middle market security strategies, providing deep experience, more effective protection and enhanced flexibility at a predictable cost.

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Cybersecurity 2024 special report

Our annual insights into cybersecurity trends, strategies and concerns shaping the marketplace for midsize businesses in an increasingly complex risk environment.