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Right-sized Security: Choosing Managed Services for Your Business

04.17.24 | By Ascent

Dollars spent do not guarantee your business’ security. Scoping the highest risks your business faces and matching it with the budget your team is willing to spend takes time. Managed security is often cost effective, but sometimes selecting the right mix of services to best secure your business feels overwhelming.

Read on for a right-sized approach to managed security services:

1: Assess broad business risks

Cybersecurity ties directly to a business’ revenue. Whether a business loses confidential data, suffers a full breach, or is at risk for both, a lack of security effects the business financials. Standards for operating often include cybersecurity guidelines. Governance, regulation, and compliance (GRC) standards follow industry-specific check lists.

If a financial services provider fails an accounting audit, the business would lose customer contracts. If an energy and utilities provider fails a physical security audit, it must take serious steps to secure the water purification plant or power grid. Cybersecurity risk is a similar barrier to safe business function.

If your digital operations rely on compliance, financial or data security, business-to-business or business-to-consumer transactions, cybersecurity measures ensure you make your revenue. Don’t spend your IT budget on the best-in-breed tools to solve for insecure process. A cybersecurity consulting organization who understands the benchmarks your organization needs to achieve may help you meet that goal.

2: Assess risk severity

So how should businesses assess the severity of a cyber risk? Are all risks to business operations equal?

No, all cyber risks aren’t equal, but they are worth assessing and ranking. Regardless of your industry, size, geographic location, and other factors, you already have a threat profile. The most mature managed security services support the development of a tailored heat map, tying threat actors who target midsized industries like financial services, utilities, retail and consumer goods to your industry and organization.

Your organization may have a low click rate on phishing emails but minimal network segmentation. Once the threat actor accesses your network, he or she can co-opt corporate data and credentials necessary for lateral movement.

Working backward from the operational benefits of insecure design (like a lack of network segmentation reducing interruptions for the water purification plant) to intuitive solutions (like micro segmentation dividing operating layers, secured with authenticated logins instead of individual machine lockdown) unites business requirements and cyber regulation.

3: Assess cyber metrics

How do you demonstrate the impact of cybersecurity decisions to your leadership? If your organization uses tooling like a security incident event management (SIEM) or an endpoint management system, the data is accessible to your team, but it’s often too technical in its raw form to relate to the rest of the business.

A managed security firm can help you gather data from the tools you already use to demonstrate quantitative risk. For example, like you would for finance or operations, nail down the precise number of endpoints under approved company controls and the number of endpoints with exceptions to those rules. How many incidents a year happen because of policy exceptions? Contextualizing a number from a report you may already create can focus your strategy and encourage stakeholder buy in.

4: Assess threat exposure

Sometimes cyber risk can’t be patched or blocked with a software solution. Exposures often accept risk contingent on the fulfillment of a business process.

An Ascent customer faced an exposure the business couldn’t immediately solve. Ascent’s security operations center (SOC) caught the vulnerability and suggested a patch. But the customer’s manufacturing floor couldn’t pause production to push an out-of-cycle patch, even for a critical-severity vulnerability. Instead, Ascent’s SOC provided threat intelligence, created custom alerting, and guided the client’s security team to a best practice response.

After accepting the risk, multiple ransomware actors targeted the vulnerability within 24 hours. Ascent analysts updated detections for emerging indicators of compromise (IOCs). Even though the customer took on a dangerous risk, Ascent’s team minimized the actual impact until the vulnerability could be patched.

Security Operations tailored to your business

Not all cyber risks require the same level of concern or budget investment, but cybersecurity does affect your business financials. Learning the balance between scoping risk to technical and business vulnerability takes time. Let our team of consultants meet you where you’re at in your cybersecurity journey. We supplement your IT team with 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year analysts in our modern security operations center (SOC). Ascent’s portfolio of exposure management services provides case-specific solutions or an all-in approach depending on your need and maturity. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to


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