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As the managed security service provider (MSSP) market continues to flourish, customer demand and intense competition place margins under constant pressure. In this climate, MSSP delivery teams must maximize efficiency in order to remain competitive.

When operating a security operations center (SOC) team, MSSPs must tackle a host of challenges affecting core operating capabilities, such as the sheer quantity of alerts and tedious repetitive tasks in the face of shortages of qualified analysts. MSSPs must also overcome structural and systemic challenges, including coping with diverse customer technology environments and maintaining visibility across a broad customer base.

When effectively executed, security orchestration and automation can solve many of these challenges. By providing a backbone for security operations, security orchestration enables an MSSP to scale its customer base, thus driving productivity among analyst teams, lowering operational costs, improving margins, and enhancing customer service quality.

Challenges Facing MSSPs

Many of the challenges facing MSSP security teams are similar to those faced by a typical enterprise SOC.  These challenges include too many alerts, a shortage of analyst personnel, and a lack of integrated systems and reliance on manual processes–all of which strain the efficiency of an effective SOC.  Add to this the unique challenges of discrete customer environments and multiple homegrown systems that a typical MSSP must navigate, and the complexity quickly grows.

To succeed and remain competitive, an MSSP must address these complexities to drive consistency and efficiency, regardless of the delivery model. MSSP leaders have come to recognize that the answer does not lie within legacy security solutions or in simply throwing more manpower at the problem.

Security Orchestration and Automation for MSSPs

Security orchestration connects existing security tools while bringing simplicity, context, and efficiency to complex customer security product environments. Orchestration also provides a means to control SOC activities (incident response, threat investigation, SOC & customer collaboration, etc.) and to enforce security work as well as human responders.

Automation, an essential component of orchestration, performs the execution of incident response workflow without human intervention. Automation capabilities may be partial (utilizing tools that codify workflows or perform actions based on scripts) or full (entailing machine-based automation).

Together, security orchestration and automation provide the foundation for effective security operations.

Orchestration, Automation and ROI

The challenges facing an MSSP SOC team are often similar to those facing an enterprise SOC team. But what is a cost center in an enterprise is a profit center in an MSSP. Clear benefits of an MSSP include enhanced customer acquisition and increased productivity of analyst teams. These benefits significantly lower the cost of delivery, improve the customer experience, and enhance visibility across customers.

Security orchestration for MSSPs isn’t meant to completely replace your security operations center (SOC) teams, but to instead provide the fabric to drive efficiency throughout. It is meant to be a powerful tool in your analyst’s toolbox, helping them to make quicker, more effective decisions for your company. It isn’t meant to supplant human resources, but rather to direct and supplement them. Cyber security orchestration and automation for MSSP companies provides scalability, improved productivity, and increased performance at a lower cost.

From a management perspective, scalability, productivity, performance, and cost are all major factors to consider in their cyber security operations. Orchestration provides the tools that allow SOC teams to deliver all four–and to do so more effectively than they would without.