Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) face the same cybersecurity issues as their enterprise counterparts, only they lack the staff to monitor their networks 24/7. To bridge that gap, many SMBs turn to managed security services. However, without experience in the technology industry, it can be difficult for small businesses to know what kinds of protection services they need. This guide covers the top security services for SMBs and what they should look for.
What to Look for in Small Business Security Services
Not all security services will have the same offerings, but they should at least be responsive to their customers and provide what they need to keep their business running.
Service-level agreements (SLAs) outline a minimum level of acceptable service that the MSSP will provide. Depending on the type of security services they provide, this may include uptime and support response times. SLAs should also cover all of the duties that the MSSP will perform, the metrics they will be measured by, and what happens if those duties or metrics are not met. This protects the customer from paying for services that they aren’t getting while also protecting the MSSP from being asked to do more than is in their contract.
Live Customer Service
While it may not always be available, live customer service can help ensure that businesses get help when they need it. Because MSSPs provide security, their customers are going to need help faster than most other types of managed services providers. Live support options can help them respond to breaches quickly and keep their customers secure.
However, if an MSSP is handling all of the security management for an organization, they may not need to offer live support because the customer won’t be sending them information about anomalies. Instead, they can offer a ticketing system, but they should still provide fast response times.
High Customer Ratings
Before signing with a service, SMBs should check user reviews to make sure the provider is meeting expectations. Reviews should identify any common problems that customers have dealt with and how responsive the MSSP is, as well as the size of the business they work best with. MSSPs that work with several enterprise companies may not pay as much attention to their smaller customers. It is important to remember that customer reviews are inherently biased, so take extremely negative or overly positive reviews with a grain of salt and instead look for common themes, and compare across vendors too to get an idea of what’s typical.
Best Managed Security Services for SMBs
- Incident response services
- Managed detection and response
- Managed firewalls
- Ransomware backup services
- Email Security
- Network Security
Incident Response Services
Incident response is the set of processes that businesses execute when they’ve experienced a security breach. MSSPs that handle incident response are experts in cybersecurity and know the fastest way to remediate a breach and get organizations running normally again. They’ll also have automated remediation tools and continuous monitoring capabilities that can help them respond to a breach before their customer even knows there was one.
Incident response MSSPs should offer most of the following services:
- 24/7 continuous monitoring
- Threat intelligence and hunting
- Behavioral analytics
- Analytics and reporting
- Email and endpoint protection
- Threat scoring and prioritization
Many incident response MSSPs also provide vulnerability assessments that show SMBs how a breach entered their system and how they can protect against similar attacks in the future.
Best Incident Response Service Providers
SMBs looking for an incident response service provider should consider the below MSSPs:
Barracuda MSP provides an automated process for remediating threats with AI-powered solutions. After responding to immediate threats, the security team then takes proactive steps to fortify the network against future attacks. Barracuda covers networks, endpoints, and email security for complete and correlated protection.
Sophos quickly identifies and remediates any active threats in an organization’s infrastructure, including malware infections and unauthorized access. Businesses get 24/7 remote incident response as well as threat hunting and analysis. Sophos provides small businesses with a dedicated point of contact, helping them resolve issues faster.
Check out our full list of the Best Incident Response Services for SMBs for more recommendations tailored to small businesses.
Managed Detection and Response
Like incident response, managed detection and response (MDR) is also geared towards responding to breaches, with the key difference being that the MDR team is also typically the one to identify them. Because SMBs often don’t have in-house cybersecurity experts, they have to turn to outside help to monitor their systems for anomalies.
MDR MSSPs can help small businesses correctly deploy and implement their security software and fortify their systems against existing vulnerabilities.
MDR MSSPs should provide several services, including, but not limited to:
- 24/7 continuous monitoring
- Behavioral analytics
- Threat intelligence and hunting
- Real-time visibility
- Threat response and remediation
- Modern antivirus technology
Some MDR providers may require their customers to purchase their own security software. Before choosing a provider, organizations should discuss software with the MSSP and determine whether it’s included in the services or not.
Top MDR Service Providers
The best MDR providers should have experience successfully stopping and remediating cyber attacks. Consider these top MDR service providers:
Sophos MDR includes 24/7 threat hunting, machine learning, and behavioral analysis for a proactive approach to cybersecurity. The team takes targeted actions to neutralize threats and provide deeper investigations of alerts. Sophos offers fast response times for endpoints, servers, and cloud environments and allows users to control how they’re alerted about incidents.
CrowdStrike Falcon is a complete MDR solution for 24/7 monitoring with next-generation antivirus (NGAV), endpoint detection and response (EDR), and threat hunting services. The threat intelligence team uses indicators of attack to respond to threats faster while providing real-time visibility into all activity on endpoints connected to the network.
For more recommendations, get our full list of the Best Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services for SMBs.
Most businesses have some kind of firewall in place, but without active management, it won’t be as effective as it could be. Managed firewall providers implement the firewall infrastructure for their customers and maintain it to improve rules and protocols.
Firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) is the latest iteration of firewalls perfect for SMBs, offering cloud-based firewalls for organizations that don’t want on-premises infrastructure. Many MSSPs offer managed FWaaS, so SMBs get the benefits of both cloud-based infrastructure and external management.
As threats emerge and change, so too should a business’s firewall ruleset. MSSPs that offer managed firewalls should provide regular maintenance for their customers’ firewalls, as well as the following services:
- 24/7 continuous monitoring
- Traffic reports and analytics
- Secure web gateways
- Network segmentation
- Data protection
- Endpoint visibility
Some managed firewall service providers may market their services as secure access server edge (SASE) or will include managed firewall as part of a larger service offering.
Best Managed Firewall MSSPs for SMBs
SMBs looking for managed firewall providers should consider the following MSSPs. Organizations should note that some of these options offer more than just managed firewalls, meaning they could cover a larger portion of their security needs.
Fortinet provides SASE protections, including FWaaS, a secure web gateway, and zero trust network access. It eliminates common security gaps without requiring maintenance from internal IT teams. Plus, Fortinet even extends protection to remote employees, allowing organizations to stay secure while employees work from home.
Perimeter 81 offers FWaaS with rule-based network access, network visibility, identity and access management, and application-level security. Role-based access makes it easier for organizations to segment their network and keep threats contained if they’re able to breach the network edge.
Get a full list of the Top Managed Firewall Service Providers to find the best fit for your SMB.
Ransomware Backup Services
Many small businesses think they aren’t at risk for ransomware attacks, but in 2020, 55 percent of ransomware attacks were aimed at businesses with fewer than 100 employees. SMBs typically have fewer cybersecurity defenses in place, meaning attackers can get valuable data without much resistance.
Backup services are one of the best ways for businesses to protect themselves against ransomware because if they have backups of their data, they can recover those backups from their storage locations instead of paying a ransom. Additionally, paying the ransom might not even guarantee that businesses will get their data back, so backups are the best way to prevent permanent data loss. MSSPs that offer ransomware backup services provide automatic backups and store those files away from the originals.
In order to be effective, ransomware backup services have to include the following offerings:
- 24/7 recovery support
- Regular, automated backups
- Offsite and offline backup storage
- Fast recovery times
- Granular recovery
Some ransomware backup MSSPs will also offer ransomware protection, dark web monitoring, and phishing defense to help block ransomware or other attacks from breaching your system in the first place.
Best Ransomware Backup Services for SMBs
These are a couple of the best ransomware backup services for SMBs:
Zerto provides backup, recovery, and protection for applications and data on private, public, or hybrid cloud environments. The SaaS platform continuously backs up the data for easier recovery and mobility. Businesses get backup and recovery options for Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
AvePoint is a cloud-based backup solution that provides long-term data retention and offline access for recovery even during natural disasters. Businesses get granular rollback, making recovery easier and faster as well as protection for anywhere between 10 and 10,000 users. AvePoint integrates with other software, including Salesforce, Google Workspace, or Microsoft 365.
For a full list and in-depth analysis of these vendors, check out our article on the Best Ransomware Backup Services.
Email is responsible for delivering nearly 90 percent of malware to businesses, meaning email security should be one of the highest priorities for organizational security. Email security services filter incoming emails to block messages from known malicious domains or those with suspicious subject lines, links, or attachments. Some email security providers also use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the structure of emails and identify those that match known attacks.
Email security providers install and manage the email security tools to alter the rulesets as threats change. They also offer ongoing technical support and incident response in the case of an email breach.
Email security MSSPs should offer many of the following services to prevent email threats:
- Sandboxing for file analysis
- Risk scoring and threat intelligence
- Inbound and outbound email scanning
- Automatic isolation of potential malware
- Phishing simulators
- Web security
Email security providers should also have different levels of support available depending on whether the business needs help with technical support, a breach, or other issues. Breaches will require the fastest response.
Top Small Business Email Security Providers
Businesses looking to add email security to their organization should consider:
Cofense operates 24/7 phishing defense centers to protect its clients against social engineering attacks. Along with email security, organizations can add employee cybersecurity awareness training and phishing simulations to help their employees learn how to spot and handle suspicious emails. The provider offers threat intelligence, detection, analysis, and remediation to improve protections against future attacks.
Mimecast offers email security solutions specifically built for organizations with fewer than 100 employees providing targeted threat protection, awareness training, and a secure email gateway. SMBs also get awareness training, phishing simulations, and risk scores to improve their overall response to malicious emails. Mimecast also provides web security against malicious URLs.
Get the full list of our recommendations for the Best Email Security Providers & Services.
Network security providers block unauthorized access to an organization’s network from both internal and external sources. These MSSPs provide 24/7 monitoring to keep organizations safe even when they don’t have people in the office. They install and manage network security tools, like firewalls and endpoint protection platforms, and segment the network in order to protect sensitive data even when an attacker manages to get inside the network.
Network security providers should include at least several of the following services:
- 24/7 monitoring
- Microsegmentation and zero trust practices
- Threat intelligence and hunting
- Contextual security policies
- Endpoint, email, and web protections
- Integrated security tools
Some network security MSSPs might also include MDR or managed firewall services, giving organizations the ability to put more than one service with the same vendor.
Best Network Security Providers for Small Businesses
Here are a couple of options that organizations looking for a network security provider should consider:
Cynet offers full breach protection services, including endpoint, user, and network security. It offers a 24/7 security operations center (SOC), complete with experienced threat researchers and security analysts. The CyOps division provides in-depth investigations, threat hunting, and attack reports to ensure that each security event is fully resolved.
Secureworks provides a SaaS vulnerability management system that doesn’t require downloads or configurations to protect an organization. Businesses get contextual information about their vulnerabilities, so MSSPs can prioritize their remediation efforts. Additionally, it includes a security analytics platform that uses data science techniques to identify unknown threats.
We also offer a full list of the Top Network Security Service Providers with an in-depth analysis of each MSSP.
How to Choose the Best Small Business Security Services
Many MSSPs offer more than one type of security service, allowing SMBs to bundle their security needs with a single provider. That gives them the potential for more savings, gives them a single point of contact for questions or concerns, and makes implementation easier.
However, if small businesses can’t use the same provider for their security services, they should read user reviews and ask other small businesses about the MSSPs they use. Chances are, similar businesses will have similar experiences with their security providers, so organizations that currently use or have used providers in the past will be able to provide the best insights.
Additionally, consider your budget and the security priorities of your business. Email security should be your top concern with ransomware backups and incident response closely following. However, not all SMBs will need or be able to afford full MDR or network security services, so it’s important to be realistic about what’s in the organization’s budget and how to best allocate security resources.