Network security service providers protect IT infrastructure from unauthorized internal or external access.
The services take over that function from IT teams to enable internal IT resources to focus on more strategic business priorities. Security services can also fill in gaps when internal staff aren’t on duty, like nights and weekends – when cyber attacks still happen.
Network security providers are in high demand, whether through vendors offering networking software and hardware or as networking as a service provided by managed service providers (MSPs).
Dell’Oro Group’s latest Network Security five-year forecast report found that demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS) and virtual-based network security is expected to become 51% of the $33 billion total network security market by 2026.
A ‘Seismic Shift’ in Networking
Since the arrival of the first network security appliances in the 1980s, the dominant approach for network security solutions companies has been to sell an assortment of purpose-built boxes. But a seismic shift is taking place.
“Cloud-centric security will continue to grow faster than the overall market,” said Mauricio Sanchez, an analyst at Dell’Oro. “Between enterprises embracing cloud applications and hybrid work as the new normal, we see them preferring SaaS- and virtual-based network security solutions that serve these use cases better.
“This is not to say that we see hardware security appliances disappearing, but they no longer represent the vanguard of network security they once were.”
SaaS- and virtual-based web application firewalls (WAFs), for example, are expected to grow 25% each year from 2021 to 2026. Other network security services with a similar growth trajectory are secure web gateways (SWGs) and other networking elements that are part of the secure access service edge (SASE) architecture (see our MSP Guide to SASE).
At the other end of the scale, the once ubiquitous physical firewall appliance, which accounted for more than 75% of total hardware-based network security spending in 2020, is expected to grow at a solid but unspectacular 7% a year for the next half decade.
What is a Network Security Service?
Network security services protect organizational infrastructure and any connected servers or devices from undesirable access, mishandling, or cyberattack. Instead of providing a firewall or appliance for internal IT resources to run the equipment, external service providers take care of support, updating, and running network security operations.
There is a wealth of network security services available. These include WAFs, SWGs, SD-WANs, managed firewalls, ransomware prevention, managed detection and response (MDR), intrusion response (IR), and more.
Why Use a Network Security Service?
Organizations face a wide range of advanced and automated attacks that look to evade traditional security technologies and approaches. To successfully counter and protect against these threats, security solutions and teams need to detect and respond to attacks in near real time.
Therefore, purchasing security as a service from a trusted vendor is a good way to supply the agility and resources that would otherwise overwhelm resource-constrained security teams. These vendors often have the resources to heavily invest in threat research and cross-industry threat intelligence sharing as well as possessing a talent pool that would be hard for other organizations to acquire. In all likelihood, this is the best way to enhance organizational resiliency against advanced attacks and prevent zero-day and ransomware attacks.
Cloud-delivered security services provide the policy consistency needed across an organization with distributed infrastructure from data centers, campuses, branches, home offices, and multi-cloud deployments. When security is natively integrated with networking, it allows organizations to dynamically and securely adapt to things like shifting connectivity needs, remote workers, or applications that may need to move between hybrid IT architectures.
“Lack of talent, time, or training often drive companies to deploy network security services,” said Tommy Smith, vice president of Avertium. “In many instances, it can be more cost effective to have the MSSP bear the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading the technology than it would be done by the enterprise.”
Core Features of a Network Security Service
According to Fortinet, the core minimum features buyers should look for in a network security service solution provider are:
- Strong security research and fast implementation of innovation to stay ahead of threats, with rapid consumption of advanced security innovations across web, content, and device attack vectors
- Security that is natively integrated to help coordinate detection, analysis, and protection across the organization
- The ability to cover networks, endpoints, and clouds with context-aware policies to provide consistent security for hybrid deployments
- A user-based, as-a-service licensing model that allows users to easily predict costs, scale the business, and simplify the purchasing process across hybrid IT deployments
Best Network Security Service Providers
Channel Insider reviewed the many network security services out there to come up with our list of the top providers. The vendors below are a mix of offerings for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and for MSPs looking to add security services to their portfolio.
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The Fortinet Security Fabric delivers context-aware, consistent security from users to applications and is capable of countering threats in real time. The company offers integrated security (as a service) across its broad portfolio and ecosystem, allowing Fortinet to deliver detection and enforcement close to protected assets.
- Fortinet has well-regarded services such as FortiGuard, an AI-powered suite of security services, and FortiCare, a set of advanced support offerings
- Fortinet offers a portfolio of security services ranging from content security, with technologies like antivirus and sandboxing, to web security, with technologies like URL, DNS, CS, and device security with IPS, IoT and OT
- It also offers email, web application firewall (WAF), and cloud access security broker (CASB) security
- Offers managed security operations center (SOC) as a service, in which Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs team monitors a customer’s environment and alerts on threat activity
- FortiTrust Services is a unified offering with a single user-based licensing model for flexible consumption across networks, endpoints, and clouds
- FortiMail delivers multi-layered protection against the spectrum of email-borne threats
- Right integration with other Fortinet products as well as third-party components
Avertium managed security services are based on cybersecurity program maturity growth and MITRE ATTA&CK best practices. This is then paired with a variety of toolsets, trained and certified experts, and industry best practices. These services encompass unifying zero trust; enterprise data management (EDM); security, information, and event management (SIEM); and more.
- Fully integrated SIEM, extended detection and response (XDR), managed detection and response (MDR), endpoint detection and response (EDR), vulnerability management, zero-trust networking, and architecture and integration services
- Certified experts are available 24/7
- Avertium creates, in collaboration with the customer, disciplined forward motion to improve an organization’s security posture
- XDR gives visibility into data across networks, clouds, endpoints, and applications
- The solution uses best-in-class technologies from the likes of LogRhythm, Splunk, KnowBe4, Digital Defense, Sophos, Fortinet, and Carbon Black
- An initial health check of the existing security program and a security maturity score against Avertium’s security scorecard
Trend Micro offers an integrated managed service across email, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and networks. The company has a well-developed MSP partner program with a suite of security solutions tailored specifically for MSPs.
- The suite combines advanced threat protection techniques and a connected platform to centralize visibility across all security controls, layers, and customers
- Consolidates key functions, such as license and billing management
- Trend Micro Managed XDR drives improvements in time-to-detect and time-to-respond, while minimizing the risks and impact of threats.
- Email is protected by Trend Micro Cloud App Security for Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite
- Endpoints are protected with Trend Micro Apex One multi-layered endpoint security
- Servers and cloud workloads are protected by Trend Micro Deep Security Software or Trend Micro Cloud One
- Networks equipped with Trend Micro Deep Discovery Inspector provide network detection across over 100 protocols and all network ports
Netenrich works with MSPs, mid-sized companies, and small enterprises to right-size their security operations and drive their digital transformation efforts. Its managed XDR services enable continuous, full visibility and coverage across all network assets and hybrid cloud environments.
- Netenrich offers MDR for endpoints, on-premises infrastructure (network, data center), cloud, user behavior monitoring, and SaaS applications
- 24/7 full visibility and coverage of cybersecurity threats, exposures, and vulnerabilities
- Fast detection, prioritization, and resolution of threats
- Threat hunting
- The platform delivers MDR/XDR solutions through integrations with SIEM and EDR tools, such as IBM QRadar for SIEM, VMWare Carbon Black for EDR, Microsoft Defender for O365 Email, IBM QRadar User Behavioral Analytics, and more
Cynet offers MSPs a complete breach protection service with a single, multi-tenant platform that converges critical endpoint, user, and network security functionalities.
- Cynet XDR prevents and detects threats on endpoints, networks, and users
- Works in conjunction with CyOps, Cynet’s 24/7 SOC team of threat researchers and security analysts
- Cynet Prevention & Detection leverages Cynet Sensor Fusion to provide the integrated capabilities of Next-Generation Antivirus, Endpoint Detection and Response, Network Analytics, and Deception and User Behavioral Analytics
- Cynet Response Orchestration includes a set of remediation actions to address infected hosts, malicious files, attacker-controlled network traffic, and compromised user accounts
- CyOps assist with in-depth investigation, proactive threat hunting, malware analysis, and attack reports, ensuring that every security event is handled and resolved
Perception Point is a prevention-as-a-service company that caters to MSPs with competitive pricing to maintain high partner margins. The company offers interception of any content-borne attack across email and additional cloud collaboration channels, such as cloud storage, cloud apps, messaging platforms, and API.
- Perception Point identifies any content-borne cyberattack entering the organization through any cloud channel and is run on all files, URLs, and free text
- Low false positive rates due to a 7-layer platform, which includes anti-phishing engines, prevention of file-based attacks, and business email compromise (BEC) capabilities to prevent text-based impersonation
- Its hardware-assisted platform (HAP) is a sandbox with a scanning engine
- Anti-evasion engines to uncover any attempt to hide/conceal malicious intent, including algorithms and architecture allowing scanning of all content in various forms and methods to ensure that the malicious intent is discovered
- Cross-channel protection including cloud storage, collaboration apps, and in-house APIs
- The company’s incident response team is included in the service at no extra charge
Secureworks Taegis VDR is a SaaS vulnerability management solution aimed at getting MSPs up and running fast, with external scans that can be run with no downloads or configurations.
- VDR provides faster and more informed vulnerability management, with context-driven vulnerability prioritization
- MSSP-friendly SaaS solution with a cloud management platform that enables fast deployment and rapid results
- Ability to store historical vulnerability management data whether customers are scanned continuously, monthly, quarterly
- The platform has a single console to manage all customer environments
- The MSSP-first licensing model allows for utilization-based billing
- The Taegis security analytics platform uses data science techniques to expose adversaries that would otherwise go undetected
Syxsense Active Secure is a managed service available to MSPs that offers vulnerability scanning, server and endpoint patch management, and endpoint security. It enables MSPs to prevent cyberattacks by scanning authorization issues, security implementation, and antivirus status.
- Enhance managed services and increase recurring revenue by automating IT management, offering comprehensive patch management, and full security vulnerability scanning
- Multiple security contexts allow MSPs to instantly move between multiple customers in a single console
- Grant various levels of security access to leverage staff efficiently
- Within minutes, add and begin managing new nodes and customers
- Get accurate data from thousands of devices in under 10 seconds