Industry Voice: Security buyers need to start reading the small print

Contributed by Piers Morgan, VP & GM EMEA, eSentire

clock • 4 min read
Industry Voice: Security buyers need to start reading the small print

It used to be that taking out those ‘essential' policies, whether they're for travel or car insurance, wasn't all that complicated. Find a policy that ticks all the boxes for the lowest price and leave it at that, hoping (perhaps expecting) that you'd never have to make a claim.

The past 18 months have changed all that-anyone who's been brave enough to attempt travel has had to pore over the small print and tutor themselves in the minutiae of cancellation policies.

We've demonstrated that we are far more willing to comb through pages of legalese when faced with the hassle of rearranging travel plans and the worry of being stranded abroad. We'll also invest more in policies (GoCompare says we're spending 38% extra than last year) that will truly protect us when the time comes.

Suddenly, the intricate details of paperwork that were once overlooked have shifted up our collective priority list. Why? Because the risk is so glaring and the probability so inevitable.

Cybersecurity is no different­-there are many parallels here when considering the decisions made in acquiring security solutions and managed services. After all, cybersecurity is all about mitigating risk.

Don't buy now only to pay-out more later

There's no doubt that many cybersecurity teams will have heard horror stories of peers being blasé when it comes to investment decisions on security risk. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a 500% increase in ransomware attacks, 92% of which have been paid either in part or full.

For me, it begs the question: rather than paying the ransom, why don't cyber victims read the small print on solutions and services and take measures to prevent these attacks happening in the first place?

In fairness, it's more complicated than that. Many of those putting rigorous diligence into understanding the nitty-gritty of their security policies will have been disheartened by their findings. The reality is that much of the small print laid down in security SLAs and service contracts simply doesn't address the reality of dealing with cyber exploits.

This leads to two crucial questions:

  • In the throes of an attack, will you get straight through to a real cyber security expert or an automated service that slows you down in those crucial moments?
  • Do you have an assured period within which certain cyber response actions are guaranteed to happen, or are the specifics of your provider's response really quite vague (and therefore unhelpful)?

The answers will make or break how, and if, you recover from a cyber attack, and could cost you a lot more than the price of the security protection you put in place as ‘an insurance policy'.

The devil shouldn't be in the details

We're big believers in true Managed Detection and Response (MDR), and organisations that harness MDR should have the confidence to believe in it too. That is, ‘true' MDR means never having to settle for partial security and getting the accountability that comes from the right blend of human experts and machine-driven automation. It's complete MDR with no hidden surprises or caveats in the small print.

Returning to our analogy for a moment - MDR, and cybersecurity in general, should be about moving from protection to detection. Countless people I talk to feel totally secure in having the best protection measures in place, but they need to understand that isn't enough - not when their own users consciously or unconsciously may undermine it.

Looking at the small print is critical whether it be in travel, or in cybersecurity. In the case of Managed Detection and Response, here's what you should be looking for…

  • A time period for mean time to contain (eSentire's mean time to contain threats with our 24/7 Multi-Signal MDR is 15 minutes).
  • A time period for threat suppression (eSentire's offers an incident response retainer with an industry-leading 4-hour remote threat suppression SLA, day or night).
  • A qualified cyber risk advisor assigned specifically to your organisation, working as an extension of your team to enhance your cyber resilience and deal with issues.

To companies considering engaging an MDR provider, I'd advise against solely making the decision based on the price point-you get what you pay for.

Given today's cyber threat landscape, why take the risk?

Always read the small print. It will help you make sure your cybersecurity provider is ready for whatever's around the corner and won't leave you high and dry at the exact moment you need it most.

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