“High touch” managed security services can compensate for geographical distance

Proficio counts on winning hearts and minds as it ramps up its Australian MSSP pitch

The large distances between office locations makes Australian companies “amenable” to remote managed security service provider (MSSP) arrangements in which distance is compensated for by “high touch” service, the Singapore-based regional head of MSSP Proficio has said as the company expands into Australia with a sales office in Melbourne.

US-based Proficio maintains a security operations centre (SOC) in Singapore and a sales office in Hong Kong, but the Fitzroy, Melbourne office “will serve as a regional hub”, Proficio president Tim McElwee said in a statement.

For now, the company is focused on expanding its roster of Australian companies – which, APAC managing director Alex Tok told CSO Australia, already includes “a broad mix of clientele” across transportation, logistics, financial and healthcare sectors.

MSSP services have become increasingly popular as companies seek to bolster their security capabilities despite often-restrictive budget and skills limitations.

Growing awareness of the risk of security breach – which is often gained after an organisation discovers it has been breached – is a common driver for MSSP adoption, Gartner said in a recent analysis that forecasted the worldwide security services market would reach $US57.7 billion ($A75.7b) this year on the back of strong and steady growth.

"Skill sets are scarce and therefore remain at a premium, [causing] leading organizations to seek external help from security consultants, managed security service providers and outsourcers," said Gartner research director Ruggero Contu said in a statement. “The IT outsourcing segment is the second-largest security spending segment after consulting."

Proficio, for its part, aims to capitalise on that growing demand with a high-touch service that supports a core roster of managed security services with custom MSS solutions, a customer portal for viewing alerts and event details, and what Tok calls “a huge library of analytics correlation use cases that help us detect threats in a very early stage and stop the cyber kill chain before there is damage to the network.”

It’s not the only company bringing intelligence to the MSSP engagement. Security provider Trend Micro, for one, this week launched a Trend Micro Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service that is leaning heavily on AI to bolster its alert management capabilities.

Ultimately, Tok said, success in a competitive market depends on taking the proactive steps that respect customers’ time and effort, and the restrictions their own resource limitations put on them.

“In the security space the high-touch service is very important,” Tok said. “They don’t need people in another country sending them a lot of alerts, because that becomes a double negative for them when MSSPs escalate false positives and they waste time closing out those; they are spending money to do more work.”

Centralising SOC capabilities in Singapore helped the company build up its service bulk, with ready access to that country’s growing body of cybersecurity-trained students and workers. And with supporting infrastructure simplifying the delivery of the company’s services to customers in Australia and elsewhere, the service model had become highly scalable and effective.

“In small countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, customers expect the support centre to be within half an hour’s drive away,” Tok said. “But in Australia they hardly ever even ask where the support centre is. All they care about is making sure that the service that is delivered is of a high quality.”

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