Your franchise could be breached and you might not even know it. What can you do about it?

By Saylor Frase

In just the last 25 years, the security landscape has changed drastically, and it continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Today, hackers are part of a billion-dollar-plus industry designed to make money. Their motives have changed over the years, so has their modus operandi. 

In the past, most hackers found purpose in simply gaining access to a network and perhaps committing graffiti-type damage. Intrusions for actual financial gain were the exception. Now it’s a more dangerous game. Hackers are driven by financial gain. They are organized and work on a scale to access, steal data and escape unnoticed.

While many franchise owners don’t think they’re at risk for getting hacked, they also believe they would know if their network was breached. In fact, more than a third of PC users surveyed by the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance said they believe that they have a greater chance of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning than being hit by malicious code. It turns out that’s simply false. We have found that one in five franchises are already breached where the owner is unaware. 

To tackle this, many security vendors are highlighting a managed detection and response (MDR) security service to help organizations identify threats, and assist with breach remediation activities. Since most franchisees do not have a team of security experts in-house, this service helps franchisees manage, detect and respond to security events. When vetting an MDR security service, there are several things to consider.

Advanced Technology

Nowadays, there’s a piece of technology for just about anything. Companies scramble to procure anti-virus, firewalls and network monitoring technologies, but the problem is these systems are mostly disparate, with no way to gain visibility between them, and are based primarily on known threat signatures. 

MDR solutions are intended to manage the security events for you. Additionally, the MDR solution should be able to find potential security issues that a security product alone cannot detect. This technology needs to go beyond signatures to really look at the network and use advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence and heuristics to find advanced threats. One of the most crucial pieces of technology for a successful MDR is a security information event management (SIEM) solution. SIEM technology gathers data from the network and end points to help providers gain visibility and find threats that go unnoticed by security products alone.  

When looking for an MDR provider, ensure they are deploying leading technology, not just managing your existing software or network devices, and ensure they have a method to detect advanced threats, like a SIEM solution. Also, ask specifically how their MDR solutions really manages threat detection. A true MDR provider will be able to explain how they use advanced technologies and methods to detect intrusions not found by traditional hardware or software. 

Informed Expertise 

Although technology can be a major part of threats, response is more important. A true MDR vendor provides security experts to help respond to events on the network.  

This industry is changing so rapidly. Hackers are consistently changing their tactics and finding new ways to get into a network, steal info and get out quickly. Security experts that are ahead of the industry curve and up to date with the latest trends are necessary to not only find events, but help to respond when something happens.

When looking at a MDR solution, ask questions about the response element of the solution. Make sure the solution is not merely sending alerts, but providing experts to help respond to events, remediate the problem and offer corrective measures to stop future attacks.

Committed Service

Some vendors have service commitments, and others don’t. Service level agreements (SLAs) are critical to make sure your vendors are responsible for security detection and response. 

A true MDR provider will make commitments to alerting, response times, ticket update times and systems availability. Additionally, a good security partner should also offer some type of recourse if these commitments are not met. 

Effective Reporting

When done correctly and efficiently, reporting allows a franchise owner to track exactly when an event occurred and the steps taken to remediate the event. This makes it easier to determine how hackers are entering your network, and what types of patching occurred and when. 

All of these features go hand-in-hand when it comes to securing your network: advanced technology to detect events, security experts to respond, service commitments to ensure quality and reporting to provide transparency. Each one is crucial when vetting an MDR provider. With an MDR solution, hackers no longer go unnoticed. Finding an MDR vendor that fits your company is the ultimate key to securing your overall network. 

Saylor Frase is CEO of Nuspire Networks, a state-of-the-science managed network security provider for some of the largest and most distinctive companies around the world. 


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