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The competition is fierce; each team looking to find the best talent and get the most from every member. Sometimes, to fill a position you have to go to your bench, but this is a battle, and you are in it to win it.

No, it isn’t the national team looking to grab top honors at the World Cup, it’s your cyber security team working to defend the enterprise every day, find top talent and bring in reserves from IT. The cyber security skills gap is well-documented, and those who do have the skills are highly sought after. Having those members on your team is a huge boon, but keeping them remains a challenge when other firms are aggressively seeking that talent.

Sometimes the best approach to filling out the team is training from within, bringing IT staff into the security fold. While this approach is a great way to meet the recruitment challenge, it costs time and money to invest in training staff and bring them up to speed. The investment is certainly worthwhile if you are able to build your security talent pool, but even this strategy has its limits.

The fact is that there is rarely enough budget to hire all the people you need, and with the growing requirements and responsibilities of cyber security, organizations are looking to do more and more with less and less.

The squeeze is real. With an ever-increasing number of tools, platforms, operating systems and threats, security teams are forced to focus on the most critical assets while leaving others vulnerable. With businesses moving to the cloud, setting up hybrid environments and adopting DevOps practices, keeping up on the latest technologies and trends takes discipline while not falling behind on your current environment is an impressive juggling act.

Security teams are talented, but there are only so many balls they can keep in the air by themselves. One way to keep those balls from hitting the ground is automation.

Automating manual tasks that could be scripted or handled by software workflows will make the team more efficient. Beware, though, that automation has a downside. A recent study found that automation may actually make the skills gap worse. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t automate – nobody wants to click buttons when a machine can do it for you – but it does mean that automation can’t fully replace skill cyber security professionals.

Speaking of skilled professionals, another way to ease the squeeze is to pass some of those balls off to a juggling partner. When it comes to cyber security, this can mean bringing in managed services. A managed services partner can take on many of the administrative and monitoring tasks that fill up the hours of a security analyst’s day.

These teammates allow small teams to focus on their strategic objectives and provide valuable expertise to bolster core security staff.

Finding a trusted partner for your team is an important job, as you need to ensure the managed service is providing the right tools, right information, and right guidance to make your team more efficient and your enterprise more secure. It’s not just a matter of finding someone to operate a set of tools; you need someone to be another expert on your team, come alongside them and deliver the valuable insights those tools provide.

Integrating into your organization’s business processes, change management system, and analytics tools is also an important consideration. You don’t want to simply add yet another set of security tools that provide disparate information that someone then needs to make sense of. Everything should come together to provide a single view into the state of your security environment.

If you are a small team looking to ease the squeeze of managing your cyber security, whether it’s in the cloud or on-premises, consider training from within, implementing automation, and adding a trusted managed services partner. Tripwire’s managed services offering ExpertOps is a great way to add strength to your security team while saving money, as it combines the tools you need with security expertise tailored to your organization’s specific context.

To learn more about great security with small teams, download the ExpertOps Solution Brief

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