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What Is the Difference Between MSP and MSSP?

What Is MSP?

MSP stands for a “Managed Service Provider”, a third-party company dedicated to remote delivering a specific set of IT processes to clients. Its services may include networking, application, security, infrastructure, and mobility.

MSPs proactively offer maintenance, management, and support based on their clients’ needs as an alternative to on-demand services. Most MSPs price their services via subscription, allowing more predictable and flexible IT spending.

Should you decide, you can outsource all of your IT needs to an MSP. However, most businesses choose to outsource mainly their most time-consuming operations and the support of newer technologies.

MSPs rarely focus on a single vendor or tech; most MSPs implement services from numerous types of providers. And while MSP used to stand for infrastructure or device-centric types of services, nowadays, it relates to continuous management, maintenance, and support on a regular basis.

What Is MSSP?

MSSP stands for a “Managed Security Service Provider”, an IT service provider procuring security services to companies. We could look at it as a security-focused MSP. Just as an MSP provides maintenance and support, MSSP helps businesses protect against security threats via software, real-time threat assessment, data protection, and security experts ready to respond to any attack as it happens.

Most MSSPs provide a vast array of cybersecurity features – antivirus, spam blocking, firewalls, data backups, intrusion detection, VPN management, and more. Additionally, MSSPs can handle system changes, network modifications, and overall upgrades.

Companies can outsource their complete security volume to an MSSP to guarantee robust monitoring and incident response for all of their networks and endpoints.

Managed security services break down into six major categories:

  • On-site consulting
  • Managed security monitoring
  • Product resale
  • Perimeter management of the company’s network
  • Penetration testing and vulnerability assessments
  • Compliance monitoring

MSSPs are efficient and cost-effective when it comes to protecting your data, network, and devices from intrusions. Furthermore, they reduce the complexity of security processes for both SMBs and enterprises. Also, MSSPs could help you reduce expenses on security equipment and software tools.

Organizations may outsource the following and more to an MSSP:

  • Security monitoring
  • Vulnerability risk assessment
  • Threat intelligence
  • Web content filtering
  • Threat assessment
  • Video surveillance
  • Patch management
  • Intrusion management
  • Antivirus and anti-spam
  • Access control
  • Security recommendations
  • Security infrastructure development
  • Data loss prevention
  • Data backup

Benefits of MSSP

A managed security services provider can virtually replace a company’s internal security team. By choosing to work with an MSSP, organizations could reap several benefits.

Let’s go through them.

  • Continuous access to security specialist expertise

Companies are periodically in need of specialized cybersecurity expertise if an incident occurs. (in a case of malware infection or the need for forensics analysis) MSSPs have the required scale to retain such expertise in-house and present it to customers as needed.

  • Workforce optimization

Filling vacant positions on a company’s internal security team could be overwhelming. The increasing cybersecurity skill gap means that “the right fit” for your team is challenging to find and often expensive. Having an MSSP as a partner relates to easier personnel optimization or replacing your cybersecurity team entirely.

  • Enhanced security maturity

Most SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) lack the level of cybersecurity to battle everyday cyber threats. With an MSSP, SMBs can swiftly improve their cybersecurity protection solutions while focusing their valuable resources elsewhere.

  • Protection at all times

Cyberattacks may occur at any time; having a 24/7 dedicated security team means more expenses, more employees, and more room for error. A reliable MSSP should provide constant and continuous protection and instant response to any potential cyberattacks at all times.

  • Cybersecurity solution configuration, management, and improvement

Most modern cybersecurity solutions could be configured and managed in-house if a company decides to implement them independently. However, anti-hacker protection shines when configured and monitored by an expert, and MSSPs enable companies to still have the needed expertise available without employing talent in-house.

  • Lower overall costs

Since many new-age cybersecurity solutions offer support for multiple tenants, MSSPs can spread their solution of choice over numerous clients. With the in-built high scalability of such solutions, clients won’t lose on the quality of the service, but the overall costs for all of them should be lower.

  • Compliance assistance

The regulatory landscape is complex and ever-evolving, so companies should do their best to remain in compliance. (HIPPA, PCI DSS, GDPR, CCPA, etc.) A managed security services provider can collect data responsibly and generate reports to maintain compliance during audits.

Challenges of MSSP

With the increasing need for robust cybersecurity solutions, the MSSP marketplace is a highly competitive one. To stand out from the crowd, MSSPs should overcome several significant challenges ahead of them.

Increased Customer Acquisition Costs

Nowadays, customers’ security technology arsenal is more diverse than ever before. MSSPs must be able to support a broad set of security tech to maintain and manage an extensive client list, which could lead to higher customer acquisition costs in addition to enhanced security training requirements for their security analysts.

Diversified Delivery Models

MSSPs’ service description becomes increasingly diverse; it includes 24/7-outsourced SOC, MDR, managed SIEM, and several hybrid models. To stay ahead of the competition, a single MSSP could provide many different delivery models, adding to higher costs and complexity of operations.

24/7 Operations

As we’ve mentioned, MSSPs operate round-the-clock, which requires multiple shift changes. Maintaining consistency during handoffs is crucial and if often puts pressure on analysts. To balance productivity and risks, vendors should ensure sensible alerts and incident response.

Employee Turnover

A shift-based workplace often translates to shortages and a high turnover of personnel. Additionally, the need to retain experts to handle processes manually enhances the pressure on MSSPs.

Difference between MSSP and MSP

MSSPs and MSPs function similarly, with two key differences.

Firstly, MSPs offer a broad range of IT services and often lack specialization of security services, while MSSPs focus mainly on cybersecurity.

Secondly, MSPs frequently develop and implement a network operation centre (NOC) to monitor and manage customer operations. MSSPs typically establish one or several security operations centres (SOC) to protect the client’s infrastructure. (networks, apps, servers, databases, etc.)

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