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MSP vs MSSP, What’s the Difference?

Debunking MSP vs MSSP: Decoding the Contrasts in cybersecurity
Erik Gustafsson
19 March 2023
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Outsourcing can help businesses reduce costs and improve outcomes such as an enhanced Information-security management system. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is common, but working with a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) is crucial for data safety when preventing different types of vulnerabilities such as ransomware, malware, phishing attacks or any other Security threats that might cause data-loss. This article explores MSP vs MSSP and offers tips for building the best team.

What is a Managed Services Provider (MSP)?

A Managed Service Provider (MSP) plays a crucial role in managing and monitoring the health of a business's technology. They ensure that the company has the necessary tools and resources to operate smoothly, and their work impacts both employees and customers. One of the primary responsibilities of an MSP is overseeing data management to ensure that it's available and useful to those who need it. When there are issues accessing data, the web-application endpoint or other technological challenges, the MSP is there to troubleshoot and resolve the problem.

MSPs are mainly focused on technology administration, granting employee permissions based on roles, responsibilities and security policies that were defined in the Information-Security Management System (ISMS), onboarding new employees into the tech system, recording and providing log data, and troubleshooting incidents and threat detection. They work closely with the company's database manager to provide training and support to ensure that they can perform their job well and improve the security of the information from the IT infrastructure. Additionally, an effective MSP can help minimize onboarding issues when implementing new applications, and they can address tech performance and usability problems that arise like failed two-factor Authentication, and endpoints being unresponsive.

While MSPs are crucial for providing tech support, it's important to also implement a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) to ensure data safety and security of the information. An MSSP specializes in managing and securing critical data and systems to protect against cyber threats,cyber-attacks, and security breaches and ensure compliance with regulations. They work to identify, manage and mitigate risks, monitor security events, avoid malicious intrusion and respond to security incidents promptly. By working with both an MSP and MSSP, businesses can have comprehensive support for all their technological needs, reduce the need for in-house IT staff, save costs in the long run and be more ready to incident response in case of an alarm in the security awareness system.

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What is a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)?

A Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) specializes in protecting a company's technology from cyber threats using tools and evaluations such as penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, network security monitoring and other security solutions that safeguard the critical infrastructure. Their laser focus on cyber-security means that they have the right security experts and security controls to respond quickly to any data breaches, cyber threats or suspicious activity, providing peace of mind to business owners and IT teams alike.

In addition to protecting against cyber threats, MSSPs understand the importance of complying with security information, confidentiality and privacy regulations. Many companies must follow compliance frameworks such as CMMC, NIST CSF, or HIPAA that have data protection, encryption and cybersecurity components packed within a major Security technology framework designed in a scope of a risk-management system. A qualified MSSP can offer comprehensive compliance consulting, ensuring that a company is doing all it needs to do to comply with these regulations. This can be a huge relief for businesses, freeing up legal and IT teams to focus on other activities to move the company forward.

In short, an MSSP is a critical partner for any business that wants to protect its technology and comply with security, privacy regulations and vulnerability management. By focusing solely on security and security risks, they have the expertise and resources needed to detect and respond to cyber threats quickly, giving business owners and IT teams peace of mind. And by providing comprehensive compliance consulting, they can help businesses stay on top of regulations and reduce the burden on legal and IT teams.

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An MSP's job is to provide IT assets and services to support business operations, while an MSSP focuses on protecting those assets and avoid sensitive information to get compromised. Think of it like a house - the MSP builds and maintains it, while the MSSP provides security measures and network security solutions like fences and locks. While an MSP ensures data availability and usability, an MSSP provides cybersecurity monitoring, intrusion detection, and management.

An MSSP's main focus is security, with the responsibility of preventing, detecting, and responding to threats before they compromise sensitive data. Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming more common, with a 13% increase in ransomware attacks over the past year alone, according to the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. A breach can damage a company's reputation and undermine customer trust. It's crucial for business success to keep data protected from outside threats, and an MSSP can provide the necessary expertise to ensure data security.

Does you Business Needs an MSP and MSSP?

Does you Business Needs an MSP and MSSP?

When considering whether to work with an MSP, MSSP, or both, it's important to assess your current capabilities and risk tolerance. Consider an MSP if you lack in-house IT ability, need help with computer and network setup or equipment purchases, or want an easy "do it for me" IT solution. Consider an MSSP if you can handle IT basics but need help with data/network protection, lack expertise in managing security programs like firewalls or EDR, or need to align with cybersecurity frameworks like NIST CFC or ISO 27001.

If you have little to no internal IT staff, want to free up your IT team for other work, or need guidance in select areas of IT or cybersecurity, then both an MSP and MSSP might be the best option for your business. At CW1, we understand the challenges of keeping your customer and company data safe, and we offer managed IT security services to meet your technology infrastructure and security needs.

We're committed to staying on top of the latest security industry trends and providing comprehensive security solutions to our clients. When searching for the most effective service to handle your business's security, it can be tough to decide between MSPs and MSSPs. However, we're here to help you understand the differences between the two so that you can make the best choice for your business security needs.

Can an MSP be a Security Services Provider?

Can an MSP be a Security Services Provider?

When working with an MSP, they may offer security services, but it's important to ensure they are a legitimate MSSP and not just using purchased software without proper knowledge. Buying security tools without understanding how to use them is like owning gym equipment but never working out - nothing will change without proper use. It takes more than just purchasing software or hardware to transition from an MSP to an MSSP, as they are different services.

If you're looking for a one-stop-shop for all your IT and security needs, consider an MSP that partners with an MSSP. This ensures a single point of contact with deep security knowledge, providing comprehensive solutions for your business. It's crucial to choose a provider that has the expertise and experience in both MSP and MSSP services to ensure your data and assets are secure.

Information Technology (IT) Security Services

We understand that no two companies are alike. CW1 works with your IT staff to create a solution that fits your needs. We can co-manage or fully manage your business’s security with our managed security services, which are designed to help businesses secure their critical assets while saving money and freeing up resources so that you can focus on the core of your business. Contact us today!


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