Wonder what the difference is between Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs)?

Say no more.

Chances are you’re a business owner who’s looking to outsource their increasingly complex IT operations. Or you’ve already got a robust IT setup but you need someone to handle the security and safety side of things.

This is where the paths of MSSPs and MSPs start to diverge. Let’s dig in.

MSSPs vs MSPs: More Than Just An Extra ‘S’

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs)

Put simply, MSSPs are the security guards for your operation. These experts specialize in providing comprehensive cybersecurity services to protect an organization’s IT infrastructure, data, and sensitive information.

Metaphorically speaking, MSSPs are like a bank – and your data is your deposit. These security experts offer everything you’d need when it comes to protecting your company’s data from unauthorized access. Some of the things MSSPs do for businesses include:

  • Security monitoring and management
  • Incident response and remediation
  • Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing
  • Compliance management
  • Security awareness training
  • Threat intelligence and analysis
  • Test and assess pretty much any areas of access

Generally speaking, MSSPs are specialists in security. They do not handle other aspects of your business, like cloud services, data backup, or software/hardware support.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

MSPs are the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to IT services. MSPs offer a broader range of IT services than MSSPs. The offerings from an MSP span various aspects of your company’s technology stack – including basic security!

Generally speaking, MSPs offer the entirety of IT services to clients. It’s typical to offer these services both piecemeal and in packages that involve taking care of the entirety of your IT infrastructure.

Here’s some IT services you may need help with that MSPs can provide:

  • Network management and monitoring
  • IT support and helpdesk services
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Cloud services and virtualization
  • Hardware and software procurement and management

Okay, So What’s The Difference Between MSSPs and MSPs?

To reiterate: the main difference between MSSPs and MSPs is MSSPs are specialists who are experts in cybersecurity, while MSPs are experts in all areas of IT operations.

In short: if you need someone to protect your data, you want an MSSP.

If you want someone to help handle the general operations of your whole IT department, or parts of your IT department, you want an MSP.

There are also smaller differences between the two. In particular, MSPs and MSSPs differ in the following ways.

  • Focus: MSSPs focus on cybersecurity, while MSPs offer a broader range of IT services, which includes basic security as well.
  • Expertise: MSSPs have more specific expertise relating to security technologies, threat intelligence, and the latest cybersecurity trends, whereas MSPs still have expert knowledge, only it’s more general IT knowledge base.
  • Services: MSSPs provide advanced security services, like incident response, threat intelligence, and compliance management, which may not be part of an MSP’s offerings.
  • Cost: MSSPs often charge a premium for their specialized security services, while MSPs may offer more affordable rates for a wider range of IT services. Bundling services will always save a bit of cash.

Choosing the Right Provider: Factors to Consider

When deciding between an MSSP and an MSP, consider the following factors:

  • Security Needs: If your organization requires critical security services or is subject to strict regulatory compliance (like a government organization) – definitely hire an MSSP to handle security.
  • IT Complexity: If your IT environment is complex and requires diverse expertise, an MSP can cover all areas of a business. If you just need help protecting your data, you need an MSSP alone.
  • Budget: While MSSPs typically charge higher rates for their specialized services, partnering with an MSP might offer a cost-effective solution if your organization has broader IT needs.
  • Integration: Consider how well the provider’s services integrate with your existing technology stack and internal processes.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Organization

Understanding the differences between MSSPs and MSPs is crucial in determining which provider is best suited for your organization’s needs. By considering factors like security needs, IT complexity, budget, and integration, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision and find the right partner to help secure and manage your IT environment.