Infographic: MSP vs. MSSP – The Key Differences

MSP vs. MSSP: what's the difference? We at Impact Networking have made an infographic explaining how they differ.

Blog Post

6 minutes

Jan 02, 2023

What are the differences between an MSP vs MSSP? Take a look at this infographic to get an understanding of how a managed service provider (MSP) and a managed security service provider (MSSP) differ. 

Businesses are increasingly aware of MSSPs. In fact, the MSSP market size is expected to rise to a sizeable $49.6 billion by 2027. 

Factors that influence this projected rise include a growing adoption of MSSPs by businesses due to strict data protection laws, the propagation of harmful ransomware attacks on organizations, and the demand by governments and customers on companies to increase the scope of their cybersecurity goals. 

Read on to get a clearer view of the differences, why MSSPs emerged, and why an organization might consider recruiting a dedicated MSSP for their cybersecurity needs. 

Impact and our MSSP partner DOT Security work together to ensure our clients’ security. Talk to an Impact specialist about getting the benefits of both types of organizations today.

Infographic: MSP vs. MSSP – The Key Differences | Impact

What Does MSSP Stand For? 

MSSP stands for managed security service provider. An MSSP is an outsourced manager for a business’ IT security needs. In other words, and MSSP will secures a business’ network, data, and endpoints in order to protect it from cyberattacks and threats. 

This means that if your organization’s cybersecurity needs have exceeded the capabilities of its IT team, or it has grown to require more security measures, you can partner with an MSSP to provide the expertise, technology, and support needed to keep your internal IT secure.  

An MSSP can help your business improve its cybersecurity standing and become resilient to cyber threats by: 

  • Performing an in-depth security audit to determine your weaknesses and areas for improvement 
  • Proactively monitoring your network for threats 
  • Keeping your endpoint devices secure whether your employees are in-office or work remotely 
  • Helping you establish a hierarchy of users and admins 
  • Creating a compliance program for your business so that you abide by data laws and regulations 
  • Building a custom tech stack that meets your organization’s specific needs 

 MSP vs. MSSP 

What is the difference between an MSP and MSSP? 

Managed service providers (MSPs) work to create a technology roadmap for your business to ensure its longevity and agility. MSPs have played an increasingly prominent role in business operations in recent years.  

MSPs can also provide a range of services from managed IT solutions to print equipment replenishment or a building a long-term marketing strategy. 

MSSPs, on the other hand, are dedicated cybersecurity providers and focus only on business security and its associated solutions. Partnering with an MSSP is akin to having a permanent shield safeguarding your organization, with experts monitoring for threats and improving your security as cybercrime evolves. 

Related Blog: Why a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) Is Good for Your Business 

Why Are MSSPs Necessary? 

The simple reason for the existence of MSSPs is that cybersecurity has become such a concern to modern businesses that providers deem it necessary to offer security as a dedicated managed service. 

Cyberattacks, such as ransomware attacks, have increased in their volume and sophistication over the last few years, leaving many companies scrambling to respond. In fact, a study surveying security leaders found that 79% of reporting organizations encountered ransomware attacks. Of those, 35% lost access to their own data and systems.   

Attacks have skyrocketed since the COVID pandemic many of them specifically targeted at remote workers operating without the quality protections necessary to avoid being breached. 

Cybercriminals are actively targeting SMBs more than ever before and the majority of these organizations lack the solutions and protocols to defend themselves. This combination of events have created a perfect storm where businesses find themselves especially vulnerable to cybercrime. 

MSSPs work with organizations to provide the expertise, technology, and protocols to deter cybercriminals from targeting them. 

Related Blog: Who Actually Needs an Advanced Cybersecurity Strategy? 

What Do MSSPs Have that MSPs Do Not? 

One of the key reasons cybersecurity providers often operate as their own entities outside of the umbrella of managed service providers is because they need to be able to operate independently from a security operations center (SOC). 

IT MSPs will typically operate from a network operations center (NOC), which is purpose-built to ensure that the provider can keep a business network running with as little downtime as possible. 

In previous years, it was common for cybersecurity providers to work from NOCs—and many still do—but the demand for cybersecurity, in addition to the environment necessary to provide security services, has prompted MSSPs to adopt SOCs and work independently of IT providers. 

Additionally, due to being an external source of expertise, MSSPs allow for a more objective analysis of an organization’s IT security, which means an even stronger cybersecurity posture for the client. 

What Is a Security Operations Center (SOC)? 

A security operations center is a centralized facility that houses cybersecurity experts who oversee and monitor the security of their clients, and provide continuous cybersecurity consulting services. 

These experts use a combination of solutions and protocols to ensure that threats are minimized and incidents are dealt with quickly—often without the client knowing anything happened at all—keeping the client informed and up to date while managing their security risk. 

SOCs are critical to modern security programs because they deliver the infrastructure and means to proactively monitor and detect threats on an around-the-clock basis. 

What If Your IT Provider Is Offering Cybersecurity Services Already? 

There is of course nothing wrong with having a cybersecurity program with an MSP, and we at Impact offer our own managed cybersecurity services. In fact, some MSPs will partner with a dedicated MSSP to provide the best possible services. Impact’s MSSP partner is DOT Security. 

As far as the customer is concerned, the main question with regard to this is whether they are receiving the services and expertise they need to defend themselves. 

An MSP may have a security program, but is it as comprehensive and layered as it needs to be? 

In a typical cybersecurity setup today, businesses can expect to find solutions like perimeter and endpoint security, backup and disaster recovery (BDR), authentication protocols, real-time monitoring and threat hunting, and employee awareness solutions. 

Related Post: Developing a Cybersecurity Strategy to Protect Your Business 

What Should Businesses Do About Their Cybersecurity? 

If an organization receives some level of security support from their IT service provider but is unsure of where they stand, they should ask to have a risk assessment conducted. This will allow them to see in detail what their vulnerabilities are and whether they have the appropriate solutions and expertise in place in order to combat them. 

If their current managed service provider is not in a position to implement a strategy that covers all the necessary areas of security—of particular note is compliance for modern companies—then businesses should consider hiring a dedicated MSSP with a security operations center to meet their needs. 

If you’d like to work with both an MSP and an MSSP, Impact has you covered. Get in touch with one of our specialists now to start the conversation about your cybersecurity needs.


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