male IT technician working in server room, demonstrating some differences between MSP vs MSSP

MSP vs MSSP: What is the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

Small business owners have a lot to worry about. In addition to the day-to-day tasks of running a company, they also need to stay up-to-date on the latest security threats and find the right solution to protect their data. In 2022 alone, the costs of cyberattacks went up by 80%.

To protect businesses from the threats of cyberattacks, many companies offer managed security services. But with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your business. In this article, we’ll take a look at the key differences between MSPs vs MSSPs.

What Is the Difference Between an MSP vs MSSP?

The main difference between a managed service provider (MSP) and a managed security service provider (MSSP) is the type of services they provide. An MSP provides IT support and management services, including network monitoring and help desk support. An MSSP, on the other hand, specializes in security-related services.

The confusion arises from the fact that an MSP also provides security services. However, these services are not their main focus. When it comes to security, an MSSP has a wider range and offers a more comprehensive approach. To get a better idea of the services you can expect from both, here is a breakdown of the specific services an MSP vs MSSP provides.

The Roles of an MSP

MSPs started out providing IT support services using the break-fix system. This system charged clients only when something went wrong. In other words, they paid for IT support on an as-needed basis.

However, their scope has expanded over the years to include managed network services, managed security services, and even managed cloud services. They now offer proactive and preventive services in addition to the break-fix system. Proactive services are designed to prevent problems before they happen. These services include regular maintenance, monitoring, and patch management.

Today, the main goal of an MSP is to streamline and optimize their client’s IT infrastructure so that it runs smoothly and efficiently.

Services Offered from an MSP

MSPs typically offer the following services:

  • IT Support: MSPs can help businesses with a variety of IT needs, such as setting up new computers, troubleshooting software issues, and providing advice on choosing the right hardware.
  • Computer Networking: MSPs can build and maintain a company’s computer networks. This includes tasks such as installing network hardware, configuring routers, and setting up wireless access points.
  • Data Backup and Recovery: MSPs protect system data with backups and disaster recovery plans. This can include backing up data to the cloud, configuring on-site backups, and developing a plan to restore lost data.
  • Cloud Computing: MSPs help businesses migrate to the cloud and take advantage of cloud-based services. This can include tasks such as setting up email accounts, configuring remote access, and managing data storage.
  • Network Operations Center: MSPs can provide 24/7 monitoring of a business’s IT infrastructure. This includes tasks such as monitoring servers, networks, and applications for performance issues.
  • Endpoint Management: MSPs are able to help companies manage their endpoint devices, such as laptops, desktops, and smartphones. This can include tasks such as installing updates, managing security settings, and troubleshooting problems.

The Roles of an MSSP

The roles of an MSSP have traditionally been to provide enhanced cybersecurity services to businesses, but as the threat landscape has evolved, so too have the services offered by MSSPs. Today, MSSPs offer a wide variety of services designed to help businesses protect their data and networks from attacks, as well as to ensure proper compliance regulations are being met. These services can be divided into three main categories: prevention, detection, and response.

Prevention services are designed to help businesses avoid attacks altogether. This can include tasks such as implementing security and compliance policies, training employees on cybersecurity best practices, and hardening systems against attacks.

Detection services are designed to help businesses identify attacks that have already occurred. This can include tasks such as monitoring network traffic for suspicious activity, setting up intrusion detection systems, and investigating data breaches.

Response services are designed to help businesses recover from attacks that have already occurred. This can include tasks such as identifying the cause of the incident, isolating and eradicating the threat, and recovering lost data.

Services Offered from an MSSP

The services under MSSPs fall into the three categories of prevention, detection and response. Let’s discuss some of the services that come under each of these categories:

Prevention Services

  • Firewall Management: MSSPs can help businesses configure and manage their firewalls to protect against attacks. This can include tasks like setting up firewall rules, monitoring network traffic, and updating firewall configurations.
  • Security Operations Center: MSSPs also provide 24/7 monitoring of an IT infrastructure to ensure proper security measures are being implemented. This includes tasks of monitoring servers, devices, networks, and applications for security issues.
  • Vulnerability Assessment and Management: MSSPs are able to identify and fix vulnerabilities in a company’s systems before attackers can exploit them. This can include tasks such as conducting vulnerability scans, patching software, and implementing security controls.
  • Identity and Access Management: MSSPs work with businesses to manage who has access to their systems and data. This includes tasks of setting up user accounts, managing permissions, and auditing access logs.
  • Security Awareness Training: MSSPs have available resources for companies to be able to train their employees on cybersecurity best practices. Creating training materials, conducting training sessions, and assessing employee knowledge are included in this.
  • Data Loss Prevention: MSSPs can help businesses prevent data breaches. This can include tasks like encrypting data, monitoring for unauthorized access, and developing policies to limit access to sensitive data.

Detection Services

  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention: MSSPs can help businesses detect and prevent attacks with intrusion detection system (IDS) and intrusion prevention system (IPS) solutions. This encompasses such tasks as configuring IDS/IPS rules, monitoring network traffic, and investigating alerts.
  • Security Information and Event Management: MSSPs collect and analyze security data from multiple sources, incorporating tasks such as setting up log collection, configuring event correlation, and generating reports they can use to detect any irregular behavior.
  • Threat Intelligence: MSSPs can track and respond to emerging threats. This includes tasks like subscribing to threat intelligence feeds, analyzing malware samples, and conducting research on attackers.

Response Services

  • Incident Response: MSSPs bring a lot of value to companies because of their ability to respond to security incidents. Incident response includes investigating the cause of the incident, containing the threat, and recovering lost data.
  • Forensic Analysis: MSSPs can conduct forensic analysis to identify the root cause of an incident. This incorporates tasks like collecting evidence, analyzing log files, and conducting interviews.
  • Disaster Recovery: MSSPs can help businesses recover from attacks that have disrupted their operations. This can include such tasks as restoring lost data, rerouting traffic, and setting up new systems.

Choosing MSP VS MSSP: Why Does It Matter?

Businesses can choose between an MSP and MSSP based on their needs. Here is checklist to determine if an MSP vs MSSP is best for your business:

  • Do you need help with IT infrastructure or just cybersecurity?
  • Do you want to outsource all of your IT needs or just some of them?
  • Do you want to pay for services on a per-month basis or as needed?
  • Do you need 24/7 support or can you get by with less frequent monitoring?
  • Do you want to work with a local company or are you open to working with an out-of-state provider?

Answering these questions will help you zero in on the type of provider that is best for your business: MSP vs MSSP. As a tip, if you need help with IT infrastructure and cybersecurity, then an MSSP is likely a better fit. If you just need help with IT support, then an MSP may be a better option.

Brightline IT: The Right MSSP for Your Company

When choosing an MSSP, it’s critical to partner with a company that has the experience and expertise to meet your specific needs. At Brightline IT, we have experience helping all types of businesses with their IT needs. We know how important it is to have a reliable IT infrastructure, and we can help you build a rock-solid foundation for your business.

When it comes to cybersecurity, we have the knowledge and tools to help you defend your systems against the latest threats. We offer a comprehensive suite of security services that can be customized to fit your unique needs. And because we understand that every business is different, we offer flexible pricing options that fit your budget.

If you’re looking for an MSSP that can help you with all of your IT needs, then contact us today! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and get you started on the path to success.