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MSSP vs. MSP: 4 Key Differences and How to Choose


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What is MSSP? 

An MSSP, or managed security service provider, is a specialized service provider that offers comprehensive cybersecurity services to businesses. These providers have the expertise and resources to help businesses protect their systems, data, and networks from various security threats.

As an MSSP, the primary focus is on managing and monitoring the security aspects of your IT infrastructure. MSSPs provide a wide range of services, including intrusion detection and prevention, firewall management, vulnerability scanning, and incident response. They also offer advanced services like threat intelligence and risk management, which can help businesses anticipate and prepare for potential security risks.

MSSP services are not limited to merely responding to security incidents. They take a proactive approach to cybersecurity, continuously monitoring your systems for signs of potential threats and taking immediate action to mitigate them. This proactive stance is a key characteristic of MSSPs.

What is MSP?

While MSSPs focus primarily on security services, managed service providers (MSPs) offer a broader range of IT services. An MSP is essentially an outsourced IT department, taking care of all the IT needs of a business. This can include everything from setting up and maintaining networks, managing servers and databases, to providing helpdesk support for employees.

MSPs have a comprehensive approach to IT management. They handle all the technical aspects of running a business, from hardware installations to software updates. This allows businesses to focus on their core operations without worrying about IT issues.

However, while MSPs do offer some level of security services, such as antivirus and firewall management, their services are not as specialized or comprehensive as those provided by MSSPs. Their primary focus is on the general IT needs of a business, rather than on specialized security concerns.

Read our another article to compare MSSP vs. MDR.

MSSP vs. MSP: 4 Key Differences

1. Services

While both MSSP and MSP provide essential IT services, the focus and depth of these services vary significantly.

MSSPs are specialized in security. They offer a wide range of security services, including threat detection and prevention, risk management, and incident response. They have a deep understanding of the cybersecurity landscape and can provide advanced solutions to complex security challenges.

On the other hand, MSPs offer a more general set of IT services. They handle all aspects of IT infrastructure, including network management, server maintenance, and helpdesk support. While they do provide some security services, these are not as comprehensive or specialized as those offered by MSSPs.

2. Operating Models

MSSPs operate on a proactive, continuous monitoring model. They constantly scan your systems for potential threats and take immediate action to mitigate them. This proactive approach allows them to detect and respond to threats before they can cause significant damage.

MSPs, on the other hand, operate on a more reactive model. While they do provide ongoing IT support, their services are often triggered by specific incidents or needs. For instance, they may step in to resolve a network issue or to install new software. This reactive approach is more focused on maintaining your IT infrastructure than on proactively protecting it from threats.

Learn more in our detailed guide to managed service provider software (coming soon)

3. Security vs. General IT Management

MSSPs are primarily concerned with security. Their services are designed to protect your business from cyber threats and to help you comply with security regulations.

MSPs, on the other hand, are more concerned with general IT management. Their services are designed to keep your IT infrastructure running smoothly, so your business can operate efficiently. While they do provide some security services, these are typically not as comprehensive or specialized as those offered by MSSPs.

4. Pricing and Cost Implications

Generally, MSSPs tend to be more expensive than MSPs. This is because their services are more specialized and require more resources to deliver.

MSPs, on the other hand, are typically more affordable. Their services are broader and less specialized, which allows them to offer more competitive pricing. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of MSP services can add up over time, especially if you require frequent IT support.

Learn more in our detailed guide to managed service provider examples (coming soon)

Making the Right Choice: MSSP or MSP?

Consider the following factors when choosing between an MSSP and an MSP:

Understanding Your Business Needs

When deciding between an MSSP and an MSP, think about your primary IT concerns: is it security or a broader range of IT issues?

If cybersecurity is a paramount concern, and you need specialized services like threat hunting, risk management, and compliance support, an MSSP might be the right choice. MSSPs have expertise in dealing with complex security challenges and can provide a more in-depth level of protection.

Conversely, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop solution to manage all your IT needs, including cybersecurity, an MSP might be more suited. MSPs offer a broader range of services beyond security, like network management, data backup, and cloud services, making them a more comprehensive IT solution.

Assessing Your In-House Capabilities

Do you have a dedicated IT team that can handle your cybersecurity needs? Or is your team already stretched thin dealing with other IT issues?

If you have a robust IT team that can handle most of your IT needs but lacks specialized security skills, partnering with an MSSP could be a wise choice. They can focus on your cybersecurity needs, allowing your in-house team to concentrate on their areas of expertise.

On the other hand, if your IT team is overloaded with tasks and struggles to manage all your IT needs, an MSP could be a better fit. They can take over the management of your IT infrastructure, freeing your team to focus on strategic initiatives.

Considering Your Financial Resources

Your budget is another crucial aspect to consider in the MSSP vs. MSP debate. Generally, MSSPs tend to be more expensive due to the specialized nature of their services. However, the increased costs can be justified if cybersecurity is a top priority for your business, and you need expert help to manage advanced threats.

On the other hand, MSPs tend to be more cost-effective, offering a wide range of IT services under one roof. If you’re on a tight budget and need to manage all your IT needs efficiently, an MSP could be a better choice.

However, it’s important to consider the potential cost of a cyber-attack. If your business is at high risk of cyber threats, the cost of an MSSP may be a worthwhile investment to protect your business from potential losses.

Examining Service Capabilities

Lastly, it’s important to examine the capabilities of MSSPs and MSPs. While both provide valuable services, they differ significantly in their expertise and offerings.

MSSPs are experts in cybersecurity. They have specialized knowledge and tools to protect your business from advanced threats. MSSPs can provide 24/7 monitoring, threat intelligence, incident response, and more.

On the contrary, MSPs offer a broader range of IT services. While they may not have the same level of expertise in cybersecurity as MSSPs, they can manage all your IT needs, from network management to data backup and recovery.

Cynet for MSSPs

As an MSSP, your customers rely on you to keep them safe from the myriad risks they face each day. The process of knowing which tools are the optimal fit for the job can be complex. Cynet 360 offers complete breach protection services, providing a single multi-tenant platform that simplifies the task of delivering holistic security across your entire customer base.

Cynet 360 is the ultimate force multiplier, enabling MSSPs to provide their customers with unmatched security, without the need for multiple products and resources. It provides maximum threat visibility and responsiveness, enhancing security team productivity and increasing ROI. Only Cynet 360 gives the power of proactive 24/7 MDR services, continuously monitoring all alerts across your customers’ environments to keep them protected at all times, even from the most complex threats.

Key benefits of Cynet 360 for MSSPs include:

  • Designed for MSSPs: Cynet 360 offers a scalable multi-tenant platform with true client separation down to the data, a centralized dashboard for alerts, forensics, and remediation, and supports both full-management and end-client management.
  • Enables a highly differentiated service: Cynet 360 is a complete XDR platform including NGAV, EPP, EDR, UBA Rules, Network Detection Rules, and Deception. It offers fully automated threat response workflows and proactive 24/7 MDR services for all clients.
  • Reducing management and delivery costs: Cynet allows extremely rapid deployment, replacing multiple solution providers with a single pre-integrated offering and a lightweight agent that minimizes maintenance requirements.
  • Tailored for your success: Cynet’s partner pricing structure enables higher margins to partners. It offers marketing, sales, and technical support across deployment, management, and maintenance. Partners also get access to the Cynet Academy, which includes sales and technical training, sales videos, and certification.

With Cynet, your customers can enjoy proactive protection from dynamic and advanced cyber threats. Become a partner today!

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