There are a lot of names thrown around in IT service management (ITSM) and cybersecurity. It’s easy to get lost in all of them, especially if you’re new to this part of the IT sector.
Two common terms in our industry are managed service provider (MSP) and managed security service provider (MSSP). These are both terms for IT companies that offer services to other businesses. There are some differences between the two titles, though.
Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or trying to decide which direction to take your career, knowing the differences between MSPs and MSSPs can help you figure out which niche will work best for you and your business goals.
An Introduction to Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
So, what’s an MSP?
A managed service provider (MSP) is a third party IT firm that fills gaps in its clients’ IT departments. It can act as the entire IT department or support a business’s existing IT staff.
MSPs might manage security tools on behalf of their clients, such as updating antivirus software or setting up a secure wireless network within a business office building. They handle hardware installation and software updates. However, they don’t always go very deep into solving IT security problems.
Think of an MSP as someone who can help manage your day-to-day security needs. But just like any other term that floats around ITSM and cybersecurity, MSP has some specific implications behind it.
An Introduction to Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs)
A managed security services provider (MSSP) is a vendor that offers more intensive IT security-related services. These services usually include antivirus and firewall protection, intrusion detection and prevention, and authentication/authorization.
Like managed service providers (MSPs), MSSPs typically handle everything from hardware installation to software updates. However, they usually delve deeper than an MSP would typically go with customers of traditional managed hosting services. They’re better equipped to deal with IT security problems in their customers’ infrastructure. And they can deal with those problems on an ongoing basis, without needing their customers’ input.
It’s not uncommon for customers to not know they’re using an MSSP unless something goes wrong. That’s how good these companies are at keeping you up and running when your network needs help!
The Differences Between MSSPs and MSPs
An MSP is an IT service provider who provides services to businesses under a management agreement, whereas an MSSP provides managed services under a service contract. Typically, an MSP focuses on offering basic IT support options while an MSSP focuses more on cybersecurity.
Although both deliver IT services to clients, they differ in terms of their business models and pricing schemes. They also provide different benefits to their customers. Many companies choose to work with both an MSP and an MSSP.
How Companies Can Leverage Both MSSPs and MSPs
Technically, managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs) are different things, but it’s easy to see how they can overlap.
For example, MSPs that offer information security services might manage security tools on behalf of their clients, such as updating antivirus software or setting up a secure wireless network within a business office building. But an MSSP would perform those same tasks, along with additional services like forensic analysis in case of data breaches and more advanced tools for proactive management of existing threats.
Because both types of companies offer similar services—security management from a third party — some might argue that they’re essentially the same. However, you should always check with your MSP or MSSP before assuming it does everything you need.
At Simple Helix, we primarily act as an MSP but offer some additional services to boost your cybersecurity services, including Tier III data center services. We do not offer full scale security services, but do offer basic IT support. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your company. You can also learn more about our MSP service options here.