MSP vs. MSSP = Managed Service Provider vs. Managed Security Service Provider
The anagrams are similar, but that extra “S” is the difference between night and day in the comparison between these two services. Comparing MSP to MSSP is analogous to comparing a city's mayor to the chief of police. Their duties might overlap, but the former is an administrator while the latter focuses on the necessary comprehensive security measures that allow the administrator to safely accomplish his tasks.
While the MSP’s priority is to make information usable to the company, the MSSP’s priority is to make sure that same information can’t be abused by unauthorized parties.
MSP: Operational Focus
The primary function of the MSP is operational. The MSP ensures that company data is available and IT systems are up and running for employees and customers. The MSP can achieve this goal by installing patches or updates to the OS via the NOC, or Network Operations Center. It provides the administrative capabilities necessary for the day-to-day demands of running the business, and assists with the operation of third-party applications.
The MSP may provide basic security measures such as firewall and antivirus protection, but these are generally regarded as the bare minimum when considering comprehensive levels of IT security.
MSSP: Robust Security Solutions and SIEM
SIEM is Security Information and Event Management, the most advanced level of cybersecurity. On top of the basic security layer provided by backups, patching, and antivirus updates, advanced security layers include more advanced processes such as computer system hardening, BYOD (bring your own device) management, and Unified Threat Management or UTM.
These measures deployed by the MSSP not only detect threats to the infrastructure but enable rapid response to those threats. Detection and response are coordinated via the SOC or Security Operations Center. The MSSP can also be expected to provide expertise aligning high-end security measures within compliance frameworks.
As we can see the proactive measures provided by MSSP go way beyond the passive basic security inherent in most MSP packages, making it an important consideration when evaluating the security risk and tolerance of any business IT infrastructure.
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