Home Articles MSP vs MSSP: What’s the difference?

MSP vs MSSP: What’s the difference?

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MSP vs MSSP: What’s the difference?
What is the difference between MSP vs MSSP? MSPs and MSSPs perform different functions but both contribute to seamless business operations.

Modern technological solutions are rapidly penetrating all economic sectors turning into a core aspect of everyday business activities. Today, even mid-sized or small companies can’t function without corporate databases, accounts, file storage, time recording systems, smart accounting tools, and other automated solutions that help streamline routine processes and enhance productivity.

Any IT infrastructure – whether it is cloud-based or deployed on corporate hardware – requires configuration, regular maintenance, and protection, which means companies need qualified specialists to deal with tech-related issues. As the number of computers and automated systems in the world has been growing, many companies tend to build up their technological shell, which is an inevitable step in the course of business development. Thus, in-house IT professionals are often not enough to respond fully to technological transformations of business, tackle all the arising problems, and maintain all the enterprise infrastructure.

In this event, businesses have to delegate certain IT operations to external experts who are specifically trained to deal with each of them. As numbers show, even the most profitable businesses today prefer to rely on outsourcing – 92% of G2000 companies entrust their IT processes to external providers. In this way, statistics have shown that IT services make up 72% of the global outsourcing market and have the potential to expand to even more significant value.

The necessity to delegate IT support of business to side organizations has made companies across the world resort to Managed Services Provider (MSP) and Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP).

Defining MSP and MSSP

An MSP is a company that ensures the smooth running of the entire business technology through the maintenance of a corporate IT infrastructure. In recent times, corporations preferred to delegate only technical aspects of their integrated digital systems to side experts, still keeping the upper hand over making strategic IT decisions. Later, MSPs were granted an initiative to take managerial actions related to key business operations. Today, they are entitled to check if data is available and relevant to customers and employees, troubleshoot incidents, and provide technical training and support to the company staff. MSPs’ responsibilities also include, but are not limited to the following:

  • network monitoring and administration
  • service desk operation
  • cloud management
  • data backup and recovery
  • software and app installation and patching
  • endpoint management

An MSSP is a team of external experts dealing with data protection. Their clients are the companies that can’t manage cybersecurity issues on their own and, therefore, have to delegate them to highly specialized professionals. MSSPs ensure 24/7 protection of IT infrastructure by performing the following tasks:

  • blocking viruses and spam
  • monitoring and scanning systems for vulnerabilities
  • detecting and addressing threats
  • protecting systems from intrusion and any kind of cybercrime
  • controlling information systems for compliance with security and privacy standards and regulations
  • offering compliance consulting
  • penetration testing
  • ensuring network, cloud, and endpoint security

Key differences

As seen from the above, both are third-party providers of IT services that perform different roles. Basically, MSP focuses on IT management and administration, presenting a more extensive base of knowledge and a more varied range of tasks. In other words, MSPs are responsible for systems’ usability and performance, while MSSPs ensure cybersecurity and compliance with regulatory standards.

Though MSPs are building up their protection capabilities, their experience, resources, and expertise are still not enough to guarantee seamless protection of all integrated IT solutions. Unlike MSPPs that take full responsibility for detecting and responding to security incidents, MSPs’ primary focus remains on satisfying general IT needs.

Performing their functions in tandem, these two resources can drive a business to a maximized operational output and minimized risks.

Who needs MSPs and MSSPs

Small and mid-sized companies that are often limited in IT resources or do not have internal IT departments choose to delegate their tasks to MSPs. Outsourcing also comes in handy when the number of tasks is too vast to be tackled by an in-house IT team or their complexity goes beyond the competence of employed specialists. By utilizing MSPs, business owners reduce their IT costs (mainly by saving money that could be paid to staff), enhance the capacities of their IT infrastructure, and optimize business operations.

MSSP is a perfect solution for companies that struggle to secure their data and systems on their own due to limited resources. These are generally small and mid-sized businesses or highly regulated industries such as insurance, government, and healthcare that need strong cyber defense to ensure the safety of sensitive information.

As mentioned above, companies with enormous financial opportunities still choose MSP and MSSP to deal with their IT issues. Basically, any company that has to manage digital infrastructure and security programs needs both solutions for smooth business operation.


Before choosing the type of provider, one should analyze their business needs and the scope of services that external experts provide. In many cases, enterprises choose to cooperate with both to receive comprehensive technical support, which definitely enhances business capacities and results in boosting productivity.

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