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MSSPs vs MSPs: How to Choose the Right IT Service Provider

MSSPs vs MSPs: How to Choose the Right IT Service Provider

When you are seeking IT services, you are often confronted with an alphabet soup of acronyms, many of which might be unknown to you. MSP services and MSSP services are some of the most common, and that is because they are some of the most useful. These services actually aren’t all that different, but there is a question of emphasis. Let’s talk a little more about the differences between a managed services provider (or MSP) and a managed security services provider (or MSSP).

The Key Differences Between an MSP and an MSSP

You can look at the names behind these acronyms and tell a difference immediately. The only difference is the word “security.” So, there isn’t really a need to go and type “msp vs mssp” into your browser or something like that. An MSSP provides a greater emphasis on security and that is the key difference between the two.

What is msp? Well, this is a somewhat general term, and that is why you see it so often. These companies provide a wide range of IT services, the exact nature of which are usually tailored for each client. These services might include expert consultation, specialized software, third-party authentication, server hosting services, or any number of others. These can include security services, and any good MSP will utilize a decent level of IT security. However, there is no particular emphasis on that aspect of the IT business.

what is mssp? A managed security services provider provides a more narrow range of services, but with a much greater emphasis on security. These are the people that you employ when you need the very best security and nothing else will do. An MSSP will generally offer a lot more monitoring services, as network monitoring is the single best way to detect a breach before it happens. Inspections and security audits are also frequently used tools when dealing with an MSSP. They also commonly offer managed firewalls, virtual hosting services, incident response, and anything else that might be required for tight information security.

Is It Practical To Use Both MSP And MSSP Services?

Depending on the scale of your needs, it might very well be practical to utilize both MSP and MSSP services at the same time. Obviously, smaller businesses and organizations probably can’t afford to do both. However, a large business or organization is another story. Such organizations have a lot more assets to protect, and that makes it a lot more worthwhile to invest a little more in their IT security. At the same time, anyone who relies on their network for daily business usage (which is basically everyone) can benefit from an outsourced IT provider like PCH Technologies.

Although there is a lot of overlap between these services, this factor can be reduced by carefully customizing the services provided by each plan. If your MSP and MSSP services are handled by the same company, that can make things work a lot more smoothly. An MSP should be focused on keeping your network functioning optimally, while the MSSP handles all the security work.

Some Tips To Remember When Choosing An MSP or an MSSP:

Every business and organization requires IT management. If you are going to outsource those services, an MSP really is essential. You can get a lot of different services in a single package for a consistent monthly fee. The real question lies in whether or not you require the upgraded security offered by an MSSP. Not everyone needs that high level of security, so you need to decide this question based on your level of risk. These are just a few helpful guidelines to remember when looking for the ideal service provider:

  • Make sure you go into the planning process with clear goals. You don’t want to go in there without a clue and ask them what needs to be done. You can get far better service if you know what you want.
  • When looking for an MSSP, always ask a lot of questions about their monitoring services. This includes everything from simple packet and protocol monitoring to file monitoring and all sorts of other things. The key is to provide visibility of all important assets at all times, something that is kind of like keeping a security camera pointed towards a bank vault.
  • Make sure you have plenty of flexibility with your MSP or MSSP company. They should be willing to work with you and create a customized service plan that meets your needs. They should not try to bundle services that you don’t even want or need. This flexibility also needs to be reflected in the pricing.
  • As we mentioned earlier, it can be very helpful if your MSP and MSSP services are provided by the same company. Everyone will be able to work together more smoothly because they’re all on the same team.
  • A good MSP or MSSP provider should be willing and eager to inspect your current IT setup and recommend changes in hardware, software, policy, or network architecture. If they recommend that you keep working with outdated technologies, it might just be a lack of willingness on their part to do an upgrade. You want people that are eager to help you improve.
  • Don’t forget to read the SLA (service-level agreement) closely. This will contain all the terms by which your MSP/MSSP will abide. This is where you can see if a company holds itself to a high standard or not.


Although this article is based on a very simple question, we have tried to give you the best possible answer. When deciding between an MSP, an MSSP, or a combination of the two, you mainly need to evaluate your organization’s level of risk, as well as the size and scale of your network. If you would like to know more, or if you would like to inquire about MSP or MSSP services, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.