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Top 5 Criteria for Selecting a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

Top 5 Criteria for Selecting a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

Although many organizations choose to handle their security in-house, there are some definite advantages to the use of a managed security service provider. The main advantage is convenience, as it is simply easier to outsource this work to a specialized third-party company. As long as you choose the right MSSP, it is the quickest and easiest way to achieve a high level of network security. Here are five criteria that you can consider when trying to choose that ideal business partner.

1. Reputation And Credibility

This is by far the most important criteria, though some others may not agree. In the end, however, integrity and trust are the key “x-factors” that separate a good MSSP from a bad one. You need to be able to trust that this company will not hire the very hackers that it seeks to thwart, for one thing. These companies can easily be infiltrated if proper background checks are not done. The best way to check on this factor is by seeing how long they have been in the business, what kind of reviews people have generally written about them, and what kind of background the owner (or owners) might have.

One matter that directly relates to credibility is transparency. Any good MSSP should be willing to show you everything that is done with your data. Due to the way that these networks function, they cannot help but collect a lot of data relating to your organization and its activities. As such, remember that you have every right to know where those files are going. They should be willing to work with you in this regard and should advise you regarding the treatment of your most sensitive information.

2. A Track Record For Effectiveness

While you are investigating their credibility and overall trustworthiness, you might as well also investigate their performance. If the company has a habit of giving substandard service, that is likely to show through in the reviews. When reading reviews, don’t just look for “good ones” and “bad ones.” You need to go a little deeper and look for trends. For instance, if 7 out of 10 negative reviews are making similar criticisms, those criticisms are more likely to be valid.

On this subject, you really should make sure to ask about certifications and training. There are lots of people who think they are capable of doing IT work, but you don’t have to settle for the average semi-expert. When paying for MSSP services, you have the right to expect top-tier people who possess all the relevant certifications in their field.

3. Cutting Edge Technology

Unfortunately, it isn’t just about the human factors. When choosing an MSSP, you should try to find out a little bit about the equipment and tech with which they are working. While they may not want to tell you everything, you should at least make sure that this company is using the latest and most advanced hardware and methods. There are many things for which you might look, but one thing that you definitely want to see is the use of intelligent detection systems that can go beyond merely looking at event logs.

Cybersecurity can be compared to a technological “arms race.” As bad actors continue to find more effective means of robbing and terrorizing others, their opposites in the cybersecurity industry are always looking for new ways to thwart them. Although this has a lot to do with the skill of those involved, cutting-edge technology provides key advantages to those who invest therein. You don’t want a company that hasn’t bothered to invest in the most effective tools, period.

4. Responsiveness

You can immediately tell a lot about your MSSP by evaluating how quickly they respond to their customers. Bear in mind that you might need to get ahold of these people quickly, especially in the event of a cyberattack.

If there is indeed some sort of crisis, a poor response time on their part could leave your network down for hours or even days. That is a situation that you really want to avoid, so try to find companies that respond quickly to your calls and queries. This will be a good indication of how responsive they will be in general. Those who keep you waiting and give lame excuses are not worth your time or your dime.

5. A Preventive Approach

It is often said that prevention is the best medicine, and this old idea is very true in the field of cybersecurity. Since threats and attacks will always exist, the ideal situation is one in which they are prevented early (meaning before any real damage can be done). Since anyone with any knowledge of cybersecurity knows this, your MSSP should do everything they can to prevent problems before they become problems.

The worst thing you can have here is a company that only takes action when a threat is suspected. That is a foolish attitude. Instead, they should always be hunting for threats, checking those dark corners, monitoring traffic, and making sure there isn’t a threat. You want a guard dog that will chase away the intruders…not one that will simply bite them on their way out the door! Penetration testing is really great, but you should ask to see a background check on anyone that is hired for that particular job. It might seem paranoid, but it’s important to understand that some “penetration testers” are just hackers using a different label.


These are all essential qualities by which you judge the worthiness of any managed security service provider. While these are not the only yardsticks by which you can measure things, we believe these five factors to be the most important. If you can find a company that is satisfactory in all these respects, you have found a good one indeed. If not, we recommend calling PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500. We hold ourselves to a higher standard in customer service and we are confident that you will see the results.