MSP vs. MSSP… What’s the Difference?

In the landscape of technology and business, MSPs and MSSPs are two acronyms that get mixed up. The roles of MSPs and MSSPs are becoming increasingly prevalent because of the vital role they play in the business landscape👩‍💻. 

Understandably, the two terms are often confused. If you’re confused about the difference between the two, you’re not alone. In fact, many people in business have trouble differentiating between the two types of service providers🤔. 

In this blog, we’ll look at the differences between the two, as well as their levels of importance within the business industry.  

Exploring the Two Service Providers

In the world of cybersecurity and IT services, understanding the exact function of both Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) is essential. According to Statistica, the managed security services market was valued at over 31 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

Both service providers play a functional and vital role in IT, and once you understand their differences, you can use them to your advantage. 

In the following sections, we’ll look at both providers and their exact roles in the IT and security of modern businesses. 

managed security services

Source: Statistica

What is an MSP?

MSP stands for Managed Service Provider👩‍💻, and they’re responsible for a company’s IT infrastructure. An MSP is a firm that works to provide remote IT services to businesses and organizations. Their crucial role is to take responsibility for the IT services of a company, using their expertise to oversee operations and keep everything seamless and smooth👌. 

The Key Services MSPs Provide

If your organization lacks IT expertise and experience, it might be a good idea to hire an MSP.  

Here are some of the critical services the MSPs offer:

  • IT infrastructure management🖥
  • Remote monitoring and management 
  • Data recovery and backup
  • Cloud services management☁️
  • Technical support and help desk 
  • IT planning and Consultation 
  • Performance monitoring and optimization 
  • IT documentation 
  • IT compliance management 

Hiring an MSP is also more affordable in comparison to an in-house IT team. They tailor their services to the specific needs of a company and the preferences of their client. From there, they use their expertise to help with the day-to-day IT operations💻. 


Source: Microbyte 

What is an MSSP?

MSSP, or Managed Security Service Provider, is a firm that provides security services🔐, expertise, and software to other companies and organizations. Businesses work with MSSPs to complement or replace their security operations center (SOC). 

One reason is because of a lack of expertise in their in-house SOC. Highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and banking, also depend on MSSPs for compliance and security🔑.

The Key Services MSSPs Provide

Examples of services that MSSP offer:

  • Cybersecurity monitoring 
  • Threat detection🔎
  • Security monitoring🔐
  • Incident response and management 
  • Security information and event management (SIEM)
  • Vulnerability assessments
  • Firewall management and network security 
  • Threat intelligence services 
  • Security awareness training
  • Anti-virus setup and management🦠
managed firewall

Source: Fortinet 

MSSPs play a significant role in keeping businesses safe against cyber and security threats. They provide a transparent and proactive approach to securing data and the integrity of a company’s IT system. The service offers a cybersecurity framework based on the specific needs of its clients.

What Is the Difference Between the Two?

Even though MSPs and MSSPs both offer managed services, their core focus and the services they provide differ. Because of this, understanding the differences is essential to ensure you use the correct service for your business. 

Here are some differences: 

Focus and Expertise👩‍💻

MSPs and MSSPs differ in their direct focus and expertise. Even though they are both third-party service providers, they have different roles. MSPs’ focus is on providing IT support and services and managing and running the day-to-day operations of a business. They ensure smooth functionality and efficiency and reduce downtime. 🖥

Meanwhile, an MSSP’s priority is providing cybersecurity services. MSSPs are in charge of incident response planning and services, preventing cyber and security threats. They provide continuous monitoring for suspicious activity, vulnerability assessments, and incident response. They aim to improve an organization’s security posture. 

The Services They Offer🤝

As mentioned above, the two roles provide different services. MSPs work to enhance operational efficiency, providing IT services like network monitoring, help desk support and data backup. They work to improve the productivity of IT services. 

On the other hand, MSSPs offer targeted security services, working to implement cybersecurity measures to protect a company from threats. From incident response to threat detection and cybersecurity monitoring, they aim to protect the sensitive data of a company. 


Source: Gitnux 

Operations Center🖥

MSPs have a network operations centre (NOC) that handles network-related incidents and alerts that decrease downtime. Meanwhile, MSSPs have a 24/7 security operations centre (SOC) that monitors and manages their customers’ data security and systems.

In summary, the two managed services both work to benefit the IT infrastructure of a business. Choosing the right one for your business depends on your organisation’s needs and requirements. Using a tailored approach to fit your organisation, these two managed service providers can equally enhance and elevate the IT side of your business👍. 

Choosing the Right Service Provider

Selecting the right service provider for your business is essential for your security and IT needs. Considering all the factors, the services they provide will help you decide on the right one for you. 

Here are some factors to consider:

  • Your organisation’s needs🤗. Look at the primary needs of your business when making the decision. If you require general IT services, an MSP can help minimise downtime, provide operational efficiency, and run your organisation’s day-to-day IT operations. If you require an expert to fortify cybersecurity and look out for security threats, an MSSP may be the better option. 
  • The security requirements of your company🔐. Depending on the type of company you run and its security needs, you may opt for an MSSP. If your company deals with sensitive data and faces potential cyber threats, you’ll need the help of an expert in this area. 
  • Flexibility and scalability🤸‍♂️. Look into the scalability of the services of the provider and make sure the service model aligns with your business. Both managed services should offer flexibility to adapt to your specific needs and requirements. 

Choosing between the two is different for all businesses and organizations. By looking at your company in detail and assessing your security and IT needs, as well as your day-to-day operation requirements, you can make an informed decision. 

How to Grow Cybersecurity Knowledge

Even though MSPs don’t prioritize cybersecurity, they should still consider the security needs of their customers🤔. Data shows that worldwide cybercrime costs are estimated to hit $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, highlighting the need for enhanced cybersecurity measures.

That’s why if an MSP wants to increase its cybersecurity knowledge, the best thing to do is to have its employees attend training and acquire certifications. They should focus on learning about cybersecurity sales frameworks and security operations (SecOps).


Source: Cobalt 


MSPs prioritize the IT needs of their clients, while MSSPs focus on their customers’ cybersecurity. They both play a crucial role in providing for the needs of their clients🤝. By understanding the different roles they play and the offerings they provide, you can make an informed decision about the best one for your specific company🙇‍♀️. 

As technology becomes more advanced, the two roles may become more intertwined in the future, helping both the day-to-day IT operations of a business and monitoring and protecting them from cyber security threats🔐✨. 

For more information on this, contact us today. Or, for more tips and tricks about elevating your business’s success, check out our blog

Register to become a partner today

Gain access to partner resources and training materials to grow your business.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.