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What Is A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)?

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) Definition

A managed security service provider (MSSP) offers network security services to an organization. As a third party, an MSSP can alleviate the strain on IT teams, as well as free up crucial time the organization needs to support and expand operations.

This article will examine how MSSPs help an organization function more efficiently, as well as how they are different from managed service providers (MSPs). Even though they are both managed services, MSSPs and MSPs have distinct features.

What are Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) Used For?

In addition to understanding what is an MSSP, it is important to know how they are used. Using an MSSP involves outsourcing the management and monitoring of security systems and devices. With critical security systems in the hands of an external entity, IT teams have more time to engage in other projects to further organizational objectives. Common services include:

  1. Managed firewall: A managed firewall refers to a service that provides stronger threat management through the implementation of security experts. These professionals constantly monitor your firewall, as well as respond to potential threats. Using a managed firewall is similar to hiring a watchman, policeman, and detective all at the same time. Your system’s network traffic is scrutinized to observe and track patterns. These patterns are used to form security parameters. When an event acts outside of these parameters, it triggers an alert and the potential threat is addressed.
  2. Intrusion detection: Traditionally, networks are often compared to castles. A big enough moat, theoretically, will protect everything you value on the inside. However, modern intrusion detection involves second-guessing all components, people, and software, whether they are inside or outside the “castle.” Intrusion detection by a capable MSSP involves protecting all devices and systems, as well as making sure they are not used by bad actors to harm other systems inside—or outside—your organization.
  3. Virtual private network (VPN): In the hands of an MSSP, a VPN can be configured to securely shelter your organization’s operations. Because it is shielded from intrusion by other users, a private VPN minimizes the attack surface significantly. If only necessary users are granted access to the VPN, your MSSP only has to implement security measures to safeguard the network from those users and their devices.
  4. Vulnerability scanning: While identifying potential threats is an essential step, an MSSP also scans for vulnerabilities in your network. Sometimes, these include obvious targets for cyber criminals, such as workspaces and sensitive data. In other cases, areas or systems that criminals want to access can be penetrated using a vulnerability two or three degrees removed from it. An MSSP can pinpoint each vulnerability, whether it is inside an attack surface, adjacent to it, or a few degrees away.  
  5. Antiviral services: The diversity of viral attacks climbs every year, and it is often difficult for IT teams to keep up with the expanding selection of threats. An MSSP has the resources to hone in on the viruses that pose the most imminent threat to your network and its users. The MSSP can then design a portfolio of antiviral services that takes aim at the most salient threats. In addition, general antiviral measures can be implemented at various levels and locations within the network. For example, antiviral solutions can be arranged to meet the protection needs of in-house servers, while different solutions can be designed for cloud servers.


MSSP vs. MSPs: What's the Difference?

An MSP refers to a third-party organization that manages your IT infrastructure remotely. One of their prime objectives is to reduce and eliminate liabilities in your cybersecurity network without sacrificing the efficiency of your overall operation. MSPs first evaluate the current system your organization has in place, and then create a customized solution to enhance your security.

When choosing an MSP, you have the option to hire them as advisors or to directly manage day-to-day operations within your business. An organization may outsource simple, mundane tasks to an MSP or use them for more complex, talent-heavy objectives.

MSSP Offers More Exclusive Security Measures

An MSP focuses on ensuring all facets of your information systems are made available and can be used by your employees and customers. In the process, however, they may also be available to exterior parties. An MSSP, on the other hand, makes sure that no one besides your employees and customers can access your information systems or data. This exclusive focus on reducing attack opportunities makes an MSSP a superior choice for some organizations.

MSSP Prioritizes Security Over Administration

The primary mission of an MSP is more geared toward making sure the IT system runs smoothly while giving decision-makers control over how things operate. While an MSSP can help IT run smoothly as well, its main objective is IT security. For users looking for a more holistic, all-around IT solution, an MSP may offer more flexibility. For users whose primary concern is network security and IT safety, an MSSP may be a better choice.

MSSP Offers Specific Tools for Threat Mitigation

Another way an MSSP differs from an MSP is in its suite of solutions. While an MSP system can make IT systems run smoother, an MSSP’s sole mission is to improve safety by directly seeking out, identifying, and dealing with threats. As a result, MSSPs provide companies with services that entail specific threat prevention, detection, and response protocols. These are used to protect the network, its infrastructure, and the applications that interface with it.

What are the differences between MSSP and MSPs?

How Fortinet Can Help

With MSSP through Fortinet, the risk associated with cyberattacks, as well as the long- and short-term impact of attacks, can be minimized. Fortinet’s MSSP partners monitor the network, protecting its various elements, including:

  1. Enterprise data: The data you value the most is kept secure and away from invasive threats. This includes proprietary data, as well as the data of customers, business partners, and employees.
  2. Infrastructure: With a growing attack surface, infrastructure elements are constantly in the crosshairs. With the Fortinet MSSP solution, the machines and software systems that power your network are protected. Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) help shield otherwise vulnerable components and systems from a variety of threats. Also, you have the freedom to tailor the solution to best fit your system’s parameters.
  3. In-house users: Employees and executives in your organization can easily become special targets of cyberattacks due to the knowledge and access they have. Whether they have digital keys stored on connected devices or usernames and passwords that could be exposed, Fortinet MSSP options can provide an imposing protective barrier. By limiting access to the network to only necessary individuals, Fortinet’s security can minimize the frequency and severity of attacks.
  4. External team members: Fortinet MSSPs can make connecting with external workers safer for them, your network, and your organization as a whole. Those who have to connect can be carefully vetted, and using a trustless verification system, their credentials can be tested each time they access the system.

Fortinet MSSPs also offer organizations a more streamlined threat response system. If the system receives an MSP alert, it can be checked and verified before it is escalated to an actionable event. With traditional threat management, a team is often forced to waste time and energy chasing down false alerts. With Fortinet MSSPs, there is no need to waste resources addressing false positives.