What is an MSSP?

Your Guide to an MSSP – Managed Security Service Provider

Some companies have the time, budget, and resources to develop a world-class security program in house. But most don’t. MSSPs help close the gap for companies that need to advance their security technology, don’t have the in-house expertise to build a security stack, and lack the resources to manage their ongoing security program.

More organizations recognize the need to enhance their security, especially as they look to address concerns about the security risks of working from home, which can create data leakage, lack of visibility, and greater difficulty meeting regulatory compliance requirements.

Meanwhile, talent is in short supply. According to (ISC)2, the “global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow 65% to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets.” While the number of jobs needed to close that gap did fall recently, there are still 2.72 million cybersecurity positions to be filled, leaving many organizations shorthanded as cyberattacks and data breaches continue to grow in number and severity.

MSSPs address these concerns and a range of needs through a variety of services. Some enterprises have the talent to manage security full time and simply need a partner to host the technology they use to prevent and detect attacks. Some businesses are highly regulated but too small to hire a full-time security team, and an MSSP allows them to meet compliance requirements faster and for a lower cost than hiring full-time employees.

Wherever you might be starting, MSSPs can meet you where you are, assess your security needs, and fill in the gaps in your technology and team.

Top Five MSSP Tools and Solutions for the US Market

Among the various services MSSPs bring to the market, several rise to the top as the most in demand from organizations of all sizes and in all industries. These are the tools that fill security gaps in their organization, increase visibility, and stop threats.

MSSP – Cyber Security Solution #5
UTM / Unified Threat Management

Unified Threat Management is a centralized approach to security management using a device known as a next-gen firewall, with multi-layered security services to safeguard your network. Those next-gen firewalls handle intrusion detection and prevention, content filtering, traffic shaping, port forwarding, traffic accounting, policy enforcement, network address translation (NAT), remote access VPNs, site-to-site VPNs, and more.

MSSP – Cyber Security Solution #4

Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) and a security operations center (SOC) support security monitoring and response, including 24/7 network monitoring and 24/7 log monitoring. SIEM tools collect and analyze aggregated log data to detect any anomalies. The SOC includes the people, processes, and technology designed to deal with security events detected by the SIEM analysis.

MSSP – Cyber Security Solution #3
EDR / Endpoint Detection and Response

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools provide four primary capabilities, according to Garter; they must detect security incidents, contain the incident at the endpoint, investigate security incidents, and provide remediation guidance. Some EDRs use artificial intelligence (AI), which can block known and unknown malware from running on endpoints, maintain full control of when and where scripts run in your environment, block memory exploits, and automate a proactive response to threats.

MSSP – Cyber Security Solution #2
Remote Access VPN

Remote access VPNs surged in popularity during the pandemic, as companies sent their employees to work from home and needed a secure way to connect those remote employees to data and applications in the company data center. Remote access VPNs manage access to company resources and encrypt traffic so that your data is safe no matter where an end user is accessing it from, whether their homes or the Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or airplane.

MSSP – Cyber Security Solution #1
Fully Managed Security Services – End-to-end Cyber Security

All of the above tools are only effective at securing your organization if they are effectively managed. Organizations turn to fully managed security services to ensure an expert team is monitoring and responding to the alerts from various security tools. With a tight and expensive market for security talent, many organizations don’t have the time or budget to invest in building an in-house team. Fully managed security services allow them to offload both the technology and the monitoring of their systems to an expert team keeping watch 24/7.

MSSP Technologies

Every company selects MSSP technologies to build an ecosystem based on their philosophies around security.

That ecosystem will likely include:

  • Security Incident Event Management (SIEM)
  • Security Operations Center (SOC)
  • Edge Security (like managed firewalls, SD-WAN, and other networking technologies)
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), as part of Unified Threat Management (UTM)
  • …and other defensive controls

But, when considering MSSP technology, you also have to look beyond the tools to the features and the underlying technology that keeps your organization secure.

For example, you might want to make sure your SIEM is capable of entity behavior analysis to ensure the system is keeping track of what user behavior is typical and what behavior represents the actions of an attacker. Machine learning too can help you avoid manual log review and better spot anomalies programmatically across multiple data sets – something humans have a tough time doing.

Apart from the benefits of certain MSSP technologies, you’ll also want to make sure the technologies match up with your regulatory requirements. For example, make sure the technology aligns with frameworks around data retention and fits compliance frameworks like HIPAA, PCI, banking regulations, and more. Organizations in Europe will want to confirm where an MSSP is storing data to ensure they’re following GDPR rules to the letter.

Check with your engineers too, who can sometimes have strong preferences for particular manufacturers or products. Demos are particularly important when reviewing MSSP technologies so that you can get a technical deep dive. You’ll also want to look into the backend processes and playbooks an MSSP uses to understand how well their practices match your own. Engineers will consider whether an MSSP configures the technology, manages and monitors it, and the way they would react to incidents, all of which tells you how closely you’re aligned with a particular MSSP’s technology, philosophy, and practices.

What Does an MSSP Mean to You?

We asked 100 IT Professionals:
“What does an MSSP mean to you?”

Their answers shed some light on where the real value of an MSSP lies. While stronger security is certainly a critical outcome of any MSSP engagement, the survey revealed that there are other benefits that organizations prize just as much.

What does an MSSP mean to you?

Happy/Secure Workforce 3%
End-to-end Protection 25%
24/7 Monitoring 72%
Source: Pulse Poll


MSSP Meaning #1
End-to-end Protection – 25%

It might at first seem surprising that just 25% noted that end-to-end protection was what an MSSP meant to them, since that is one of the major benefits, but the other two choices speak to the broader outcomes of having an MSSP fill in the gaps in your security.

MSSP Meaning #2:
24/7 Monitoring & Reassurance – 72%

The top answer sheds light on one of an organizations’ biggest pain points and one of the reasons so many have turned to MSSPs. 72% of surveyed IT professionals chose this option. The always-there MSSP team certainly reassures plenty of organizations Having round-the-clock security is a must for all mid-market and enterprise businesses, especially across today’s hybrid technologies and workforces.

However, this high percentage also shows the need for greater security education in the market, 24/7 monitoring and response is only part of the picture required for total security and reassurance.

MSSP Meaning #3:
A Happy & Secure Workforce – 3%

With so many employees remote and with increasingly complex mixes of cloud and on-premises applications and data, organizations need to make sure their employees are secure.

But they also need to balance security with usability. The most secure systems can put up roadblocks and speed bumps not just for attackers, but for legitimate users as well. Balancing security with enabling employees to do their jobs efficiently is one of the biggest benefits MSSPs bring to organizations.

How will this percentage change when the market is more used to partnering with end-to-end MSSPs, seeing first-hand the impact Managed Security has on a workforce? Fusion Connect security experts believe that if this question is asked again in a number of years, this will be a much higher percentage.

MSSP for an Enterprise Business

MSSPs make sense for mid-market and enterprise businesses for a number of reasons, from cost avoidance to finding a force multiplier. Covering people, process, and technology, MSSPs can deliver enterprise businesses a fully loaded security team in less than a quarter of the time it would take to build it themselves.

Without an MSSP, mid-market and enterprise businesses have to develop their own processes, hire their own talent in an increasingly tight labor market, and refine the program from there. It can take a year or more to get up and running, time that many organizations don’t have when it comes to the velocity of attacks they face. An MSSP stands up a fully functioning security program with fully trained, experienced professionals in as little as 90 days.

Because hiring is so competitive in the security industry right now, it’s not only challenging to find qualified analysts and engineers, it’s also expensive. Salaries continue to rise amid the limited supply of talent. Between the talent, technology, and the resources to develop a program, some organizations could pay 2-3 times as much to build their own program from the ground up. MSSPs allow enterprises to avoid the challenges of staffing the right expertise and building processes, and gain access to a pool of qualified security experts who can stand up the program on their behalf for a fraction of the cost.

In addition, MSSPs save costs by consolidating different tools, technologies, and partners. Instead of having one partner running the SIEM and SOC, another managing the remote access VPN, and so on, enterprises can partner with a single MSSP that manages it all on one contract.

What is an MSSP?

The Conclusion

An MSSP improves security for businesses by delivering the technology, processes, operations, and management needed to close gaps in a security program, staff it with expert analysts and engineers, and keep a close watch for and mitigate any anomalies.

MSSPs deliver technology ranging from remote access VPNs to SIEM/SOC to EDR to UTM and more. Working as an extension of an organization’s in-house security and IT teams, MSSPs consolidate security tools and functions while relieving the business of recruiting hard-to-find security talent. By establishing processes, vetting technology, and managing it all, MSSPs free in-house teams to focus on more strategic priorities.

Acting as a force multiplier for in-house teams, MSSPs lower the cost and the effort of developing and running a security program on your own, as you tap into the experienced teams at an MSSP that have seen and done it all before.

As more companies continue to work in remote or hybrid environments, and as the threat landscape continues to expand, MSSPs offer the assurance that people, process, and technology are in place. That ensure you’re meeting every compliance requirement and that users are secure and able to do their jobs without disruption.

Whether you’re an enterprise or a mid-market organization, MSSPs expand your team, consolidate your partners, and secure your organization. For a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself.


Microsoft Teams Calling Services

Make calls to mobile devices and landlines through Microsoft Teams with Operator Connect.

Microsoft Teams allows collaboration access to files and direct communication with your teams

Is Your Internet Speed Performing As Promised?

Test your internet speed

Measure your internet speed and get insight on jitter and latency.