Understanding MSP vs. MSSP for IT Services and Security

Understanding MSP vs. MSSP for IT Services and Security

No matter the size of your business or operation, your IT operations and services are vital to your growth and success. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) can both play an integral role in your success, but despite the similarities in the acronyms, they are very different in practice.

Tech Alliance is an MSP committed to assisting you with your business’s most critical technologies, and we customize our services to your needs. To learn more about our full-featured solutions, contact us today.


Understanding the difference between a managed service provider (MSP) and managed security service provider (MSSP) can help you hire the right IT services company.

What Is an MSP?

An MSP, or Managed Service Provider, provides a wide range of services designed to build or update your network and keep it healthy. It involves outsourcing your IT operations and services to a third-party company that has the knowledge and experience required to develop and maintain your network.

Some of the functions and services offered by an MSP like Tech Alliance include the following:

  • Network Design: Whether your business is just getting off the ground or your network needs an overhaul to meet the demands of your growing company, network design involves the creation, implementation, and management of custom solutions. MSPs design these solutions to be efficient and secure while maximizing your connections.
  • Data Cabling: Data cabling involves connecting several devices to an IT infrastructure. Though it sounds simple enough, it is often a tricky business. When you need more bandwidth, or when you need to connect more devices to your network, an MSP can help you optimize the performance of your network with customized cabling solutions.
  • Network Security: An MSP can offer many network security features, including real-time protection against spyware and malware, a managed firewall to keep intruders out, virtual private networks (VPNs) that allow employees to access company data remotely – and securely, and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs) that are designed to identify and prevent threats before they can make their way through your network.
  • Cloud Services: Cloud computing services improve efficiency and reduce costs by eliminating the need for server equipment. From Microsoft Azure and MS Office 365 to VoIP communication services, operating in the cloud is the way of the future. MSPs can help with cloud-based services management, and they can even assist with your complete cloud migration.

What Is an MSSP?

A Managed Security Service Provider, on the other hand, provides outsourced security services and software to other companies. They focus solely on cybersecurity, and they tend to work alongside MSPs to provide the full spectrum of services your business needs to thrive. Though MSPs can offer a great deal of security, including VPNs, firewalls, and more, MSSPs take a proactive approach to cybersecurity with round the clock security and protection. They also offer intrusion detection, vulnerability scans, and antivirus and antimalware services. All these things are monitored and protected around the clock, which gives you an added layer of protection.

Another benefit of an MSSP over a traditional MSP involves their threat response protocols. Though they work primarily to prevent network issues, they also have the tools and knowledge required to deal with an issue if it should arise. MSSPs also offer unique risk assessments which can identify the risks your business faces and take proactive steps to resolve them.

A Common Ground: MSP+

In today’s landscape, many businesses rely on their MSPs and MSSPs to help them with their IT needs. An MSP+ is a service provider that focuses most of its efforts on cybersecurity, but still offers some or all of the traditional MSP services including cloud migration and computing, data cabling, and network design. It is important to note that while an MSP+ certainly offers more advanced security services than a traditional MSP, they may not be able to offer the same 24/7 access and monitoring as a dedicated MSSP.

Which Should You Choose?

MSPs, MSSPs, and MSP+ are all wonderful options for managing your IT systems and security needs, but it can be difficult to choose between the three. When choosing, there are three things to keep in mind.

1. Services Offered

An MSP and MSSP both offer all the IT services you need, but the emphasis placed on some services varies a great deal. MSSPs focus on security while MSPs are more generalized in their offerings. Because of this, an MSP cannot offer the same specialized or comprehensive security features as an MSSP.

2. Operational Model

While MSSPs operate continuously and proactively, most MSPs operate more reactively. An MSSP will identify a security need before it happens and respond to threats as needed, regardless of the time of day. MSPs step in when software needs to be installed or when you need to upgrade your current network with new capabilities and equipment.

3. Financial Impact

Because MSSPs offer round-the-clock specialized service, they tend to be more expensive than a traditional MSP, which is surprisingly affordable. When choosing an MSP, look for a company that offers all its services under the umbrella of one fixed monthly fee. Otherwise, if you need frequent IT support, the costs can add up.

The best way to determine whether an MSP or MSSP is best for your needs involves analyzing your business, assessing what you can do in-house, and thinking about your budget. When possible, choosing an MSP that offers advanced security is the best and most affordable option. Otherwise, if security is your most pressing concern, an MSSP may be the better choice. When you need help with IT basics, an MSP is always going to be the better option.

Choose Tech Alliance for Your IT Support and Security Needs

Tech Alliance offers both managed IT services and managed security services in one easy-to-understand package available for a flat monthly fee. There are never any hidden costs. To learn more about our customizable suite of products and services, reach out to us today for a quote. We will put together a plan based on your company’s unique needs and budget.