What is MSSP in cybersecurity?

What is MSSPs in cybersecurity

A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is a specialized IT service company focusing on cybersecurity. MSSPs help businesses protect themselves from cyber threats, enhance their security operations, and navigate the complex landscape of information security with greater ease and expertise.

MSSP vs. MSP: what's the difference?

While both Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer outsourced services, their focus areas differ significantly.

Difference between MSSP and Managed Service Provider

MSSPs specialize in cybersecurity, offering security services tailored to protect businesses from cyber threats. MSPs, on the other hand, provide a broader range of IT services, including but not limited to network management, support services, and software management. 

The key distinction lies in the Managed Security Service Provider's specialized focus on securing your digital assets against cyber threats.

What kinds of services do MSSPs offer?

Navigating the complexities of cybersecurity requires more than just a keen eye—it necessitates a comprehensive suite of services designed to protect, detect, and respond to threats efficiently. 

MSSPs offer this critical support of managed security services, delivering a range of specialized services tailored to enhance an organization's security posture. Let's examine the key offerings that define the role of MSSPs in safeguarding digital assets.

Managed Security Service Provider range of services

Security event monitoring

MSSPs continuously monitor your network for security events, ensuring that any potential threats are identified and addressed promptly. This proactive approach helps minimize the risk of breaches.

Security event monitoring is the cornerstone of what MSSPs offer, providing round-the-clock surveillance of network and system activities. This service ensures that any unusual or potentially harmful activity is spotted immediately, enabling swift action to mitigate risks. It's about keeping a vigilant watch over your digital domain, ready to flag anything out of the ordinary.

Managed detection and response (MDR)

Through MDR services, MSSPs not only detect threats but also respond to them swiftly, often before they can cause significant damage. This includes isolating affected systems and removing malicious entities.

MDR goes beyond spotting threats by actively taking steps to stop them in their tracks and by deploying countermeasures to prevent the spread of an attack. MDR services embody the rapid reflexes needed to defend against cyber threats effectively.

Penetration testing

Penetration testing is akin to a stress test for your cybersecurity defenses. Using a simulation strategy to create cyber-attacks, MSSPs identify vulnerabilities in your infrastructure that could be exploited by malicious actors. This proactive approach allows organizations to fortify their defenses before real threats emerge.

Threat hunting

MSSPs actively search for indicators of compromise within your environment that may elude traditional detection methods. This proactive search uncovers hidden threats, ensuring they're addressed before causing harm.

Managed firewall

Managed firewall services focus on the management, maintenance, and monitoring of firewall infrastructure. This includes configuring firewall rules to allow legitimate traffic while blocking malicious or unauthorized access attempts. It’s a critical line of defense in controlling data flow in and out of the network.

Vulnerability management

Through vulnerability management, a Managed Security Service Provider helps identify, assess, remediate, and report on security vulnerabilities in your systems and software, keeping your IT environment secure.

Benefits of working with an MSSP

The decision to partner with an MSSP is not just about outsourcing but also about empowering your organization with a robust security framework. This framework is designed to defy the complexities of modern cyber threats. 

The benefits of engaging with an MSSP are various, touching upon not just the technological aspects of cybersecurity but also the strategic and operational enhancements it brings to an organization. Here's a closer look at the key advantages:

Managed Security Service Provider benefits

Comprehensive protection and scale-up of security

MSSPs offer a broad spectrum of security services that cover all aspects of your cybersecurity needs, allowing for scalable protection as your business grows.

Comprehensive protection and scale-up of security encapsulate the essence of MSSP engagement. Organizations gain a dynamic shield, capable of adapting to evolving threats and expanding in tandem with business growth. This isn't just about having more tools in the arsenal; it's about ensuring each layer of security is interwoven to form an impenetrable defense.

Access to specialized expertise and filling internal IT skills gaps

Access to specialized expertise and filling internal IT skills gaps addresses a critical challenge many organizations face: the scarcity of cybersecurity talent. 

Partnering with a Managed Security Service Provider bridges this gap by bringing in a team of experts. They improve the organization's security posture without requiring lengthy and often unsuccessful recruiting and training processes.

Cost savings and efficiency

Cost savings and efficiency emerge from the strategic allocation of resources that an MSSP facilitates.

Instead of bearing the high costs associated with maintaining a comprehensive in-house security team and the latest technologies, organizations can save money and work more efficiently by using MSSPs. This approach not only optimizes spending but also allows businesses to focus their internal resources on core activities.

Improved visibility into threats and expedited security responses

Improved visibility into threats and expedited security responses are critical in a landscape where the speed and stealth of cyber attacks continue to increase. 

MSSPs offer advanced monitoring and detection capabilities, ensuring that threats are identified and addressed with speed and precision. This rapid response mechanism minimizes potential damage and maintains business continuity.

Support for compliance with industry standards and regulations

MSSPs help ensure that your business stays compliant with relevant cybersecurity standards and regulations, reducing the risk of penalties and breaches.

MSSPs possess the expertise to navigate these complex regulations, ensuring that organizations meet and maintain compliance standards, thereby avoiding penalties and safeguarding their reputation.

Selecting the right MSSP

Selecting the right MSSP is a critical decision that can significantly impact your organization's cybersecurity posture. 

When choosing an MSSP, consider their expertise in cybersecurity, the technology they use, their cost-effectiveness, and their ability to provide threat intelligence. Look for providers with excellent customer service and efficient onboarding processes to ensure a smooth partnership.

Tips on selecting the right Managed Security Service Provider

To ensure you partner with a provider that aligns with your security needs and business objectives, consider the following guidelines and factors:

Security expertise

  • Track record: evaluate the MSSP’s history of success in your industry. Look for case studies or references demonstrating their capability to manage complex security environments.

  • Certifications: check for industry-recognized certifications among their team members, such as CISSP, CISM, or others relevant to cybersecurity. This indicates a level of expertise and commitment to professional development.

  • Custom security solutions: ensure the MSSP can tailor its security services to fit your unique business requirements rather than offer a one-size-fits-all approach.


  • Advanced tools: investigate whether the MSSP employs state-of-the-art security technologies and tools that can effectively detect and mitigate threats.

  • Integration capability: the ability of the MSSP to integrate their solutions with your existing IT infrastructure is crucial for a seamless security posture.

  • Continuous innovation: look for signs that the MSSP invests in research and development to stay ahead of emerging cybersecurity threats.


  • Transparent pricing: seek an MSSP that offers clear, upfront pricing models without hidden fees. This transparency helps in budgeting and assessing the overall value of their services.

  • ROI analysis: consider whether the MSSP can provide evidence or case studies demonstrating a return on investment for their clients through enhanced security and risk mitigation.

Threat intelligence

  • Global threat landscape awareness: the MSSP should have a robust mechanism for gathering and analyzing threat intelligence worldwide, offering proactive protection against emerging threats

  • Custom threat reporting: ensure they can deliver personalized threat reports that are relevant to your business, enabling informed decision-making.

Customer service

  • Availability: confirm that the MSSP offers 24/7 support to address any security incidents or concerns as they arise.

  • Communication: assess the MSSP’s commitment to informing you about your security status, including regular updates and reviews.

Onboarding processes

  • Smooth transition: the MSSP should have a clear and efficient onboarding process that minimizes disruption to your operations

  • Training and support: check if they provide training for your team on their systems and processes, ensuring you can fully leverage their services from day one.

Compliance and regulation support

  • Expertise in compliance: ensure the MSSP has experience with and understanding of the specific compliance requirements relevant to your industry, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS.

  • Compliance services: some MSSPs offer services specifically designed to help you meet compliance standards, including regular audits, compliance gap analysis, and reporting.

How does NordLayer enhance MSSP capabilities?

NordLayer enhances the capabilities of MSSPs by offering advanced security features and services, such as Secure Remote Access, end-to-end encryption, and threat intelligence integration. 

By partnering with NordLayer, MSSPs can offer their clients a more robust security solution, ensuring that businesses of all sizes can protect their digital assets effectively and efficiently based on their security requirements.

NordLayer offering to MSSPs

NordLayer's security software complements the MSSP's expertise, providing a comprehensive security posture that meets the evolving threats in the cybersecurity landscape. A collaboration of cybersecurity professionals helps achieve the best results in cybersecurity services, data security, and network security.

Are you looking for a trusted partner to secure your clients’ networks? NordLayer offers a Partner Program with a focus on tangible benefits for its partners and simple yet effective solutions to protect businesses in the hectic cybersecurity landscape.

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