Back to Blog

What is the difference between a MSP and a MSSP?

Image of Brandon Walcott
Brandon Walcott

In the information technology world, the acronyms MSP and MSSP get tossed around a lot. Sometimes interchangeably. MSP stands for managed service provider and MSSP stands for managed security service provider. And like most things, that one extra S makes a difference.

Knowing the difference between an MSP and an MSSP can help you and your organization choose the right level of services for your business.

What is a managed service provider?

An MSP is an organization that manages a company’s IT structure and user systems from a remote location. A good MSP has technicians and experts in a variety of areas and can act as your network administrator and disaster recovery expert all in one. A good MSP remotely monitors your IT networks so that it can find and correct problems before they become issues that adversely affect your customers, clients, patients, or vendors in order to maintain business continuity.

download business continuity eBook

What is a Managed Security Service Provider?

An MSSP provides outsourced monitoring and management of security devices and systems. Common services include managed firewalls, intrusion detection, virtual private networks (VPNs), vulnerability scanning and anti-viral services. MSSP’s use high-availability security operation centers, either from their own facilities or from other data center providers, to provide 24/7 services designed to reduce the number of operational security personnel an enterprise needs to hire, train, and retain to maintain an acceptable security posture.

How is an MSSP different from an MSP?

While MSPs and MSSPs both provide third-party services to businesses, their focus is very different. An MSP delivers network, application, database and other general IT support and services while an MSSP is exclusively focused on providing cybersecurity services. While MSSPs provide incident response planning and services, an MSP is more reactive; they are called in something happens.MSPvsMSSP

Do MSPs and MSSPs work together?

Comparing MSPs to MSSPs can be misleading because organizations shouldn’t necessarily choose one over the other. Often, these providers work in concert with each other. Organizations can determine where to begin by evaluating their current provider, considering the scope of their cybersecurity needs, and prioritizing their budget accordingly. MSSPs were essentially born out of the increased need for advanced cybersecurity tactics. When traditional MSPs realized they couldn’t meet their customer’s demand for 24/7 security access and protection, the MSSP was created. Several organizations, such as pim, operate with both MSP and MSSP offerings, allowing customers to reap the benefits of both services in one place.



What expertise can I expect from these service providers?


Your Managed Service Provider is focused mainly on technology administration. An MSP oversees granting permissions to employees based on their roles and responsibilities, onboarding new employees in your tech system, recording, and providing log data, and troubleshooting when there is an incident. They can also work closely with your company’s database manager to provide the training and support that they need to do their job well.


An MSSP should provide a complete outsourced security solution for an organization. The core of the MSSP business is providing security monitoring and incident response for an organization’s enterprise networks and endpoints. However, as enterprise networks grow and evolve, support for other platforms, such as cloud-based infrastructure, has become a common component of MSSPs’ security portfolio.

pim offers both MSP and MSSP services. pim’s managed services include solutions that detect, protect, prevent, and resolve common network and system threats before they happen. pim has tech solutions that are created with you and your business in mind. From on-site services to remote help desk support to data management to firewall protection, we can help you achieve maximum computer system productivity while reducing the burden of your day-to-day IT and cybersecurity management.

Related Posts

What is an MSP?

Image of EJ Phillips
EJ Phillips

A managed service provider (MSP) is an organization that manages a company’s IT infrastructure and...

Read more

Why Small Businesses Choose to work with MSPs

Image of EJ Phillips
EJ Phillips

Improved operational agility and efficiency is one of the many reasons that small businesses choose...

Read more