More MSPs are Becoming MSSPs; Which Should You Choose?  


For security leaders, the cybersecurity of your business and the data of your customers is of the utmost importance. You know that it is critical to work with security service providers you can trust. But with MSPs making changes to their service offerings and aligning more closely with MSSPs it can be difficult to know which provider to choose.  

Today, it is harder than ever to understand the difference between MSPs and MSSPs. And with all the options available it is even harder to select the right service provider for you. In this post, we will go through the differences between MSPs and MSSPs, why many MSPs are becoming MSSPs and how to select the right Managed Security Service Partner for you.  

Let’s look at the difference between these two commonly confused service tools. 

What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

Defined by Gartner, a Managed Service Provider or MSP “delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customers’ premises, in their MSP’s data center, or in a third-party data center.”  

Essentially, they are a third-party business that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and end-user systems. Often, businesses outsource their complex, time-consuming or repetitive work involved in the management of IT infrastructure.  

MSPs typically offer the following services: 

  • IT infrastructure management, 
  • Technical support, 
  • Data backup, 
  • Software implementation, 
  • manage user access accounts,  
  • contract management,  
  • Compliance and risk management, 
  • Data analysis and reporting, 
  • Payroll services. 

What is a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)?

An MSP ensures your IT systems are up-to-date and operational, but an MSSP offers end-to-end security as a service. MSSPs align your people, processes and technology to ensure your people and systems are safe, secure and compliant. MSSPs augment your internal security teams’ monitoring and management operations for security devices and systems.

The key differentiator is that MSSPs have a Security Operations Center (SOC). This expert team protects the organization 24/7/365 by proactively monitoring, detecting and analyzing data, and providing incident response and recovery. It ensures the ability of organizations to operate securely, at all times. MSSPs include an arsenal of security solutions to maintain a strong security posture.  

MSSPs typically offer the following services:

When you partner with an MSSP their expertise is now your expertise. You get peace of mind that your business is safe and reduce the burden on your teams with comprehensive security help.

Why many MSPs are becoming MSSPs 

If you are currently working with an MSP or have worked with one in the past, you may have noticed that your provider is changing to an MSSP model. While some companies genuinely put in the effort to complete the security requirements necessary to be an MSSP, many purchase security operations software without fully understanding how to utilize the technology.  

The reason? Since COVID-19, there has been a clear spike in demand for more aggressive security services. MSPs see purchasing security technology as an easy way to scale their business within this new found “green zone”.  

Unfortunately, this means that while the MSP now has the tools and technology to support your security operations program, they likely do not that the expertise to use them properly or manage them in a way that can provide useful business information to support individual goals.  

MSPs and MSSPs are fundamentally different services, and it takes more than just purchasing tools and technology to make the change from one to the other. When selecting a security service provider, you want one with tenure and proven outcome-driven services, so you can see success. 

Which Should You Choose?  

Your Security Partner must be able to help you detect and mitigate threats and meet regulatory requirements, while also helping you control costs through consolidation and automation. 

Most vendors will claim to have these capabilities, regardless of their actual level of competence, so how should you differentiate them from other vendors? 

Securing your environment is the first step to consider. Many providers will offer a variety of security services, but vendors will differ in their competencies, certifications, partnership levels, and overall approach.   

Below are three questions you can use to verify the capabilities of your MSSP:  

  1. What industry certifications do you maintain? 

Industry certifications have become mandatory for security service providers but be sure to do your due diligence. Make sure the provider has earned key certifications, such as PCI DSS, SOC 2 Type II, and ISO 27001. The US-based CMMC framework is another certification that service providers should have within their roadmap. 

  1. Are you looking for a dedicated technology vendor such as Microsoft or do you support multiple security technologies? 

Strong Microsoft Security partners will focus their time and energy on the applications, infrastructure, cloud services, and other digital assets within the Microsoft Security environment. This way you get the provide protections designed to fully leverage Microsoft services and your licensing capabilities, from the endpoint to the cloud to IoT and beyond. On the other hand, vendors who support multi-technology services are less likely to support a well-integrated cost-effective delivery model. Look for a partner that is focused on a technology you trust, so that you can take advantage of everything they offer, maximize your investment and properly secure your environment and data. 

  1. What type of reporting do you offer and how much visibility will you have?

Don’t just trust: verify. Effective MSSPs provide customized reports and CMDB so you get the most visibility possible of your security environment. Plus, regular reporting shows you how secure and compliant your security network really is and how well your MSSP is protecting it.

Our Difenda Shield platform is designed to provide customers with a streamlined ‘SecOps-as-a-Service’ experience through highly automated and orchestrated processes based on proprietary integrations with Microsoft 365 services and other supporting industry-leading security technologies. It’s a single pane of glass where you get real-time data from your entire security network.

Want more? Download our Security Service Provider Guides to ensure your pick the best vendor for your business.

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon