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The MSP Dilemma

To be adequately protected from cyber-attacks, it is essential to know the delineation of services between a Managed [IT] Services Provider (MSP) and a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP).

As we reach out to companies of all sizes, we are constantly told that companies do not need cyber security services and that their MSP "has their back." In reality, they are putting themselves at risk for cyber breaches that could cripple their business or organization. In parallel, we get several weekly calls from companies that use MSPs asking for assistance to recover from the cyber breaches they assumed their MSP protected them.

Most small-to-midsize businesses utilize a local MSP for their network and hardware support. The MSP's expertise is focused on IT infrastructure, and most do an excellent job. MSPs provide critical services such as help desk services, password resets, server and network updates, and more as their clients' technical environments and requirements constantly change. They do not, however, provide cybersecurity services or tools.

Some MSPs may provide firewall management, but firewalls have become the easiest point of entry for hackers and, therefore, cannot be considered more than the first line of a multilayered defense. Once penetrated, MSPs lack the expertise to react to and remediate intrusions.

While MSPs provide network management, they do not provide Managed Detection and Response (MDR). As they are tasked with maintaining your infrastructure, it would not be to their advantage to tell you what and where your vulnerabilities are, how many you have, and how to remediate them, so they do not offer those services. MSPs do not provide risk analysis for the same reason.

Endpoints have become a growing source of intrusions and need expert cybersecurity management. Endpoint protection software alone is not enough to keep your company safe.

The single most significant cause of successful attacks comes from inside the company.

More than 85% of successful attacks are initiated by well-meaning employees exhibiting poor cybersecurity habits. Employee training is an area that, at worst, is largely ignored or, at best, improperly executed and analyzed. MSPs do not have the expertise or manpower to test and train your employees properly, and few companies secure the proper resources to do it themselves properly.

The solution to these issues is not to eliminate your MSP, but to engage an MSSP. An MSSP can provide a comprehensive set of services designed to reduce cybersecurity risk proactively before the "bad guys" can act. These services include Managed Detection and Response, Continuous Vulnerability Scanning, Penetration Testing, Risk Management, and Continuous Managed Cybersecurity Awareness and Training for employees, all areas your MSP is not equipped to execute.

A premium MSSP will also provide for the integration of data that cybersecurity tools generate and provide analysis and insights as to what this integrated data means. To be properly informed of the cyber risks your company faces, companies need to integrate the data that comes from the deployed cybersecurity tools into one data location for experienced cybersecurity experts to analyze and identify potential risks. This area of expertise is the domain of the MSSP.

In summary, understanding the services, expertise, and focus of an MSP and an MSSP is crucial to ensuring you are appropriately protected.

Integrated Cyber's sole purpose is to protect organizations like yours from cyber predators. Our proactive, human-centered approach to cybersecurity reduces risk, finds the gaps in your defenses, and helps you to close those gaps. Learn more at .


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Mar 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Mar 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Good insight. I need to talk with my MSP.

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