What Is an MSSP?

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Managed security service providers (MSSPs) are information technology companies that provide third-party security-as-a-service solutions to any business that needs to keep its technology systems and data safe (which today is virtually every business). But what is an MSSP, and what are the benefits for a healthcare provider?

MSSPs protect businesses through a combination of IT systems monitoring and management, maintenance, enhancement, policing and recovery. Their role can be as simple as keeping out viruses or as complex as putting up safeguards against coordinated and targeted attacks by groups of malicious hackers.

MSSPs are not to be confused with MSPs (managed services providers), which is a more comprehensive term for businesses that provide a full range of IT support. MSPs often provide their own MSSP offerings, but MSSPs tend to be more focused on the security aspect of IT services.

What Is an MSSP: The Services On Offer

MSSPs’ service offerings tend to include the deployment, configuration, and management of security solutions such as:

  • Intrusion prevention systems (IPS)
  • Web content filtering
  •  Anti-virus and anti-spam software
  • Firewalls
  • Identity access management (IAM)
  • Privileged access management (PAM)
  • Security operations centre (SOC)
  • Vulnerability management

MSSPs might also take a hands-on approach with the likes of:

  • Risk assessment and security gap analysis
  • IT policy development
  • Penetration testing
  • Managed monitoring of security
  • Solution research, scoping, and implementation
  • Security device and systems management


Did You Know Hiring an MSSP Can Reduce Your IT Costs?

You’ll also get scalable services, reduce administrative burden, and gain visibility into your security framework.

Find Out How Much You Can Save

A company or healthcare provider may choose to outsource some or all of its IT security needs to an MSSP. For example, a business may feel confident about doing continuous security monitoring in-house but want to leave intrusion detection and response and threat intelligence up to a team of dedicated third-party MSSP experts.

Using an MSSP is usually a more cost-effective way of protecting your data and network than hiring a full-time in-house cybersecurity team. Rather than hiring staff who will spend most of their time sitting around waiting for something to do, an MSSP will set things up and show up when they’re needed.

An MSSP also comes ready with all the latest cybersecurity technologies and tools, meaning you’ll save on the upfront investment of having to buy a bunch of new software to protect your systems.

Should Your Business Use an MSSP?

What MSSP Is

Source: Wall Street Journal

If you are asking whether or not your business should hire an MSSP, the answer is probably yes.

Taking advantage of the plug-and-play solutions offered by MSSPs is more effective than trying to tackle cybersecurity on your own in virtually every business situation.

In-house IT skills are expensive, hard to come by, and often better used for more active initiatives such as cloud migrations or digital transformation projects.

MSSPs can not only keep your business safe for a reasonable cost but also provide extra value such as:

  • Scaling up security as your business grows
  • Assist with HIPAA compliance and HITRUST certification
  • Recommending the best cybersecurity solutions on the market
  • Alerting you to cyber threats that they have proactively identified

Delving a little deeper, you might want to consider enlisting an MSSP if you have encountered the following:

  1. A Security Breach or Attempted Breach

If a recent risk review or security event has shown deficiencies in your IT setup, it’s time to consider an MSSP. They will be able to offer insightful perspectives on what went wrong and help you make sure it doesn’t happen again. A seasoned MSSP has seen it all before and will bring much-needed calm and expertise to your shaken confidence in cybersecurity.

  1. A Lack of In-house Resources

Do you really want full-time staff whose job is to sit around monitoring IT security feeds? IT teams should be dynamic, focused on value-added projects, and keeping a business on the cutting-edge of technological innovation. MSSPs are an easy way to lift the administrative burden off the IT staff and free them to focus on more impactful work.

  1. A Changing Threat Landscape

It is difficult and expensive to keep an in-house IT team up to date and prepared to tackle the latest security threats and challenges. By focusing only on cybersecurity and operating at scale, MSSPs are uniquely equipped to ensure a business is kept secure with the latest tools and methods.

What MSSP Is Right for Your Business?

Managed security service providers

Now that you know what an MSSP is, there are several things to bear in mind when choosing one:

  • Do they really have the security expertise they say they have? Do your research and due diligence to make sure.
  • Do their cybersecurity services meet the needs of your business? One MSSP may only offer a one-size-fits-all package, while another may be overly specific.
  • Do they have enough trained staff to serve your business? Make sure an MSSP can be on hand 24/7 to respond to needs and emergencies.
  • Do they use the latest security technologies? Being stuck in the past with legacy software tools can spell big trouble.
  • Are they too expensive, or too cheap? You don’t want to pay over the odds, but you don’t want to skimp out on an MSSP that will leave gaps, either.

Consider reading online reviews, speaking to other business owners and IT experts who have used MSSPs, or looking at analyst rankings to determine which MSSPs are worthy of your attention.

You might also want to check with third-party certifications, with the likes of SOC 2 and ISO 270001  (and HIPAA compliance, of course) being a good sign that the MSSP is mature and takes security seriously. Find out how long they have been in business, too.

When you’re ready to engage an MSSP, make sure they understand your business inside and out. This will help them do the best job of plugging any security gaps or recommend areas for improvement. It will also help you decide together which solutions will best suit your business needs.

Once you’ve hashed out the details, be sure to set SLAs (service level agreements). These will keep your MSSP accountable and liable for anything that goes wrong, thus incentivizing them to do the best possible job. Furthermore, make sure you agree on the protocols in the event of a breach or incident.

What MSSP Is Helping Healthcare Providers Meet the Latest Security Standards?

True North is a managed IT and cloud service provider for the healthcare industry, and we have our own dedicated MSSP team. Get in touch today and let’s talk about how to keep your business safe for less.

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