A man sitting in front of a laptop wearing a confused look on his face with his hand up. Over his hand are the words, "MSP vs. MSSP: What's the Difference?"

MSP vs. MSSP: What’s the Difference?

Administering your company’s technological infrastructure can be challenging and time-consuming. Since established businesses tend to focus on products, services, or business-critical projects, they may lack the technical expertise to effectively manage their data. As a result, companies often choose to outsource their IT work to a third-party vendor, such as an MSP vs. MSSP. However, many people don’t know whether to work with an MSP (managed service provider) or an MSSP (managed security service provider.) When they encounter these acronyms, they often wonder: Do the services differ in any way, and if so, which one works best for me?

In this article, we’ll break down the difference between an MSP vs. MSSP, and how they can each support your business goals.

What’s an MSP?

An MSP provides external support to companies that want to delegate their IT business processes and functions to an external, specialized provider. They can become an extension of the organization; the equivalent of an external department.

The MSP takes on the responsibility of managing a company’s infrastructure. They provide holistic technological support, both in managing a company’s backend, daily operations and also advising on strategic, large-scale decisions. Most MSPs operate on a subscription-based model. 

Common MSP Services

An MSP will coordinate your technological operations, including engaging in performance monitoring, as well as data backup, updates, and patches. They can offer a Service Desk option, providing a communication centre to address incident management. 

An MSP might also provide IT consulting services, such as overseeing a planned technology refresh, establishing new generation networks, or implementing new collaboration methods. An MSP can also help with IT procurement, supporting your company with your software and licensing needs. They may also organize your business’ personal systems and devices or support your company with your virtualization efforts. In practice, there are security elements that are provided within the services of an MSP, like antivirus, spam filtering, end-point detection and response (EDR), and domain name system (DNS) filtering. These form a security barrier, which, while effective, can always be made stronger.

What’s an MSSP?

An MSSP provides companies with higher-level support in managing their system security and data security. MSSPs have a specific focus to protect your organization from cybersecurity threats, typically providing specific security monitoring and management services through a security operation centre (SOC). 

Common MSSP Services

An MSSP can support your business in endpoint protection while performing regular risk assessments and monitoring for threats and system intrusions. The MSSP also proactively engages in vulnerability scanning and penetration testing, in order to strengthen your system and reduce risk. 

Additionally, you can also work with an MSSP to maintain your standards compliance. At a more elemental level of services, there can be overlap with those offered by MSPs, such as VPN management, firewall management, or patch management, among other key security services.  

How Do They Differ?

While an MSP focuses on providing general IT support and administering a business’ technological infrastructure, an MSSP specifically provides sophisticated cybersecurity support. 

Ultimately, an MSP focuses more on performance, whereas an MSSP focuses on protection. While some MSPs do provide cybersecurity support, MSSPs typically offer more advanced protection.

Additionally, though most MSSPs use a security operations centre, an MSP will typically use a network operations center (NOC). The NOC focuses more on network issues, rather than cybersecurity threats.

MSP and MSSP Benefits


If your business doesn’t have the bandwidth to build an internal IT department, an MSP offers a centralized and affordable option. By relying on an MSP’s expertise, your business can focus on more mission-critical priorities with the peace of mind that a skilled team is managing your technological needs.

You will avoid wasting resources and reduce issues when hiring and onboarding. An MSP will streamline and optimize your workload while modernizing your technology and meeting industry best practices. You can achieve your goals more quickly, improving your business’ long-term viability and growth. Your IT costs will also remain more predictable, while you both increase your revenue and save money. 


Every business wants to avoid costly disasters while keeping its operations running smoothly and securely. With an MSSP, you adopt a more proactive and aggressive IT security strategy.

An MSSP reduces your risk, keeps your data safe, and prevents incidents from occurring through strategic monitoring and planning. This reliable service will help protect your company’s reputation and can boost your customer retention, as you can better maintain their trust and loyalty. An MSSP will also ensure your company remains compliant with regulations, avoiding the stress of dealing with legal issues.

Which is Best for Your Business?

An MSP can be a better choice if your business is looking for support in managing daily technology needs. On the other hand, your business may wish to partner with an MSSP if you need specific support around data protection and seek high-level cybersecurity services. The right provider will also depend on whether your business has an internal IT department and their specific skillset. Ultimately, both an MSP and an MSSP offer different services, so working with both providers simultaneously can get you the most effective results.

Get the Best of Both Worlds

Your business can benefit from hiring both an MSP and an MSSP. That way, you can meet all of your technology needs, from day-to-day administration to advanced data protection.

At PC Corp, we operate as an MSP, providing a wide variety of Managed IT Services to support our clients. However, we partner with MSSP organizations to ensure our clients receive the services and coverage they need. Our team makes IT easy, allowing your business to run more efficiently. Connect with us to learn more about the benefits.

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