What Is a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP)?

Managed Security Services Providers (MSSP) are third-party providers specializing in information security. The services of an MSSP are used to monitor and manage the IT security of companies. By using an MSSP, organizations are able to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of systems, networks and data without having to invest in their own hardware and software or additional workforce.

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Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP): A Definition

Managed Security Services (MSS) are information security services provided by specialized third-party providers or MSSPs (Managed Security Service Providers). These services are designed to monitor and manage a company's IT security functions.


With an increasingly complex IT landscape, using a managed security services provider is a cost-effective option for organizations across all industries to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of systems, networks and data.



What Does a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) Do?

An MSSP offers companies outsourced information security functionalities as a service. Depending on the provider, different managed security services are available to choose from. In addition to managed firewalls, DDoS protection mechanisms and bot management, the most common security services include intrusion detection solutions (IDS), VPNs, client services for vulnerability scans and virus protection services as well as SIEM solutions (Security Information and Event Management) or SOC as a Service (Security Operations Center as a service).

In all cases, MSSPs provide, operate and maintain the booked services for the customer. Typically, no additional hardware or software investment is required on the customer's side - the configuration of the managed security services is also handled by the provider, usually in close consultation with the customer.


What Types of Managed Security Services Are There?

As the complexity and frequency of cyberattacks increases, so does the scope of managed protection services that address new attack vectors. In this section, you will learn about a selection of the most common types of MSS:

Network Security

Network Security services include solutions for the management and monitoring of firewalls, scrubbing systems, IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and other network security components. They help companies to protect their networks from cyber attacks.

Application Security

Application security services include protection solutions that ensure the security and availability of web applications, online services and web interfaces (APIs). The services support organizations in fending off various types of attacks such as DDoS attacks, attacks on databases or user accounts.

Endpoint Security

Endpoint security services ensure the protection of end devices such as computers and mobile devices. They help companies to protect their endpoints against malware and other security threats.

Cloud security

Cloud-based security services are solutions for securing cloud-based applications and the data backed up there. MSSs from this area help companies to protect their cloud resources from security threats.

Network connections


How Do Managed Security Services Work?

MSSPs typically offer their solutions as a cloud-based service. The underlying operation differs depending on the type of service and the scope of service booked. The majority of all security events can be processed automatically by MSS without human intervention. The more complex the attack methods become, the more likely it is that the expertise of experienced IT security specialists will be relied upon for defense. They ensure the operation of the MSS for customers in a specially designed Security Operations Center (SOC). The SOC is staffed around the clock to monitor and respond to security incidents in real time. This allows potential vulnerabilities in the customer's systems to be proactively identified and closed. The experts in the SOC also initiate the necessary countermeasures in the event of cyberattacks.


What Advantages Do Managed Security Service Providers Offer?

Cost Efficiency

By outsourcing their IT security functions to MSSPs, companies can save significant costs by not having to invest in building and maintaining their own SOCs. Through economies of scale and a high degree of specialization, MSSPs can deliver high-quality security services at a cost that would not be feasible in-house.

Greater Flexibility & Scalability

Organizations' information security needs change dynamically. New clients and applications are deployed, legacy solutions are retired, and the number of customers, partners, and associated service providers is constantly changing. MSS can be quickly and easily adapted and scaled to meet new needs.

High standard of protection

For MSSPs, securing systems and networks is part of their day-to-day business – protection service providers can focus on cyber security, whereas organizations from other sectors can only do so marginally. As a result, MSSPs generally have in-depth IT security expertise as well as the necessary tools and hardware to efficiently protect customer systems from attacks. Common certifications and audits such as BSI ISO 27001 based on IT-Grundschutz or BSI C5 are an expression of this expertise. MSSPs can also demonstrate their know how through regular pentesting.

Compliance Expertise

MSSPs can help organizations meet applicable regulatory and compliance requirements. Specialized service providers have the industry experience, certifications, and audits needed to meet regulatory requirements in a timely manner.

Rapid Deployment

MSSP protection services can typically be deployed without the need for additional software or hardware. Service providers also handle configuration, operation, and maintenance. This significantly reduces deployment time compared to in-house solutions, especially in light of the ongoing IT skills shortage.


What Are the Risks of Using an MSSP?

Data Protection and Confidentiality

When using managed security services, companies must ensure that their data is protected and treated confidentially. In particular, security services that analyze and process data in plain text must be carefully examined in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In most cases, the use of providers from the European Economic Area (EEA) is preferable from a GDPR compliance perspective, as no adequacy decision by the EU Commission is required for the processing of data – in the past, for example, the adequacy decision for the transfer of data to the US has been repeatedly overturned by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Vendor Lock-in

Vendor lock-in describes the effect when providers offer a service that only works reliably within their own ecosystem, but causes problems when switching to other providers. Such effects can be prevented by supporting open-source standards instead of proprietary solutions.


MSSP: What You Need to Know

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) are professional providers of information security services for clients, networks and the cloud. As a rule, MSSPs offer their protection services on a subscription basis via the cloud. This means that no additional investment in software and hardware is required on the part of the customer. The service provider also takes care of configuration, maintenance and operation. As these hurdles are eliminated, the provision of the required security services by an MSSP is much faster than with a comparable in-house solution.


By specializing in cybersecurity, MSSPs can cost-effectively provide a high level of security that would usually not be feasible or affordable for customers to provide in-house. Furthermore, MSS can be more easily adapted to new requirements and scaled as needed.


Managed Security Service Providers help organizations to adhere to strict compliance and regulatory guidelines with certified solutions and audited processes.


When selecting the right provider, organizations should consider not only the scope of services and price, but also industry experience. Specialized providers can respond better to the individual needs of companies and often also offer ready-made contracts that address the legal requirements of specific sectors in compliance with the law.

FAQ on Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP)