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What is an MSSP and how does it help SMBs?

Mai 18, 2023 - 5 Lesezeit: Min

Cybersecurity is an essential part of modern business operations. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, how many customers you serve, or what products or services you sell. Everyone needs to be protected.

But not every business can afford the software, manpower, and expertise required to adequately shield an organization and its customers from cyberthreats. It requires a significant investment that small and medium-sized businesses have difficulty shouldering on their own.

That doesn’t mean these companies are without options. There are ways for businesses to employ effective cybersecurity protection relative to what they can afford. One of the most practical and popular options is leveraging a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP). With an MSSP, a small business can improve its cybersecurity posture and protect its data against cyberthreats within its budget.  


What is an MSSP?

An MSSP is a partner that provides a range of managed security services to organizations in order to help protect digital assets from cyberattacks, data breaches, and other security threats. MSSPs play a crucial role in helping organizations ensure the safety of its business operations in today’s constantly-evolving threat landscape. 


Why should a business use an MSSP?

MSSPs address this security gap. MSSPs have specialized expertise in cybersecurity and have access to the latest tools and technologies to protect against potential bad actors and mitigate online security risks. An MSSP can analyze an organization’s infrastructure for potential vulnerabilities and reduce them through the use of software, policies, and employee awareness training. 

The MSSP essentially becomes an extension of the customer’s IT department. They are a trusted advisor that recommends, manages, and supports efforts to protect facilities, equipment, and data from digital threats. 

Because of this, MSSPs are becoming increasingly popular among small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)—although large enterprises employ them, too. According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, “SMEs tend to delegate responsibility for their digital security either explicitly or implicitly to external third parties.” This reduces the burden on in-house IT teams, improves the effectiveness of security measures, and provides a more cost-effective solution for managing security. 


What are the benefits of using an MSSP?

Businesses of any size can benefit from leveraging an MSSP, but some examples of how SMBs in particular can take full advantage of an MSSP are:

Access to expertise

Smaller or newer businesses often lack the in-house expertise necessary to manage and maintain comprehensive cyberthreat protection, data protection, and more. An MSSP provides access to a team of cybersecurity experts who can offer guidance and implement best practices to protect sensitive information and defend against hacking attempts. 


A well-equipped and properly staffed IT security team can be expensive and out of reach for an SMB. SMBs are not typically equipped to hire the staff necessary to implement the software, monitor for active threats, and respond to incidents. On the other hand, hiring an MSSP gives the business access to enterprise-level security services and experienced Security Operations Center (SOC) capabilities at a fraction of the cost of hiring and equipping a full-time cybersecurity team.


As SMBs grow, their security needs change. Limited IT staff need to research which software and hardware tools to purchase, which can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. An MSSP can provide best practices and scalable security solutions to meet their evolving needs.

Compliance management

Many SMBs are subject to industry-specific regulations and standards, such as HIPAA or PCI-DSS. An MSSP can help ensure that the business is compliant with these regulations by providing regular audits, risk assessments, and reporting.


What kind of services do MSSPs provide?

MSSPs work with organizations to assess their security requirements and develop customized solutions to meet those needs. Typically, MSSPs use a combination of technology, processes, and human expertise to serve customers.

MSSPs offer a range of services, which can include vulnerability assessments, risk management, as well as management and support for different zero trust or network security solutions. 

According to OECD, “SMEs that can demonstrate that they implement best practices to manage digital security risk can raise their business profile by increasing security within their supply chains.” MSSPs are available to support SMB customers across the globe and some of the most common MSSP services include:

Security Monitoring and Threat Detection

MSSPs offer 24/7 security monitoring, which helps businesses proactively identify security threats and risks. They use various tools and technologies to monitor network traffic, log files, and other security data. 

Incident Response

When an MSSP provides incident response services, they are helping businesses respond to security incidents such as data breaches or cyberattacks. This involves developing incident response plans, conducting investigations, and providing guidance on remediation and recovery.

Vendor-Managed Services

If a business is using vendor solutions such as endpoint protection, cloud security, network security, zero trust, or vulnerability management, then an MSSP can help deploy, manage, and support these solutions. If the business doesn’t currently leverage any of these services, the MSSP can assist in evaluating and sourcing them.

The MSSP provides full lifecycle support, which helps provide increased value for both customers and their vendor partners.


What value does Zscaler provide?

Zscaler partners with MSSPs offer managed security solutions to our joint customers. Our vendors and customers benefit especially from our:

Cloud-native architecture

Zscaler offers the world’s largest cloud-native security architecture, which provides fast and reliable security services. The cloud-based architecture means it can scale up or down to meet the needs of its partner MSSPs and joint customers. 

This makes it a good fit for both small and large organizations that require flexible and scalable security solutions. It also eliminates the need for multiple on-premises security appliances, which can be costly and time-consuming to manage.

Comprehensive user security

Zscaler offers a comprehensive suite of security services for users, including access control, cyberthreat protection, data protection, digital experience monitoring, and zero trust. 

Zscaler for Users equips the modern distributed workforce to be productive and secure from anywhere. Zscaler's Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution provides secure access to applications and services, without exposing them to the internet. This reduces the risk of cyberthreats and provides better visibility and control over user access, while enabling employees to work effectively from anywhere in the world.


For more information on Managed Security Services Providers and how Zscaler partners with them, reach out to us at [email protected].

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