What Kind of Relationship Should You Have With Your MSSP?

Andrew Douthwaite

July 3, 2019

Last updated September 27, 2022


  • MSSP stands for managed security services provider. These third-party organizations provide ongoing IT and cybersecurity services for organizations.
  • Many MSSPs provide their own in-house products—but these do not always support the diverse needs of the businesses who depend on them.
  • The best MSSPs offer various services that can be customized for your organization’s specific requirements—such as endpoint protection, firewalls, and threat intelligence.
  • Strong MSSPs also demonstrate respect for your organization—they’ll onboard you quickly, be open and up-front with you about their work, and adapt to your needs as they change.
  • MSSPs should always stay up to date with current industry trends and threats. You shouldn’t have to manage or motivate them—their job is to give you more time and peace of mind to focus on your business operations.

There are a lot of Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) out there, but like all industries, not every company maintains the same high standards. Finding the right MSSP to meet your organization’s unique needs can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

To help you choose the right MSSP for your company, here are a few things you should consider during the selection process.

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Your MSSP Needs to Adapt to Your Needs, Not the Other Way Around

Your MSSP Should Be Well Rounded

As an organization, you want to remain competitive. That means that you need to be able to seamlessly incorporate and utilize new, cutting edge technology and rest assured that your MSSP can monitor and secure whatever new technology you throw at them.

Unfortunately, too many MSSPs are not only unable (or unwilling) to support new products, they often create their own in-house, one-size-fits-all version that they are only too happy to sell you, regardless of what your actual needs are. That means that you either need to switch to their product or figure out how you are going to integrate the new product properly and keep your data and systems secure on your own.

A true partner will embrace the new technology you adopt, integrating it smoothly into your existing infrastructure and using it to find modern threats so they can take a proactive approach to your cybersecurity.
To help you choose a MSSP that is willing to adapt to your needs, not expect you to adapt to theirs, you should look for companies that require minimal additional software, no additional hardware, and only simple configuration changes in order to provide you with cybersecurity monitoring.

A great MSSP will not require you to purchase additional products in order to get any value out of their service and work to integrate the cybersecurity technologies you are already using instead of insisting you change over to their in-house solutions.

Your MSSP Should be Well Rounded

Threat Lifecycle

A great MSSP offers a variety of services that can be tailored to meet your unique needs. A good cybersecurity strategy is a comprehensive strategy that covers all of your bases, including managed endpoint protection, firewall security, managed threat intelligence, cloud security, and identity and access management.

Cybercriminals will exploit any cracks they can find in your defenses, so it is up to your MSSP to identify those cracks and help you create robust yet flexible solutions to safeguard your organization’s digital assets.

VirtualArmour is an exclusive firm that focuses on a handful of services, which ensures that we only offer services we have honed to perfection.

Your MSSP Should Value Your Time

You have a business to run, so you don’t have time to waste on long, unnecessary convoluted onboarding processes. You need an MSSP that can prove themselves valuable as soon as they have access to your digital assets. A short, streamlined onboarding process ensures that you don’t spend weeks or even months paying for a service that you can’t actually benefit from yet.

You should choose an MSSP that values your time and wants to begin safeguarding your digital assets as soon as possible.

Your MSSP Should Be Committed to Transparency & Ongoing Assistance

Your MSSP Shouldn't Require Management

Even the most advanced and robust cybersecurity solution is only useful if your employees know what role they play in the broader cybersecurity ecosystem and have the appropriate training. A good MSSP will provide you with solutions; a great MSSP will walk you through the process and provide ongoing training and support to ensure your tailored solutions are implemented effectively and can adapt as your needs change.

Your MSSP should work with you to create comprehensive strategies to suit your organization’s unique needs and educate your employees on their role in safeguarding your company’s digital assets. That training should include how to avoid falling for phishing scams, ransomware or DNS spoofing and who they should report suspicious activity to. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses, and improperly trained employees are becoming their unwitting allies.

Tabletop scenarios and pen (penetration) tests are also great ways to stress test your defenses and ensure that your organization, and its employees, are prepared to deal with potential threats. A tabletop scenario is like a fire drill and allows your team to respond to a hypothetical cybersecurity threat in a no-stakes environment and then analyze your response and look for ways to improve it.

A pen test involves hiring an ethical hacker to look for ways to break through your cybersecurity defenses, document any vulnerabilities they find, and let you know how they were able to exploit those vulnerabilities to gain access to proprietary data and private systems so that you can improve your defenses.

Your MSSP Needs to Stay Ahead of the Curve

You are relying on your MSSP to safeguard your digital assets from cyber threats, so it is imperative that your MSSP stay up to date on what those threats are. Your MSSP should offer managed threat intelligence, which ensures that your network is monitored 24/7/365 and alerts you to potential threats in real time.

A great MSSP will also sandbox threats in real time, allowing them to validate threats in a separate, secure environment and will enable them to disrupt threats at their origin and innoculate your organization, and all of their other clients, against threats before they can cause damage or disruption.

Your MSSP should also be continually adapting and evolving to ensure they are able to secure your digital assets against new threats.

Your MSSP Should Not Require Management

Your MSSP should not require you to go through their team of specialized services professionals just to understand what is going on. Instead, a great MSSP will streamline alerts and other cybersecurity tasks that require attention and allow you and your team to focus on your business instead of putting out fires and managing your MSSP. Your MSSP should reduce the amount of time, energy, and people power your company is currently dedicating to security operations related tasks, not increase it.

As a business owner, you want to ensure that the solutions and products you invest in are providing you with real value and a solid ROI. This can only happen if you choose a MSSP that:

  • Provides services that are easy to set up and use.
  • Offers 24/7/365 monitoring of threats so that you can rest assured that they are keeping a watchful eye on things and crafting solutions to viable threats.
  • Is willing to work with you to create tailored and flexible solutions to suit your needs, workflow, and goals.
  • Offers transparency into what they are doing and how it will help improve your organization’s cybersecurity solutions and protocols.
  • Provides concrete and ongoing support and training so that you and your team can help safeguard your company’s digital assets effectively.
  • Will help you minimize damage, rebound quickly, and shore up your defenses should a cybersecurity incident occur.

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