What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

By Kasey Hewitt

Posted on Jun 17, 2020

As cyber threats increase in sophistication, more resources and personnel are needed to accurately manage an organization’s cybersecurity posture and IT network. This is true for businesses of all sizes, but for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s often a concept easier said than done. This is because they typically have limited resources and in-house capabilities.

For organizations operating without the luxury of a complete IT department, managed service providers (MSPs) can offer the same level of expertise and labor that would be expected of an in-house team. Managing a cybersecurity network is an ongoing process that never ends, and without a dedicated IT department regularly monitoring a network, risks, and liabilities are much more likely to go undetected. MSPs fill this gap by helping security teams meet the demands of a continuously evolving threat landscape.

What is a managed service provider (MSP)?

A managed service provider is an outsourced third-party company that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure on a day-to-day basis. MSPs intend to find opportunities to reduce wasted spend and identify liabilities within a cybersecurity network while maintaining operational efficiencies. Once systems have been evaluated, MSPs then create custom solutions that cater to the organization’s needs and objectives.

Using managed services is a method of staying up-to-date on the latest technology developments and trends. Additionally, MSPs lessen the workload for in-house security teams, allowing those teams to focus on more strategic programs and initiatives that relate to overarching business goals. This enables organizations to stay ahead of the competition by working efficiently and cost-effectively.

Types of services offered by MSPs

Although the work of MSPs is non-customer facing, it can be critical to organizational success. There are managed services available for nearly all facets of a business, including but not limited to IT, payroll, workforce management, human resources, and vendor management. The level of service provided is often dependent on the needs of the organization and typically ranges between higher-level advisory services and hands-on management.

1. Advisory services

With advisory services, advisors work with security teams and provide them with expert advice to help improve their security posture and create an efficient and protected IT network. Rather than providing day-to-day, hands-on assistance, advisors are there to offer ongoing, tailored advice should the organization require support with any strategic initiatives.

2. Managed services

Managed service providers help businesses with day-to-day operations. They’re able to fill staffing gaps in highly-skilled positions with industry experts, relieving strain on internal teams by facilitating existing administrative or complex tasks. Typically, managed service providers take a proactive approach to help organizations avoid cyber-related incidents before they happen.

Benefits of managed services

While an organization’s needs will vary from one to the next, there are many benefits to utilizing a managed service provider:

1. Reduced and predictable costs

Most MSPs require an upfront fee and then charge a flat monthly fee for ongoing management. However, the provider also absorbs the costs associated with running an IT department, such as training, equipment, and personnel. With a lower, predictable monthly cost, businesses can more effectively budget and re-allocate unused resources.

2. Fill the skills gap

Managed service providers have the experience and expertise necessary to help organizations mitigate risk accurately and efficiently. Unlike an in-house IT department, MSPs have the time and available personnel needed to continuously monitor and update the network.

3. Scalability

A managed service provider can scale and accommodate operations as a business grows in order to continuously meet its needs. This frees up in-house security teams to work on initiatives that focus on the organization’s bottom line, rather than having to focus on satisfying every changing need.

How SecurityScorecard Professional Services can help

SecurityScorecard’s Professional Services empower organizations to improve their cybersecurity posture with the help of knowledgeable industry experts. When it comes to improving a network’s security hygiene, deciding where to start can be daunting. With the help of our providers, organizations gain remediation advice that leads to real improvements.

Our Scorecard Manager helps enhance vendor risk management (VRM) programs by filling staffing gaps with VRM experts that continuously monitor your vendors’ Scorecards and promote self-management and education. This allows teams to shift focus to strategic tasks with confidence knowing that their vendor population is being properly managed. Our Atlas Manager accelerates due diligence by taking over the entire questionnaire and remediation process, minimizing wasted time and resources.

Third-party vendors also play a critical role in the efficacy of an IT network, so it’s important that their cybersecurity efforts are monitored and managed as well. Our Professional Services enhance the scale, efficiency, and management of an organization’s third-party risk management program through strategic assistance, tailored to your exact needs. With the ability to fully leverage an organization’s available resources and opportunities, managed service providers enable security teams to accelerate program transformation that scales their impact within the organization.

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