If you’ve been looking for help with your IT, you’ve probably become familiar with the term Managed Service Provider (MSP). But you’ve noticed some businesses seem to call themselves an “MSP” and others are an “MSSP.” What’s the difference, and what does that extra S stand for?


Breaking Down the Acronyms

Gartner defines an MSSP as a provider of outsourced monitoring and management of security devices and systems. Common services include managed firewall, intrusion detection, virtual private network, vulnerability scanning and anti-viral services.

The extra S in MSSP essentially serves to particularize the type of services they offer. Where MSPs stay broad and usually offer a wide range of services (like networking, cloud and data center) MSSPs focus solely on the security aspect of IT.


Which Is the Better Option?

When you’re looking for extra IT help, which is the better route to go down? Some may argue that we’re comparing squares and rectangles. It’s true that there are only a few major differences between the services.



  • Covers a wide range of IT services, such as cloud, networking and data center services.
  • Primarily focuses on keeping your IT operational and efficient.

You should choose an MSP if…

  • You need expertise or help in many areas of IT.
  • You’ve recently experienced downtime, delayed projects, or failed implementations.


  • Specializes in IT security services.
  • Primarily focuses on preventing, detecting and responding to threats in your infrastructure.

You should choose an MSSP if…

  • You are looking for specialized expertise in IT security.
  • You’ve recently experienced a data breach, ransomware attack, or failed an audit.


Is BlackHawk Data an MSP or an MSSP?

BlackHawk Data offers a wide range of IT services. We specialize in security, cloud and collaboration technology, which means we’re an MSP. Our security offerings are equivalent to MSSPs, and we have helped dozens of clients create a more secure and trustworthy IT environment.

If you’re looking for help with your security or you need an expert who can consult on numerous IT topics, we can help. Contact us today to set up a meeting with one of our engineers.


Tags: Managed Services