The perpetually evolving cybersecurity ecosystem demands innovative approaches to protect sensitive data and infrastructure. As these demands become increasingly complex, many organisations are turning to Managed Security Services (MSS) to bolster their defences. This approach offers a comprehensive and proactive solution to safeguarding sensitive data, infrastructure, and digital assets.

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What Is a Managed Security Service (MSS)?

Managed Security Service (MSS) is a systematic approach to handling an organisation’s security needs by outsourcing managing and monitoring security systems and devices to expert third-party providers. These providers, known as Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs), offer a wide range of security services that can include:

  • Overseeing intrusion detection systems (IDS) and firewalls
  • Monitoring patch management and upgrades
  • Performing security assessments and audits
  • Responding to emergencies and taking action to resolve security incidents

In essence, MSS is an extension of a company’s IT department, providing specialised security expertise and resources that many organisations may not have in-house. This service model allows businesses to leverage cutting-edge security technologies and practices without needing significant upfront investments in hardware, software, or personnel.

By partnering with an MSSP, companies can enhance their security posture, stay ahead of emerging threats, and focus on their core business activities while leaving the complex task of cybersecurity management to the experts. This approach not only improves overall security but also helps organisations meet compliance requirements and adapt to the ever-changing threat landscape more effectively.

Importance of Managed Security Services

Managed Security Services (MSS) have become a cornerstone for organisations aiming to fortify their cybersecurity posture. The increasing complexity and frequency of cyber threats, coupled with the high costs associated with data breaches, make MSS an essential component of modern business strategy. Here are some compelling reasons why MSS is crucial:

  • Increasing number of adversaries: The CrowdStrike 2023 Global Threat Report identified over 200 active adversaries targeting organisations worldwide. Notably, there was a 583% increase in Kerberoasting attacks and a threefold rise in adversaries’ use of legitimate remote monitoring and management tools.
  • Cost of data breaches: IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report highlighted the average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million globally. In the US, the average escalated to $9.44 million. These substantial costs can severely impact an organisation’s financial health and operational stability.
  • Rise of remote working: The shift to remote work has expanded the attack surface, making it more challenging to secure endpoints and networks. MSSPs provide continuous monitoring and management, ensuring that remote work environments remain secure.
  • Cybersecurity skills gap: There’s a growing shortage of talented cybersecurity professionals. MSSPs bridge this gap by offering access to a pool of experts who can manage and respond to threats effectively, allowing internal IT teams to focus on core business functions.
  • Regulatory compliance: MSSPs help organisations navigate complex regulatory landscapes by ensuring compliance with relevant laws and standards. This includes managing documentation and reporting requirements, which can be particularly burdensome for understaffed security teams.
  • Alert fatigue and efficiency: Security tools can generate millions of alerts monthly, many of which are false positives. MSSPs streamline this process by providing actionable intelligence and reducing alert fatigue, thereby enhancing the efficiency of security operations.

By leveraging MSS, organisations can not only protect their digital assets more effectively but also achieve cost savings, improve compliance, and maintain a robust security posture in an increasingly hostile cyber environment.

Benefits of Managed Security Services

Managed Security Services offer a wide array of advantages that can significantly enhance an organisation’s cybersecurity posture. Here’s a concise list of key benefits:

  • 24/7 monitoring and response: Round-the-clock surveillance and rapid incident response, ensuring continuous protection against threats.
  • Access to expert knowledge: Leverage the expertise of seasoned cybersecurity professionals without the need to hire and train in-house specialists.
  • Advanced threat intelligence: Benefit from up-to-date information on emerging threats and attack vectors, allowing for proactive defense strategies.
  • Scalable security solutions: Easily adapt security measures to match business growth or changing needs without significant infrastructure investments.
  • Cost-effective protection: Reduce overall security expenses by eliminating the need for extensive in-house security teams and infrastructure.
  • Compliance management: Ensure adherence to industry regulations and standards, simplifying the complex landscape of compliance requirements.
  • Optimised security tools: Access to cutting-edge security technologies and tools without the burden of purchasing and maintaining them internally.
  • Enhanced focus on core business: Free up internal IT resources to concentrate on strategic business initiatives rather than day-to-day security operations.
  • Improved incident response time: Benefit from faster detection and resolution of security incidents, minimising potential damage and downtime.
  • Regular security assessments: Receive ongoing evaluations of your security posture, identifying vulnerabilities and areas for improvement.

By partnering with an MSSP, organisations can harness these benefits to create a robust, adaptive, and cost-effective security strategy that evolves with the threat landscape.

Types of Managed Security Services

Working with an industry-leading MSSP like Proofpoint opens the door to a comprehensive suite of managed security services designed to address various aspects of cybersecurity. Here’s an overview of the types of services you can expect:

  • Managed Email Threat Protection: This service optimises email security products like Email Protection, Targeted Attack Protection (TAP), and Threat Response Auto-Pull (TRAP). It provides proactive expertise, ensures operational consistency, and delivers executive insights to enhance protection against advanced email threats.
  • Managed Security Awareness: This service focuses on changing user behaviour through tailored security awareness programmes. It includes phishing simulations, learning assessments, and culture evaluations to reduce employee risk and align with organisational objectives.
  • Threat Intelligence Services: These services provide actionable intelligence on emerging threats, helping organisations stay ahead of potential attacks and adapt their security strategies accordingly.
  • People-Centric Security Program: This programme takes a holistic approach to security, focusing on protecting individuals within an organisation as they are often the primary targets of cyber-attacks.
  • Managed Information Protection: This service helps organisations safeguard sensitive data across various platforms and channels, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Technical Account Managers: These dedicated professionals provide strategic guidance and technical expertise to help organisations maximise their Proofpoint investments.
  • Email Fraud Defense Services: This offering protects organisations from sophisticated email fraud attempts, including business email compromise (BEC) and other targeted attacks.
  • Recurring Consultative Services: These services provide ongoing expert advice and support to help organisations continuously improve their security posture.
  • Insider Threat Management Services: This service helps organisations detect, investigate, and prevent insider threats, protecting against both malicious and accidental insider risks.
  • Managed Abuse Mailbox: This service helps organisations efficiently manage and respond to reported email abuse, improving overall email security and reducing the burden on internal IT teams.

Each of these services is designed to address specific cybersecurity challenges, providing organisations with expert support and advanced tools to enhance their overall security posture. By leveraging these managed services, businesses can benefit from extensive experience and cutting-edge technologies without the need to build and maintain these capabilities in-house.

Why Use an MSSP?

An MSSP is a third-party provider that manages a company’s day-to-day security operations. Whereas a standard managed service provider (MSP) manages infrastructure, email, and general cloud services, an MSSP manages security. MSSPs typically specialise in cybersecurity to provide strategies and monitoring around protecting corporate data.

While on-site security staff may be expensive, any business environment must have some type of security infrastructure. Whether you have 5 or 500 users, you need security to protect your data. New cyber threats emerge daily, so it’s not enough to add cybersecurity infrastructure and not maintain it. An MSSP updates and adds new controls as your business grows and new threats are introduced in the wild.

In most MSSPs, several people work together to review the cybersecurity landscape and research the latest in cybersecurity threats and best practices. Businesses in specific industries must stay compliant with regulations (e.g., HIPAA or PCI-DSS) so an MSSP can identify where the corporation could be violating regulations and define a plan to bring the environment to compliance.

With on-site staff, your organisation requires people to monitor your environment all day and night. An MSSP works as a team to fully monitor the entire environment and take necessary steps to stop a cyber-attack, regardless of the time of day. They have full-time staff available globally or during off-peak business hours. A quick response is necessary to minimise damage after a compromise and limit the amount of downtime.

What Is an MSSP Used For?

A business engaging an MSSP receives customised strategies for its particular environment. Every business has its own infrastructure setup, so the MSSP reviews current infrastructure, security controls, user training, and any other environment variable that could affect the organisation’s security.

Businesses mainly use MSSPs for security, but there’s also some infrastructure support. Cybersecurity infrastructure integrates with cloud and on-premises hardware, so the MSSP often helps configure and support standard IT equipment to ensure the organisation’s infrastructure is fully supported. The MSSP might be the organisation’s sole IT support or it may partner with the organisation’s IT people to protect data.

Every MSSP has its own offerings, but most offer standard services. As you search for the right MSSP, look for one that offers:

  • 24/7 monitoring and intrusion detection and prevention
  • Web content filtering
  • User management and identity management
  • Access controls
  • Security scanning against the infrastructure to detect vulnerabilities
  • Patch management to stop vulnerabilities in outdated software

Large organisations also use MSSPs for cloud support. As more people work from home, enterprise businesses move their infrastructure to the cloud. An MSSP secures the cloud environment by implementing security controls, user management, backups, configurations, and other necessary support for cloud migration.


Many offerings overlap with an MSP and an MSSP, but MSSP focuses mainly on cybersecurity. An MSP also helps migrate your services to the cloud and manage email and cloud infrastructure but doesn’t focus on cybersecurity. While cybersecurity controls are part of an MSP offering, they may be insufficient to protect data stored on cloud resources.

Benefits of an MSSP

Aside from lowering your staff costs, an MSSP has several other benefits. The main benefit is getting an entire staff of cybersecurity experts and professionals specialising in protecting your data. They allow administrators to focus on growing the business and working with users to improve IT resources to better support scale.

Both small businesses and large enterprises can benefit from MSSP services. A key offering provided by MSSPs is the timely management of firmware and software updates, including the rapid deployment of security patches. This ensures organisations maintain robust protection against known security vulnerabilities. Most MSSPs handle these critical updates as part of their standard service, freeing up the administrative overhead displaced on internal IT teams while enabling organisations to maintain a resilient security standing.

Another primary advantage involves how resources are managed when utilising MSSPs, as most provides host IT resources in the cloud which lowers IT costs. An MSSP migrates costly infrastructure to the cloud and manages it at a fraction of the cost. Using the cloud also benefits organisations where remote workers access business data. The cloud offers advanced technology that’s too expensive to host on-premises, so the organisation benefits from newer technologies without the cost of real estate and staff to install it.

How to Select an MSSP Vendor?

The best MSSP vendor for your business will evaluate your current infrastructure and customise a plan to improve your security. Look for an MSSP with a long history of success and staff that can answer questions. Some MSSPs offer security awareness training programmes for business employees, and training can be helpful for organisations with little cybersecurity knowledge.

If your business must follow compliance standards, find an MSSP with compliance expertise to identify vulnerabilities associated with non-compliance. One slip-up and your organisation could pay millions in fines for non-compliance issues. An MSSP will ensure that your organisation is covered.

How Proofpoint Can Help

Proofpoint was recognised as one of the top MSSP tool providers for monitoring, modelling, and micro-segmentation. Proofpoint can help MSSPs, MSPs, and businesses with monitoring and necessary cybersecurity infrastructure to protect data and allow businesses to grow. Scalable solutions work with on-premises and cloud environments, and our tools will make it easier for MSSPs to identify threats, contain them, and manage customers so that even advanced threats are stopped before a data breach occurs. To learn more, contact Proofpoint.

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