How to Pick a Managed Security Service Provider: What You Need to Know

Home » Cybersecurity Blog » How to Pick a Managed Security Service Provider: What You Need to Know

Finding the right security tools for your needs requires knowing who can offer them. Here is a guide on how to pick a managed security service provider. Read More

Headline news about cybersecurity threats lulls many of us into a false sense of security – that a security attack is rare enough that it makes the news. The reality is far more sinister. Last year, 54% of businesses experienced a cyberattack.

What does this mean for your business? Quite simply, it means you need experts and robust technology. You need to put security first.

You can do that by hiring a managed service security provider. This guide will explain what that entails and how to pick the perfect one for your business.

Managed Security Service Providers: What They Offer

If you don’t want to run IT in-house, choose managed services. That’s where you hire a business to do everything for you. And although a separate company, they often feel part of your team.

One such service is Managed Security Service Providers or MSSPs for short.

MSSPs are companies that help protect your business from cyber threats.
They offer various services, like monitoring your network and detecting and responding to attacks. Most importantly, they keep your data safe.

Hiring an MSSP can save you time and money, as they have the right tools and expertise to keep your business secure.

They work with you to develop a custom security plan, so you can focus on running your business. By partnering with an MSSP, you can have peace of mind knowing that your company’s digital assets are in good hands.

Managed Providers and How They Fit With Your Organization

MSSPs integrate seamlessly with your organization. And they work closely with your IT team to bolster your security. Daily, they monitor your systems, alert you of any threats, and respond swiftly to incidents.

You’ll receive regular reports on their findings and actions, ensuring transparency. By collaborating with an MSSP, you’ll have someone to handle your security concerns so you can focus on your core business.

Key Considerations

As you can expect, managed services vary considerably. You need to find a provider that fits your business well.

When looking, here are some factors that you should consider. Use these to help narrow your search and create a shortlist.


Standard services offered by MSSPs include network monitoring, threat detection, incident response, and data protection.

Critical services, like monitoring and threat detection, help prevent cyber attacks. Incident response is vital when breaches occur to minimize damage. Data protection ensures sensitive information stays safe.

Some businesses might not need every service, as their needs vary.

For example, companies handling sensitive data may prioritize data protection. Conversely, those with fewer risks might focus on essential monitoring. It’s crucial to assess your unique business setup and choose services that fit your needs.

Expertise and Experience

Skilled MSSPs can better protect you from cyber threats. And they’ll have more chance of minimizing damage during a security problem. To assess expertise, look for certifications, industry recognition, and case studies.

Additionally, consider their managed security experience in your specific industry. It shows they will be familiar with your unique challenges. They will know the security priorities of your type of business.


As your company expands, so do its security needs. Select an MSSP that can grow and scale with your business. You want one that offers flexibility in what they can provide you with.

That ensures they can handle increased demands and adapt to your changing requirements.

Partnering with a scalable MSSP prevents the need to switch providers later on. That saves time and resources. It helps you maintain consistent security measures as your business evolves.


Set a budget when considering an MSSP. It will help you avoid overspending while still meeting your security needs.

When comparing security service costs, ensure you’re checking like-for-like services. Alternative providers might bundle services differently, so see what’s included in each package.

Ask companies for transparent pricing, detailing costs for each service and potential add-ons. That helps you make informed decisions and find the best value MSSP that aligns with your budget and security requirements.


When selecting the right MSSP, consider its technology capabilities. Here are some suggestions:

  • Assess their tools for threat detection, response, and network security
  • Check if their technology integrates with your existing systems
  • Investigate their data protection measures like encryption

Examining an MSSP’s technology allows you to find a provider that uses cutting-edge solutions. Great technology will be your safest way to protect your business and seamlessly integrate with your current setup.

Customer Support

Consider the support channels offered by the MSSP. And Check availability for customer service support. Broadly speaking, first-line support handles fundamental issues, while second-line tackles more complex problems.

Check their Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) for detail. That will outline response, resolution times, and penalties if they fail to meet them.

Decide if you need 9-5 support or 24/7 coverage based on your business operations. Remember that 24/7 support may cost more but is more suitable if your business works around the clock.

Security Compliance and Certifications

When hiring an MSSP, look for security certifications. That might include:

  • CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
  • CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor

Check for compliance with industry standards. Common globally-recognized standards include:

  • ISO: International Organization for Standardization (the most relevant security standard is ISO 27001)
  • NIST: National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

Check too that the provider offers any data and security standards that might be important in your industry. Here are two examples:

  • Healthcare: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
  • Payment processing: PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

Verifying certifications, compliance, and quality standards is a vital step. It will show the security company follows best practices.

More importantly, it will reassure you that they are trustworthy businesses. You want that when working with any provider on a critical security issue.

Monitoring and Reporting

Check any MSSP for its monitoring and reporting capabilities.

Monitoring is critical. It helps detect threats and vulnerabilities fast – it could make or break a business during a security emergency. And it means you have an expert hand to mitigate a risk swiftly.

Ask potential MSSPs for examples of the reporting they can provide or whether they can offer you custom reports and dashboards. Even with a managed service, you’ll still want to see some data on your security situation.

It’s reasonable to argue that the monitoring and reporting feature is among the highest priorities when hiring an MSSP. Robust monitoring and consistent, quality reports give your business the security and compliance you want.

Plus, it’ll keep your business at the highest industry standards. That will protect customer data, business continuity, and company reputation.

Before Your Decision: Client Testimonials

Reading online reviews, testimonials, references, and case studies before hiring an MSSP is a sensible idea. Start by visiting their website. They may showcase client feedback and success stories.

Explore online review platforms and industry forums for unbiased opinions. Reach out to your professional network for recommendations and personal experiences with MSSPs.

Doing this research is a vital step. It helps you gauge the MSSP’s reputation, reliability, and effectiveness. You’re checking if they can handle security challenges like yours.

It also provides insights into their customer support. Read clues about how responsive they are and the general satisfaction of their clients.

By checking these sources, you understand the MSSP’s performance and make an informed decision. It will help you choose a provider that aligns with your business needs and expectations.

Final Conversations and Sales Pitch

If you’ve started speaking to MSSPs, you’ve probably had many invites to sales calls! That is a great time to have a more in-depth conversation with potential providers, so grab the opportunity when offered.

Prepare a list of questions to ask. Don’t assume any question is too simple or obvious! Chances are they’ve heard the question before,  and you must understand every tiny aspect of the service before you sign on the dotted line.

If you have technical people in your business, get someone with IT security expertise to join you in these meetings. They will ask pertinent questions that will help you form a final decision.

Decision Time

At decision time, make a shortlist of potential providers. Set an internal meeting and review each MSSP individually, highlighting the pros and cons.

Try and reduce your shortlist – it’ll make that decision a little easier. You may find one that stands out from the pack by that point. Maybe it’s a proposal with a clear technical advantage, or you have one on your list that provides the ideal SLA.

If you aren’t 100% sure, you can always as the MSSP to offer you a trial period. It will allow you to evaluate the service in real-time and see how they fit with your organization before you sign a long-term contract.

Securing Your Business’s Future

Security is more than protecting your business from a rare occurrence. It’s about strengthening your defense against an ever-changing, ever-complex, powerful threat.

Hiring a managed security service provider is a wise decision. It will ensure your business continues to operate even during a security crisis and protects your critical business data (not to mention your business reputation).

For more information on how our managed services can help your business, fill out this simple form. Tell us about your business, and one of our experts will contact you with our professional recommendations.