MSP, Networking

Managed Security Services Providers: Gartner’s Nine MSSP Requirements

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Quite a few MSPs and VARs are seeking to become managed security services providers (MSSPs). But what services do MSSPs typically offer? I've got a two-part answer.

Part one comes from ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini, who pointed to these MSSP services during IT Nation in 2016.

But another way to look at the market comes from Gartner. In the company's 2017 Magic Quadrant for MSSPs, Gartner says managed security services broadly include these nine capabilities:

  1. Monitored or managed firewalls and multifunction firewalls, or unified threat management (UTM) technology
  2. Monitored or managed intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems (IDPSs)
  3. Managed or monitored security gateways for web and email traffic
  4. Monitoring and/or management of advanced threat defense technologies, or the provision of those capabilities as a service
  5. Security analysis and reporting of events collected from IT infrastructure logs
  6. Reporting associated with monitored/managed devices and incident response
  7. Managed vulnerability scanning of networks, servers, databases or applications
  8. Monitoring or management of customer-deployed security information and event management (SIEM) technologies
  9. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation via a remotely managed service

MSSPs: Opportunities and Challenges

That list is both good news and bad news for MSPs. It reveals multiple opportunities to round out your portfolio of IT security services. But it also hints at the challenges you'll face in terms of (A) acquiring the right talent, (B) standing up the right services and (B) monitoring and managing all of those pathways for customers.

Larry Walsh

Ron Myers

I've pointed to it before and I'll point to it here again: The 2112 Group continues to warn channel partners that not everyone is cut out to build a security practice. As The 2112 Group President Larry Walsh points out, proper security requires the four P's -- people, process, policy and product. And many partners simply don't have the time, budget or know-how to master all four of those areas.

Still, there are multiple paths forward. Palo Alto Networks, for instance, sees its best partners breaking away from the pack and becoming next-generation security innovators, according to Channel Chief Ron Myers.

Some of those partners are testing Palo Alto Networks' MSSP partner program, which is under development now. In the days ahead, I'll share some Palo Alto stats that reveal how top-performing partners vastly outperform the typical security VAR, according to the company's data.

VARs: Short On Budget, Resources?

Admittedly, the challenge is constant: Top IT security performers require heavy training and certification. That's why quite a few outsourced NOC (Network Operations Center) providers are preparing SOCs (security operations centers) for VARs and MSPs. Continuum, as I've mentioned before, is believed to be developing a SOC practice for MSPs in the SMB sector.

Also, some of the world's top MSSPs have partner programs in place -- some of which are white label services. We'll share some of those names in the days ahead...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.