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A managed security service provider (MSSP) is a type of service provider that provisions remote software/hardware-based information or network security services to an organization. A MSSP hosts, deploys and manages a security infrastructure, simultaneously providing information security (IS) services to one or more clients.
A MSSP provides a suite of IS services, including virus scanning, spam blocking, hardware/software firewall integration/management and overall security monitoring/management. A MSSP connects with an enterprise IT infrastructure through the Internet or a virtual private network (VPN) and has access to the enterprise's key security and operational IT components, while a client accesses a MSSP platform interface to analyze and review the overall security architecture state.
A MSSP performs routine security scans, penetration and vulnerability testing and other security management processes on behalf of an organization. In most cases, a MSSP owns and operates security resources, like antivirus, malware detection and firewall software. However, an organization may utilize in-house security resources, outsourcing only its security management and business processes to an MSSP.