eXtended Service Provider (XSP) is a new classification for IT and security operation providers. It was created in order to address the demands of our changing industry and the ever-increasing cybersecurity threats happening globally. I imagine many people will ask why it is even necessary to develop XSP when the MSP and MSSP classifications already exist. To answer that question, it is first important to illustrate what an MSP and MSSP provide versus what an XSP provides.
An MSP provides day-to-day IT operations to companies as well as managed offerings like strategic roadmap development and vCIO. An MSSP focuses on security operations meant to help ensure business continuity and build resilience from potential cybersecurity attacks. An XSP does both, with security always front of mind, ensuring that all aspects of technology within your business are deployed and maintained securely, paying attention not only to security tools, but also to people, processes, policies, and risk.
As an XSP, we take a security-first approach to providing cyber security and IT operations that are integrated with innovative IT solutions. Having your security operations and IT operations under one roof solves the disconnect that happens between MSPs and MSSPs, which can cause costly delays and mistakes. As an XSP, having visibility of our clients’ whole stack removes the hurdles that MSPs and MSSPs experience with fragmented views of their clients’ environments. Minutes can be precious and having full context and knowledge of an environment is imperative when determining if a threat is real or if it is just noise. This allows us to work independently on what we do best while our clients are free to focus on their business, without having to facilitate coordination between multiple providers.
The Inherent Risks in Trusting Outside Providers
The reality is there is always going to be an inherent risk with using an MSP, MSSP, or XSP as an outside provider of your IT and security operations because you are introducing more variables to your environment. Tools like Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) introduce risk, but it is a necessary risk that helps manage, support, and keep your assets secure and running optimally. Entara is committed to providing integrated IT and security operations under one roof to help mitigate this risk. While we cannot prevent all threats - no one can - we take extra measures to solve for the vulnerabilities that a traditional MSP and MSSP relationship allows.
Traditionally, outside providers like MSPs and MSSPs are unregulated and are not held compliant to a standard set of criteria. As an XSP, we follow CIS controls and map these standards into your baseline solutions. We also have our own set of standards, including 24/7 MDR monitoring, requiring microsegmentation, privileged access management, hardware multifactor authentication, and regular security assessments.
The bottom line is that MSPs have done some function of MSSPs for years, like antivirus and firewalls, but when MSPs fall short they partner with MSSPs or the company employing them brings in their own MSSP. These actions introduce unnecessary threats, vulnerability, and slowdowns because IT and security operations with the traditional MSP/MSSP model are segmented. By working with an XSP, solutions that were once expensive and geared toward the enterprise are now cost-effective and available for businesses of all sizes.
It’s time for a new solution; one that prepares your business for the threats that don’t care about the size of your business, who your business serves, or the important role your business plays in its industry. It’s time for XSP.
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