The term “managed security” means different things to different people. But what exactly is it? Who should think about outsourcing their security functions to a Managed Security Service Provider?

Too often, companies think “We’re secure, we have a firewall.” While the presence of a firewall is certainly a good thing, it does not necessarily create a secure network. Security has evolved rapidly over the past 10 years. A corporate nuisance that was once addressed with the installation of a firewall and an anti-virus solution, security has now evolved into a source of many IT problems, requiring many IT resources. Whether corporate America likes it or not, IT Security has become a full-time job.

However, many small- to medium-sized businesses struggle with their IT support requirements as it is. Adding a complex issue like security to this mix only burdens these already taxed resources. Since security is a field that requires very specialized expertise, most network administrators do not have the training or experience to effectively protect the corporate network from current and emerging threats.

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) bridge this gap, offering small- and medium-sized businesses the same level of security as their large counterparts. For a fraction of the cost of hiring a Security Administrator these companies can partner with a MSSP to handle the complex tasks of security management, and by doing so will typically receive more reliable service than trying to perform these services in-house.

This whitepaper entitled, “What is a Managed Security Service Provider”, in its entirety, can be found at

Mike Johnson is chief technology officer at Web Fargo Data Security.