Security Service Providers Defined

Consultants for GRC, MSSPs, Pentesting, and More!

Security is hard. Attacks are non-stop, and the resources required to keep up with their complexity is greater than the capabilities of most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and even larger security enterprises.

What are these resource-constrained companies to do? Are they simply at the mercy of an attacker’s abilities? Security Service Providers have entered the chat.

But what exactly are security service providers? What are the differences in the services each provides? And what are the key benefits of choosing to partner with a service provider when compared to hiring your own internal team. Let’s talk about it!

Check out our blog to learn more tips, tricks, and strategy for security service providers — including how they can use PlexTrac to conquer Q4.

What are Security Service Providers?

To put it simply, security service providers are outsourced security professionals who provide some form of service or multiple services to clients. The clients who outsource to service providers are typically a smaller security team that needs help on a specific area of weakness, an enterprise team needing specific expertise, or a company who is outsourcing for help in lieu of hiring a comprehensive and complete cybersecurity team.

Now that we’ve outlined what security service providers are, let’s dive into the different types of services they provide.

What are the Different Types of Security Service Providers?

While the definition of a security service provider is quite simple, the wide variety of security providers out there are anything but. Security providers offer a range of services. Most service providers have a specialty where their expertise lies, but some larger providers offer a wide range of services, including managing your entire security practice, depending on the area you need help with the most.

While security service providers offer hundreds of different services, here are just a few of the most common types of security service providers in the industry:

  • Penetration testing and other offensive security consultants
  • Managed Security Service Providers (or MSSPs)
  • Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) auditors

Penetration Testing / Offensive Security

Penetration testing — otherwise known as ethical hacking — and other offensive security duties are services that are commonly outsourced to a consultant or small security services shop/firm/company. The job of an offensive security service provider is to put your network and security systems to the test and evaluate your security posture as a whole. This testing aims to identify your most critical vulnerabilities so the internal security team can remediate them. On top of pentesting, offensive security services include conducting proactive security assessments, running phishing and social engineering campaigns, managing bug bounty programs, and more.

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) / Defensive Security

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) are companies that provide management and monitoring of their client’s network and endpoints through a security operations center (SOC). A full white glove service can include monitoring the client’s entire attack surface and remediating threats in real time while other offerings might include tiers of service.. These are often long-term engagements (compared to a consultant who is typically in and out over a few months) and the MSSP communicates daily, or at least weekly, with their client’s internal security staff. The most common services that MSSPs provide includes managed firewalls, intrusion prevention (IPS), intrusion detection (IDS), and vulnerability scanning and patching. They typically use a SIEM combined with a threat intelligence service to aggregate all the logs and alert on the most relevant security concerns. In conjunction with these services, many MSSPs also offer proactive security services such as penetration testing and compliance assessments.

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) auditors are another type of security service provider that is also commonly outsourced. The main reason for this is that while compliance and security are connected, they are also very different. The main focus of GRC auditors is to identify and control risk while also complying with rules and regulations that are constantly changing. Typical duties for a governance, risk, and compliance auditor include conducting security assessments for specific frameworks like NIST, PCI, and SOC2, as well as providing additional insight into your compliance’s impact on your security and business as a whole.

The Benefits of Using a Security Service Provider

While there are downsides to using security service providers, there are numerous benefits that make it well worth it for most SMBs and even some larger enterprises and security teams. Here are some of the key benefits of using service providers:

  • Adopt a proactive approach to risk management and breach and attack prevention
  • Overcome the widespread cybersecurity talent shortage
  • Maximize your efficiency by outsourcing for help in key problem areas
  • Extend your team beyond its current capabilities
  • Provide your team with an outside perspective on your security posture
  • Properly manage your risk and ensure you’re compliant with laws and regulations


Security service providers are an essential part of the cybersecurity industry. Their wide variety of knowledge and expertise provide security teams with resources that fill their knowledge gaps and strengthen the security and compliance of their organizations. But the power of these security providers is only unlocked if they’re able to do their job efficiently and effectively as they meet the unique needs of each of their clients.

Say hello to PlexTrac. This innovative workflow management platform allows security providers to deal with all of their data, findings, and reports for each client in one powerful platform. PlexTrac can maximize the time and expertise of security consultancies of all shapes and sizes.

Request a demo today to see how PlexTrac will change your life as a security service provider. 

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