Managed service provider (MSP), is a third party company that manages the customer’s IT infrastructure and end-user systems remotely. MSPs are hired by small and medium-sized companies (SMBs), charities, and government agencies to provide a set of management services. These services could include monitoring, security and network management.
MSPs are often responsible for managing management services so customers can concentrate on their services and not worry about system downtimes.
MSPs can specialize in certain segments of IT such as data storage. Others focus on specific vertical markets such as legal, financial and healthcare. Managed security service providers, for instance, offer specialized types of services, such as remote firewall administration and other security-as-a-service offerings. Managed print service providers provide consumables and maintain printers. MSPs often work remotely via the internet.
Managed Service Provider offers IT environments the following benefits
This image illustrates six benefits MSPs offer to IT environments.
In the 1990s, the rise of application service providers (ASPs) was the beginning of the evolution of MSPs. These ASPs offered remote hosting services and a level of support for existing applications. Cloud computing was made possible by ASPs, which provided remote support for customers’ IT infrastructure. MSPs were initially focused on remote monitoring and management of networks and servers. As a way of distinguishing themselves from other providers, they have expanded their services over time.
Cloud service provider and managed provider are often used interchangeably when the service provider is covered by a service level agreement (SLA), and delivered over the internet.
What is the purpose of MSPs?
An organization can improve its operations by hiring a managed service provider.
MSPs typically work with SMBs. MSPs are often viewed as an alternative to in-house IT resources by smaller businesses. MSPs may also be contracted by larger companies. MSPs can be contracted by government agencies to help them supplement their IT staff, or when they are under budget.
MSPs manage the tedious, complex and repetitive tasks involved in managing IT infrastructure or end user systems. MSPs usually do the following:
- Manage the IT infrastructure
- Offer technical support to employees
- Add cybersecurity software to your IT
- Manage user access accounts
- Manage contract management
- Offer compliance and risk management
- Provide payroll services
What is the working of MSPs?
A managed service provider will often be asked to fulfill the business objectives of an organisation. It may also be expected to fill in a gap in an IT system, or to staff. The assessment of the current environment is the first step in communication between MSPs and organizations. This assessment can help to identify areas for improvement and provide guidance on how to support business goals.
An MSP can offer many service options. There is no one solution for every company. MSPs offer technical support fix services as well as subscription services.
MSP technical support fix services are offered remotely or at a company’s site to address any issues. This option is offered by MSPs who charge the company for troubleshooting time and any parts required to fix the problem.
MSPs offering a subscription model focus on the quality and service provided to an organization’s network. They usually bill customers monthly. The MSP will resolve any issue that arises as part of an agreement between the MSP and the organization. The subscription model charges a fixed rate per computer or piece of equipment.
An SLA is used to define the services that the MSP can provide for maintenance, security, monitoring, reporting, and other services. The service agreement also includes specifications for performance, response times, and security requirements.
MSPs can offer their native services, those of other providers or a combination of both. Pure-play MSPs are those that focus exclusively on one technology or vendor and offer more native services.
MSPs are also able to deploy specialist software platforms that automate functions. These platforms include RMM tools as well as professional services automation (PSA), applications.
RMM software allows remote technicians to manage IT systems such as servers, desktops, and mobile devices. MSPs can also use these tools to apply patches or other system updates.
PSA tools allow an MSP to manage projects, billing, assets, and inventory.
An SLA is a contract between the MSP or customer that governs how managed service providers provide their service offerings. The SLA outlines the performance and quality metrics that will govern the relationship. When negotiating SLA contracts, organizations must be exact.
An MSP may link an SLA to their pricing formula. An MSP might offer customers a variety of SLAs. Customers may pay a higher price for more services in a tiered pricing structure.
What are the different types of managed service providers available?
Depending on how they are categorised, managed service providers may have different types. If a business decides to organize MSPs based on the size of its target customers and the amount of responsibility they accept, MSPs could be structured in the following manner:
MSPs that are pure-play. These are typically smaller providers who focus on application performance and monitoring networks. These providers offer their native services, which primarily focus on alerts and reporting.
MSPs that specialize in legacy staffing. These MSPs are usually targeted at mid-level companies and Fortune 500 companies. They often offer a broad range of services including monitoring, reporting, software installation, and upgrades.
MSPs with high-level management. These providers can be small or large and allow their clients to outsource as many of their IT processes as they need. High-level MSPs typically offer a broad range of services.
You can also categorize MSPs by the type services they provide:
- Monitoring. Monitoring. These MSPs provide real-time monitoring software to monitor different applications, networks, servers, and websites.
- Remote support. These MSPs provide remote support via cloud-based software.
- Support proactive. Preventative maintenance is performed by these MSPs to keep you ahead of any network or device issues.
- Centralized management. These MSPs offer remote monitoring, patch management, and security software management.
- Scheduled maintenance. These MSPs provide organizations with regularly scheduled network maintenance.
- Simple billing. These MSPs manage invoicing, payments, and budgeting through a billing management software.
What are the advantages of managed service providers
These are some of the benefits offered by managed service providers:
- You can help an organization to fill in staff gaps. An organization can outsource certain tasks to the MSP if it is short of workers.
- Provide expertise. A reputable MSP can provide expert resources to an organization.
- Business continuity. A SLA is a document that outlines the MSP’s obligations towards the business in order to recover from or prepare for a disaster.
- Provide network monitoring. Many MSPs provide 24/7 monitoring using network monitoring tools that provide system visibility and cloud management.
- Security improvements MSPs may offer security software or awareness training.
Increase cost efficiency. A fixed monthly fee can make it more economical than hourly billing if there are many unplanned repairs. The MSP manages the day-today operations, while customers can concentrate on their services.