What is a managed service provider?

IT operations are at the core of businesses today. Modern companies of all sizes rely on different technologies to keep them competitive. Although businesses rely on technology heavily, they are often unequipped to manage their IT unless they have in-house staff. A third party company like a managed service provider offers a more cost-effective alternative to hiring IT staff for your business. With a managed service provider, you can have all of your business’ IT managed at a monthly rate. In this post, we’ll go in-depth into what a managed service provider is and how your business can benefit from working with one.

What is a managed service provider?

A managed service provider or MSP is an umbrella term that refers to a third-party provider that manages a particular service for a company. The term is generally used to refer to IT companies that manage IT operations for organizations. Businesses typically hire managed service providers at a monthly rate to handle a portion or all of their IT operations. The ability to outsource IT operations to managed service providers allows businesses to focus on their revenue-generating operations while managing their IT costs with an MSP.

What does a managed service provider do?

A managed service provider performs a variety of core IT services for businesses. These functions are typically operations that businesses outsource to managed service providers. Some of the main services offered by MSPs include:

Managed IT infrastructure: The managed service provider performs all the work related to managing the IT infrastructure of the business. This includes monitoring, upgrading and repairing things like servers, routers and firewalls. This ensures that the business is running on the best infrastructure to power all of the other operations.

Manage cybersecurity: The managed service provider also maintains the cybersecurity of their clients. They help businesses protect their data from external threats like hackers, cyberattacks and more. Sample cybersecurity services include remote monitoring and management,

Managed cloud services: MSPs also help businesses with cloud services. Cloud computing is on the rise and many businesses want to leverage cloud services to power their business. The managed service provider is in charge of the maintenance and support of all the cloud services. MSPs can help business migrate their infrastructure and applications to the cloud and ensure everything is running smoothly.

Device management: For many businesses, device management is a large operational and security issue. The average employee uses several devices like their smartphone, desktop, tablets, etc to perform business activities. A managed service provider makes sure that all of these devices are managed and that all endpoints are secured to ensure proper cybersecurity measures are being followed.

Data backup and recovery: MSPs are also responsible for ensuring their clients’ data is backed up properly. Data backup is one of the most essential functions managed service providers perform because businesses rely on their data to keep operations running. Without proper data backup, one breach can result in the shut down of an entire business.

In fact, most small businesses that experience a breach go out of business in 6 months on average. Having a data backup and recovery plan ensures that your business continues in case an external threat was to get access to your business.

Benefits of using a managed service provider:

Small and medium sized businesses work with managed service providers for a variety of reasons. The main benefits of hiring managed service providers include:

Outsourcing IT: Outsourcing IT operations to a managed service provider allows companies to focus on their core operations with minimal worry about their infrastructure. Managed service providers already come with the skills, staff, system and equipment to handle your IT needs. This allows your business to focus on its key operations and you can leave the IT issues to the IT experts.

Cost savings: Many managed service providers offer managed services at a lower rate than business owners would typically pay for the full-scale services. This leads to significant long-term cost savings in comparison to hiring and training in-house employees.

Access to IT personnel: By allowing managed service providers to handle a company’s IT operations, businesses have access to highly trained personnel with the latest equipment and software. These are skilled professionals who are well versed in handling the vast majority of IT issues your business will experience.

24/7 IT support: Managed service providers also provide around-the-clock IT support for businesses. Any issue that occurs in your business’ IT operations can be addressed immediately with a managed service provider. Managed service providers can troubleshoot issues quickly and ensure your business operations run smoothly.

Proactive monitoring of IT infrastructure: The IT infrastructure of a business is the most costly part of running IT operations. A systems failure can cost a business thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars. Managed service providers are able to proactively monitor the IT infrastructure, detect potential issues before they arise, and resolve them before they severely damage a business’s operations.

Different types of managed service providers

General/standard managed service provider: A general managed service provider is the typical managed service provider. These providers offer comprehensive managed IT services for their clients. This includes services like on-site support, IT helpdesk, general cybersecurity, cloud services and more. A general managed service provider is a one-stop-shop for IT services. This is generally the best option for businesses to work with.

Hybrid/Co-managed managed service provider: A co-managed/hybrid IT provider is a managed service provider that works alongside internal IT teams to help meet client needs. A co-managed managed service provider generally provides more granular services for their clients. For example, they may provide managed IT infrastructure services while the internal IT team focuses on other IT priorities. This dynamic is helpful for large organizations and MSPs can just come in and help in specific parts of the IT workflow.

Managed security service provider (MSSP): A managed security service provider (MSSP) is a managed service provider that primarily focuses on offering tailored cybersecurity services to clients. MSSPs differ from other managed service providers because they offer businesses continuous cybersecurity monitoring and services. Their expertise in the security aspects of the business allows them to provide comprehensive cybersecurity coverage. Some of the main services MSSPs offer include vulnerability management, network monitoring, and threat detection.

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