When minimizing downtime for your business-critical services, you must consider whether your in-house resources are up to the task.
MSPs are increasingly being relied on as strategic outsourcing partners for remotely managing or delivering IT services, owing to the talent and technologies that most enterprises lack.
Organizations select top managed service providers (MSP) as an outsourcer contracted to remotely manage or deliver IT services such as network, application, infrastructure, or security management. MSPs assume full responsibility for those services and determine proactively what technologies and services are required to meet the client’s needs.
While a traditional value-added reseller (VAR) operates on a transactional and short-term basis (for example, around a hardware/software purchase and deployment), managed service providers (MSPs) typically form long-term partnerships with their customers over annual or multi-year periods, and receive recurring income for continuous services. While any customer may seek an MSP based on their needs, MSPs typically serve small to mid-sized businesses that are understaffed, with some organisations lacking an in-house IT staff entirely.
MSP IT – Brief History and Evolution
MSP Providers have existed since the 1990s. Initially, they were known as Application Service Providers (ASPs), and their sole responsibility was to manage remote IT infrastructure. Their services grew over time to include remote firewall administration, security-as-a-service, and mobile device management.
What are MSPs used for?
Hiring a managed service provider can assist a company in improving its operations.
SMBs are typical MSP clients. Because many smaller businesses have limited in-house IT capabilities, they may see an MSP’s service offering as a way to obtain IT expertise. However, larger companies may also use MSPs. For example, government agencies with limited budgets and hiring resources may contract with an MSP to supplement their in-house IT staff.
MSPs handle the complex, time-consuming, or repetitive tasks associated with managing IT infrastructure or end-user systems. MSPs typically perform the following tasks:
- handle IT infrastructure management
- provide technical assistance to employees
- IT should invest in cybersecurity software.
- control user access accounts
- deal with contract management
- provide risk management and compliance; and
- offer payroll services
Who Might Choose a Managed IT Service Provider?
Customers of managed service providers are typically small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Because many smaller businesses have limited in-house IT capabilities, partnering with a managed service provider can be an excellent way to obtain additional IT expertise. However, this does not preclude large corporations from contracting with a managed service provider. The right provider can provide 24/7 support regardless of physical location if they have a global presence in multiple time zones.
Additionally, government agencies under budget and with limited hiring resources may contract with a managed service provider to supplement in-house IT staff. Customers of all sizes can benefit from predictable IT support costs by opting for a subscription model. Managed service providers can prevent many common IT problems and ensure more reliable and consistent business operations by taking a proactive monitoring approach.
Types of Managed Services Providers
- Scheduled Maintenance: According to the Service Level Agreement, an MSP guarantees scheduled network maintenance for organisations on a quarterly or monthly basis.
- Centralised Management: MSPs offer a single, powerful console to manage complex networks. They also provide patch management, service desk, remote monitoring, and security solutions to various clients through centralised controls.
- Remote Support: MSPs offer cloud-based solutions for managing remote computers. Some MSPs provide assistance that will guide you through the entire transition process. Aside from efficiently managing your services, you can also spend extra time supervising financial and operational services. MSPs can also help with remote technical troubleshooting.
- Proactive Support: MSPs use comprehensive and regular preventative maintenance systems to stay ahead of any issues with desktop devices and networks. They are a powerful medium for ensuring the dependability and stability of an organisation’s IT assets. MSPs also offer scalable cloud storage, with fees based on the amount of storage space required by the user.
- Monitoring: An MSP provides efficient, customised, real-time monitoring solutions for any organisation’s network device, website, application, or server. It can provide 24x7x365 network monitoring to ensure maximum uptime for your company.
- Simplified Billing: A billing management system is provided by an MSP to handle tasks such as invoicing, payments, tracking, and budgeting. MSPs that provide this service manage billing systems to ensure visibility.
Benefits of MSPs
Contracting the services has several operational advantages and brings cost benefits, such as:
- Staff is available around the clock for a small fee.
- A binding contract which clearly defines the work of IT support.
- Can fill in for staff shortages in-house
- Can provide coverage for on-site disasters
- Data backup management can be included to prevent data loss.
- Scalable, with additional resources added incrementally or temporarily.
- Removes the possibility of a company being slowed down by industrial action.
- Reduces the issue of companies competing for scarcely qualified IT experts, causing wages to rise.
- Provides highly qualified personnel to all parts of the world
- Experts in low-wage locations are made available to companies in high-cost locations.
An MSP can completely replace a company’s IT department or provide a single niche service. The industry is evolving to provide expertise to all corners of the globe while making cutting-edge technology affordable.
What are the challenges of managed service providers?
Despite their advantages, managed service providers may also come with challenges, for example:
- Not all MSPs provide security features. Many MSPs do not place a high priority on cybersecurity.
- Third-party organisations are required. Organisations that rely on an MSP to handle daily tasks may develop a dependency on them. If the MSP fails to meet the SLA, the organisation may experience system downtime.
- An MSP’s response to an issue may take some time.
- Upselling potential. An MSP may attempt to upsell an organisation on technology or services it does not require.
- Inaccessible information. If an MSP uses a proprietary tool to manage and monitor its infrastructure, an organisation’s data may not be freely accessible.
MSPs can offer a wide range of services or specialise in a specific area. While MSPs increasingly provide more than just basic cybersecurity services, organisations in need of highly specialised security services (identity and access management, privilege management, and so on) frequently turn to MSSPs (managed security services providers).