What is a Managed Service Provider?

By Jason Hagens

In the IT world where we are concerned, an MSP refers to an IT Support company that coordinates and runs (manages) all or part of a business’s IT systems and networks. Managed Service Providers remotely manage the company’s systems and IT assets at their customers’ premises or at a data center, which is normally operated by a third party. The variety of services MSPs provide can range from monitoring your IT network to being responsible for all repairs, updates and patches, as well as providing new software, hardware, infrastructure, cloud services, and staff resources.

The service agreement between the MSP and the company will clarify the diverse services included, which are generally offered at a flat fee per month. Working with an MSP is completely different than utilizing only dedicated staff onsite or using a pay-by-the-hour IT company for sporadic assistance. This IT support model is often referred to as “break-fix,” as the business only contacts the IT company when problems occur or things break. This approach is generally penny-wise, but pound-foolish; many costly issues can be avoided with proactive monitoring and prompt resolution as opposed to waiting and reacting once a problem arises or is deeply entrenched in your network.

5 Benefits of using an MSP

1. More efficient, reliable, and scalable IT. An important service that MSPs provide to improve IT operations is called Performance Monitoring. Through the use of a high-end firewall, agents, and other tools, an MSP will proactively manage and oversee your IT network’s performance. The MSP will know when your IT performance is being adversely affected or will be negatively impacted in the near future. For example, an MSP will know immediately when your internet is operating slowly or is down and will quickly take the necessary steps to resolve the situation to minimize any disruption to your activities.

2. Better budgeting and cost-savings. Importantly, with the reduction of IT infrastructure, maintenance costs, dedicated employee resources, an MSP often provides substantial IT cost savings in both the short and long run. With the use of an IT MSP that offers flat fee plans, your company can more easily get a handle on its overall IT inventory management and you will be able to predict and prepare accurate monthly and annual IT budgets.

3. Peace of mind. Through its emphasis on the important services of back ups, disaster recovery, and business continuity, an MSP offers your company what it wants most: peace of mind! Your management team and employees can rest easy at night knowing that all your important data and business applications are comprehensively backed up at a secure remote location. In the event of a harmful man-made or natural event, an MSP can quickly restore operations and ensure that your business will not suffer the consequences from costly downtime. You can also consider this benefit in terms of cybersecurity. In the unlikely event that a cybercriminal overcomes the thorough cybersecurity measures provided by an IT Managed Service Provider, your data and applications can quickly be restored. This means that your company will not suffer from downtime because of corrupted data nor ever have to pay any costly fees if your company is infected by ransomware.

4. Strategic planning. With an MSP as your IT partner and advisor, your company can more effectively strategize how to utilize your IT assets to achieve your business goals. Their proven expertise can help guide you on how to best utilize IT within the budgetary restrictions you have.

5. Security compliance. Competent MSPs will ensure that your company’s IT network and applications are regularly updated to the latest and most effective versions to meet your specific needs. An IT Managed Service Provider’s state-of-the-art technology portfolio is also continuously being used to benefit your company without the need for you to research and implement it yourself. You can also rest assured that all industry-specific security and other compliance requirements are accounted for and met.

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