Tech Insight : What Is An MSP?
In this article, we take a brief look at what an MSP is, what services they provide, and what benefits businesses get from using an MSP.
A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a company that delivers outsourced IT services and support to businesses and organisations. The MSP remotely and proactively, manages, monitors, updates, reports on (and has responsibility for) the customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems for a subscription fee. Typically, these managed services are network, application, infrastructure, and security, and are delivered by providing support and administration on customers’ premises, in their MSP’s data centre/hosting, or in a third-party’s data centre. MSPs may also provide hardware, software, mobile device management, training, and many other IT and communications-related services to their customers.
Many traditional IT Support companies evolved into what are now known as MSPs when application service providers (ASPs) helped make it possible for remote support for IT infrastructure.
In the late 90s/early 2000s, ASPs delivered apps (sometimes their own) and related services over the internet or via a private network for subscription, thereby giving rise to the remote provision of services. Some ASPs became MSPs, although ASPs are now generally referred to a software as a service (SaaS) providers.
MSPs can now provide a broad range of services including networking, application and infrastructure services, cybersecurity, email and help desk, data storage and backup (and restore), cloud integration, software migration (e.g., to 365), patching, communications and more.
Benefits of Using and MSP
Typically, the benefits that companies and organisations get from using an MSP include:
– Savings from not having in-house IT staff/departments, saving on maintaining/replacing software and hardware, and from better advice and deals offered by MSPs (hardware, software, networks, communications).
– Fast resolution of IT problems due to on-demand availability of IT expertise.
– Becoming more up-to-date, efficient, and competitive, and future-proofing as MSPs reduce technology adoption barriers and help manage the changes and processes needed to enable a company to quickly, adopt new technologies, and take advantage of new opportunities and ways of working.
– Less disruption and increased service levels due to proactive, ongoing expert monitoring, maintenance, upkeep and upgrading of infrastructure, networks, hardware, and other services due to expert MSP help and advice.
– Better security and reduced risk due to patching, updating of anti-virus, threat monitoring and IT security education and advice, and upgrading of network security by the MSP.
– Peace of mind from knowing that effective, secure, and regular backup and restore procedures, and services are in place, and disaster recovery plans exist and are up to date.
– Easier management of IT for the business due to centralisation.
– Flexibility, scope, and scalability, thereby allowing businesses to adapt and change quickly, allowing for growth, changes, and other business realities.
– Time, money, and hassle saved from having on-demand expertise available.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Outsourcing to MSPs allows businesses not just to save money and become more efficient, but it also provides the kind of security, scope, flexibility, and future-proofing that enable businesses to be competitive and make the most of opportunities in the changing business environment. The services of MSPs can be particularly beneficial to smaller businesses because having the expertise-on demand (i.e. not having to try and do everything in house) means cost savings and the kind of up-to-date systems that can enable them to behave like a much bigger company, thereby providing greater value to more customers while being much more flexible and competitive.