What Is a Managed Service Provider and What Services Do They Provide?

Maintaining IT services in an organization can be complicated, to say the least. Not only do you have to maintain your internal IT department along with its policies, procedures and controls, you have to handle IT service providers and vendors, and make sure that all of the products and services you implement are compliant as well. In some cases, a company can get in way over their head simply trying to maintain regulatory or industry compliance and necessary service levels.

This is where a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help out. A Managed service provider handles all of your IT service contracts and vendors. Furthermore, they make sure that the service levels your providers have agreed to, is met at all times. This means much more proactivity, and many fewer “break-fix” incidents.

Here are some of the specific services and benefits that can come with a Managed Service Provider:

•24-hour monitoring. Because your MSP is responsible for your infrastructure and performance, they constantly manage that performance, insuring the highest possible level of business experience quality.

•Cost management. By working solely with an MSP, you can often save money. You’re dealing with a single, often flat-rate bill, not having to stress about pulling aside capital as you do in a break-fix environment.

•Vendor management. A single IT function, such as networking, can include a dozen or more vendors. By using a Managed Service Provider, you’re no longer dealing with disparate parties; you work only with the MSP. This saves you significant time and trouble.

•Expertise. Your MSP has the ability to tap expert sources that you may not have in-house. Further, because the MSP already has established relationships with these experts, they can often bring them to bear on your needs faster and more efficiently than you could alone.

For most companies with any significant amount of IT size or need, a MSP can be a significant benefit.