The field of information technology has advanced at a breakneck pace in the last 20 years. Hence, it has become imperative for any business to know and adopt technologies that can make them productive and more competent at the same time. However, not all firms have the resources to expand their team of IT professionals for several reasons, particularly within small and medium-sized businesses. Many businesses therefore evaluate and use managed IT (Information Technology) services to stay competitive and meet their organization’s technical needs.

Definition of an MSP

MSP word cloudA managed service provider (MSP) is a business that handles a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems remotely, usually on a subscription basis.

Initially, MSPs specialized in remote server and network management and monitoring. However, many have expanded their services over time to include specializations such as consulting, IT security knowledge, and industry-specific services, etc.

MSPs take on one or more IT services for organizations, including email, help desk, cybersecurity, networking, data storage, cloud integration, backup and restore, patching, and more. The MSP monitors, maintains, administers the service remotely, and reports its quality, performance, and availability.

MSPs may also aid with the acquisition of software and hardware and the tracking and reporting of hardware and software licenses.

How do Managed Service Providers Function?

MSPs are primarily hired by small to medium-sized organizations that lack an in-house IT department. For instance, a medical office will use computers for data administration, record-keeping, and billing and incorporate computer systems into medical equipment for digital scans and data analysis. This workplace may not require a full-time IT employee to keep all the technical aspects up to date. However, when something goes wrong, they will need someone to come in straight away to fix it. This is when an MSP enters the picture. MSPs also take a proactive approach and ensure that their clients can avoid any downtime or hardware failure before it brings down the infrastructure, thus incurring expenses for their clients. Also, MSPs provide value adds, such as predictable costs, guaranteed SLAs, response times, flexibility to scale up/down without any commitment to infrastructure, etc.

The rise of MSPs

According to a 2021 report from Statista, the market value of MSPs in 2020 was approximately 152.02 billion USD. Furthermore, it is predicted that by 2026, the industry’s market value will have surpassed USD 274 billion. Data projections illustrate that the market is growing and will continue to do so in the future.

MSP growth and trends must be considered in the context of the global COVID-19 epidemic (COVID). MSPs have had to modify the focus of their service offering to accommodate these developments as businesses move to accept remote working options, and some industries encounter service disruption owing to lockdown limitations.

Types of MSPs

MSPs might offer their native services alongside those of other providers (for example, an MSP providing security services on top of a third-party cloud IaaS). Pure-play MSPs focus on a single vendor or technology, which is usually their core service. Many MSPs offer services from a variety of sources as well. Let us understand some of the most common types of MSPs:

Infrastructure and Network MSPs

What is a managed service providerAn Infra and Network MSP typically takes care of all network responsibilities with this sort of service. This includes setting up a LAN, WANs, and other connections for a company. They are also in charge of backup and storage. Managed Service Providers may supply both hardware and support to maintain these essential components current, secure, and working smoothly so that the users have the tools they need to complete their work.  A network infrastructure MSP focuses on the client’s environment’s continuous operation. This frees up internal IT departments to focus on specific business needs, such as applications and operational efficiencies in the operations and sales departments.

Security MSPs

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is a service that covers all aspects of remote security infrastructure. It covers everything from BCDR (Business continuity and Disaster Recovery) to anti-malware solutions, and it keeps them all up to date in real-time. Such MSSPs’ security initiatives enable flawless business operations and up-to-date audits, maintenance, and security standards. Proactive security assessments, such as penetration testing, access audits, training, and encryption management are now available to guarantee that the network is as secure as possible.

Support Services MSPs

Managed service providers frequently use this option. It usually covers all IT support services, from troubleshooting to dealing with complex IT tasks. Support services that are operated transfer the management of a company’s IT assistance to a third-party service provider specializing in handling business IT systems. This type of managed service is relevant to information technology, where the service provider monitors systems, resolves issues, and does work on a proactive basis. Users can raise tickets and have the MSP handle all issues promptly and efficiently if they have concerns with their managed support contract.

Endpoint Management MSPs

Note that companies’ complicated remote desktop administration requirements have skyrocketed in recent years. As a result, a managed IT service provider takes on the responsibility of addressing all of these pain points with the appropriate solution(s). Patch management, asset management, software and OS deployment, software metering, license management and compliance, remote control, and much more are just a few of the responsibilities such MSPs take on to help their clients save time and increase productivity.

Cloud MSPs

Cloud MSPs administer a company’s cloud infrastructure, allowing enterprises to benefit from enterprise-grade IT infrastructure without the associated costs of management and maintenance. Hence, they identify a flexible strategy for businesses to plan for future growth, emphasizing innovation and enhancing security compliance requirements. Some of the benefits of having a cloud MSP are cost-efficiency, predictable expenses, solid infra, security in the cloud, centralized network services, quicker response time, etc.

Wireless and mobile computing MSPs

Managed Wireless and Mobile Computing are based on mobile computing and cloud computing concepts, in which mobile applications are executed through data management, processing, and communication. The managed service provider is well-versed in ad hoc and infrastructure networks, communication properties, network technologies, and data formats.

Application MSPs

Small & Medium Businesses often find it difficult and expensive to maintain crucial web applications due to frequently changing business processes and a diverse application infrastructure. Application Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are quite helpful in above instance. SMBs benefit from service providers who manage applications such as CRM, HRMS, Healthcare, CMS, ERP & other published applications. One can assure uptime for these business apps by proactively monitoring the underlying application infrastructure in addition to the monitoring performance.

What do successful MSPs have in common?

  • Faster response: A managed service provider must respond to all the organization’s questions promptly and have a response window corresponding to the severity of the problem. If a firm is multinational or operates on a 24-hour basis, a top MSP would typically provide round-the-clock support.
  • Flexible pricing: A business-friendly managed service provider (MSP) would offer pricing options that are adaptable to a firm’s support needs and budgetary constraints.
  • Security: Successful MSPs implement security measures and respond to data loss or security breaches on time. Because the number of individuals who work from home, use various devices (both BYOD and mobile), and are no longer confined to a physical space has increased dramatically, any MSP should have a complete awareness of security needs and requirements and be able to provide them.
  • Effective downtime management: If a firm encounters downtime due to an Internet outage, hardware failure, or any other issue, the MSP should have a clear and straightforward communication plan in place to let the business know what’s going on, what measures are being taken to remedy it, and when it’ll be resolved. MSPs would discuss the potential of developing a disaster recovery strategy with organizations, having mission-critical needs, to ensure that the company has a plan in place in the event of a catastrophe.
  • Operational intelligence: A business-centric MSP would do what an organization wants and present it with alternatives. Such MSPs would have management and maintenance knowledge and the expertise to provide the business with the finest IT operational techniques.

What are the types of tools used by MSPs?

Some of the most important types of tools used by managed service providers are:

  • MSP ToolsAutomation: Helps users with automated checks, tasks, backups, fixes, and policies. Reduces client busywork by eliminating redundancy with recurrent tickets. Client-provider interactions can be more cost-effective with automated ticketing.
  • Helpdesk: Incoming tickets are automatically assigned to technicians when clients report difficulties or request support, reducing the requirement for a helpdesk coordinator. Many platforms provide helpdesk features that can be accessed via email, phone, chat, and even social media.
  • Account management: Account management software tools can handle many organizations on a same platform as separate accounts. Thus, keeping everything related to each client in one location and customizing each account to meet the needs of the client. You may also keep track of purchases and expenses per account as well as set up contract renewal reminders.
  • Remote monitoring tools: Such tools allow MSPs to manage multiple clients at once. MSPs may follow issues in real time and monitor alarms, events, reports, systems, and logs thanks to instant notifications and proven security safeguards.
  • Asset management: MSPs can keep track of their client’s numerous IT assets by manually entering them or using a distributed asset scan to import asset details from other networks. Additionally, MSPs can find and import information on specific products, and schedule automatic searches for updates on a regular basis.
  • Advanced reporting: A large amount of data means that MSPs need to sort through it all without having to export it to spreadsheets. MSPs can analyze performance and delivery across all systems and modules using the built-in reporting tools. Also, they can create an interactive dashboard using these reports to keep track of KPIs.

Why do organizations prefer MSPs?

Some of the reasons businesses opt for MSPs are below:

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  • Reduce costs: Most MSPs use a subscription-based approach that may be customized to a company’s specific needs, ranging from basic IT assistance to high-level maintenance. An MSP can help clients get the most out of their money by providing access to a team of IT experts for a fraction of the expense of hiring an in-house team.
  • Minimize downtime: Many MSPs include overnight monitoring to guarantee that the IT infrastructure is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Working with an MSP can help you avoid any downtime caused by malware, viruses, or hackers, which can result in unforeseen costs due to missed productivity.
  • Improved security: Small businesses, who cannot afford a professional in-house IT team to defend their organization against attacks and remain on top of system maintenance might consider outsourcing their IT needs to an MSP. The MSP will keep up with critical hardware and software updates and implement the newest cybersecurity best practices with the focused attention and experience of dedicated staff within the MSP organization.
  • Compliance advice: IT compliance legislation has increased in numerous industries in recent years, making it a bigger priority for most firms. An MSP can verify that the systems are compliant with all applicable rules, reducing risks and securing sensitive data, such as payment information and medical records.
  • Supporting remote workforce: An MSP can provide dedicated support to the whole team, even remote workers, because they remotely monitor and control the IT infrastructure. The staff can stay focused on their projects by having an MSP install system and software upgrades, update antivirus software, and resolve IT issues remotely.
  • Guiding with IT strategic growth: Collaboration with an MSP makes scaling an organization’s IT infrastructure easier as the company expands. Most MSPs have a variety of subscription models, and it’s simple to change the service package as the business’s requirements change.

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