Written by 
Ty

What Is a Managed Service Provider?

Published On 
December 19, 2022

You know, in this ever-evolving world, businesses continually search for new strategies to stay ahead of the curve. They often embrace complex technologies, and to manage these tech infrastructures more efficiently, they’ve started looking towards managed service providers (MSPs). But what exactly is a Managed Service Provider?

What is a Managed Service Provider

Simply put, an MSP is a company that offers specialized IT services, maintaining and managing the IT infrastructure of other organizations. This arrangement becomes particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises that might not have the necessary IT capabilities to cope with their current and future needs. By partnering with MSPs, these businesses can access their expertise. Services might be provided on-site, remotely from the MSP’s base, or even via cloud-based systems, depending on the specifics of the service agreement.

What Does a Managed Service Provider Do?

MSPs perform a wide array of functions. Some offer comprehensive services that include:

  • Establishing and maintaining networks and infrastructure
  • Offering cybersecurity services
  • Delivering support services like troubleshooting
  • Managing wireless and mobile devices
  • Assisting in communication services like VOIP
  • Handling software and cloud configurations
  • Overseeing onboarding/offboarding of employees

However, not every MSP offers this entire spectrum of services. That’s why it’s important to align with a provider whose offerings match your business needs.

What is a Managed Service Agreement

A managed service agreement serves as a guideline that defines the relationship between an MSP and its clients. It outlines the service model being used and can be customized to cater to organizations with specific requirements. This agreement primarily defines the scope of work, details the services to be performed, and sets expectations. The aim is to foster clear understanding and avoid any operational surprises.

Is a Managed Service Provider Right for You?

MSPs can operate as the solo IT department of your business, or they can supplement your in-house team. Here are some tell-tale signs that indicate you might benefit from an MSP partnership:

  • You’re planning to move your data to the cloud soon.
  • Your in-house IT team needs more time for crucial projects.
  • Your business is growing rapidly and requires a full in-house IT team.
  • You’re considering setting up a disaster contingency plan for your data.
  • You’re seeking ways to cut down your IT costs with a fixed monthly fee.
  • You believe your employees could benefit from more flexible and collaborative IT systems.
  • You have or are planning to have remote-based workers.
  • Your business deals with sensitive data.

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, it’s highly likely that your business could use the outsourced IT support that an MSP offers.

Different Flavors of Managed Service Providers

MSPs typically offer a variety of IT managed services tailored to your specific business needs. Some of the main types of services include Managed Networks & Infrastructure, Managed Security, Managed Support Services, Managed Cloud Infrastructure, Managed Software as a Service (SaaS), Managed Wireless & Mobile Computing, Managed Communication Services, and Managed Data Analytics.

Perks of Partnering with a Managed Service Provider

An MSP brings several benefits to businesses of varying sizes. Some of the standout advantages include cost reduction, allowing your team to focus on core objectives, expertise in emerging technologies, scalability, and real-time support.

Choosing Your Managed Service Provider

Now that you’re well-versed in what a managed service provider is, the next step is to find the one that best fits your business. This requires more than a quick Google search – you need to define your goals and consider various factors such as the range of services offered, security measures, expertise, customer service quality, customization options, onboarding process, and cost. Ultimately, the best MSP for your business will tick all these boxes and seamlessly align with your business objectives.

Understanding what a managed service provider (MSP) does is the first step. The next, and perhaps more critical step, is choosing the most suitable one for your business. Selecting an MSP is not a task to be taken lightly. It requires careful thought and clear articulation of your business goals.

MSP Range of Services

MSPs offer a wide variety of services. Some offer holistic services, overseeing all your IT and cloud-related needs, while others offer specific services targeting certain elements of your tech operations. Choose a managed service provider that fully addresses your unique needs.

Security:

Despite the high security provided by cloud and other IT services, it’s essential to partner with an MSP that prioritizes security and operates within secure environments. Familiarize yourself with their security protocols and data handling procedures before signing any agreement.

Expertise:

An ideal MSP possesses extensive experience and proficiency in providing dependable IT solutions that not only address your current IT needs but can also adapt to future issues. Such a provider will effectively manage your systems and introduce innovative solutions.

Customer Service:

Look for an MSP that offers exceptional customer service at all stages of interaction, from the sales team to your account manager. An MSP becomes a critical part of your tech team; you want to ensure you’re working with a service-oriented provider.

Customization:

Thanks to cloud technology, MSPs can customize their services to align with your specific business needs. Opt for an MSP willing to tailor their services to help you maximize your technology for better business results.

Onboarding:

Consider the timeline and costs associated with onboarding a potential MSP. Each MSP has its unique processes and styles, so it’s important to find one whose onboarding process aligns with your needs and budget.

Cost:

Lastly, evaluate the value proposition. Ensure the services your business receives are worth the investment. Carefully review the contract to understand the services you should expect before committing.

Remember, the aim is to find an MSP that will support your business’s growth and enhance your operations, not just one that offers IT solutions. Therefore, take your time, do your research, and make an informed decision.

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Lumitiv is an experienced Calgary based IT Support and Cyber Security provider with over 14 years on the job. We help simplify and guide businesses through the technical landscape.
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