A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a third-party company that remotely manages a customer's information technology (IT) infrastructure and end-user systems. It provides services such as network, application, infrastructure, and security, through ongoing, regular support and active administration at customer premises, in their MSP's data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center. Outsourcing services to specialized companies has long been understood as a cost-cutting movement. But there are other potential benefits that an MSP can bring.
It can help your company stay safe from the wild west of the internet, demonstrate compliance with service level agreements (SLAs), find talent, manage operations that customers don't see, such as IT, human resources, vendor management, and procurement. It can also accelerate digital transformations and provide core services, systems integration and help desk services for remote work, support and cybersecurity. When you sign a managed services contract, you subscribe for a monthly fee (less than the cost of hiring the same staff, in-house) that includes upgrades, service or support, maintenance, monitoring, and supplies. Depending on the MSP's specialties and approach, these may include services such as centralized antivirus, mail support, managed network, cybersecurity training, data backup, disaster recovery, and others.
Key players in the managed services market include Accenture, Fujitsu, IBM, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Lenovo, DXC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development. Managed security service providers and managed IT service providers can also focus on specific industries such as legal, financial services, health and government agencies. Managed services also differentiate from traditional IT consulting agreements in that consulting is generally project-based while managed services are ongoing subscriptions.