What is a Managed Service Provider?
A Managed Service Provider, or an MSP, is a third-party company that remotely manages its clients’ hardware and software. This includes support of the servers, networks, cloud services, special software, and other systems. MSPs also handle infrastructure planning and setting, management of all IT processes and contractors if needed. Overall, it’s an all-in-one solution for those who are not ready to create their own IT department.
MSPs usually provide:
- Evaluation of client’s existing systems
- A customized selection of optimal solutions
- Project installation and setup
- Monitoring and support
- Modernization and optimization
- Scheduled maintenance
So, are MSPs just another outsource contractor for a business? Yes and no. Yes because it is, indeed, outsourcing. And no because MSPs don’t just complete one task and close the contract. Some work with their clients for decades. It’s full-time permanent support to the businesses.
Moreover, MSPs can be specialized. Each company needs a different infrastructure – the software and hardware required to operate an online media or a blog will be very different from those of an online store or marketplace. By choosing a provider that specializes in one specific area – say, eCommerce – the company makes sure to receive the most expert support it could possibly find. You can’t achieve this by outsourcing one-time administrative tasks.
Why do companies choose to outsource IT management?
There are many reasons a company can turn to MSP.
Large companies outsource the management of their IT infrastructure to offload their IT people so that they have more time for important strategic tasks. In this case, MSP supports their work, deals with routine tasks, and fixes errors and malfunctions. Thanks to MSP, a company gets an IT boost, because its own specialists free up time to look for ways of optimization that will suit their business best.
For medium-sized businesses MSPs are a great way to optimize their spendings. Outsourcing IT management can be a lot cheaper and more effective than hiring a whole IT department. Instead of wasting time recruiting, testing different solutions, and fixing bugs companies hand over IT management to professionals who will find the right solutions much faster.
To startups, MSPs give the opportunity to explore the market, hypothesize, and test new ideas skipping all the hiccups. Often it’s the technical issues that delay the development of a prototype and, as a result, slow down the growth of a startup. For entrepreneurs who face such difficulties MSPs can become a great solution.
As you see turning to an MSP can benefit businesses of any size. There are also some pros to managed services providers that apply to any company:
- Consistency in quality and IT support
- Specialized support for any kind of business
- Cost efficiency
- Constant monitoring, fast response, and troubleshooting
- Availability and high security of services
- High expertise
What can go wrong?
There’s nothing perfect in this world, and MSPs have some downsides too.
- The first and the main con of managed IT is the lack of control over their infrastructure. After handing over management of IT to a third-party company, any action with its infrastructure will go through the MSP staff. That could feel awkward and unusual for those who are used to holding everything under their immediate control. On the other hand, for many other companies being free from all the IT hassle is a relief.
- Another important thing is that it’s very important to choose your provider carefully. There’s always a risk of running into someone who doesn't care about data security. There’s only one way out – good thorough research.
- And the last thing – MSPs always provide their services as a package. If a company wants to use software or hardware that’s not included in that package, their support will have to be discussed separately.
To summarize, managed service providers can benefit a company in many different ways. But the most important thing is that they take care of all the difficult IT stuff and let the business focus on its main goals and growth. And for many companies, that is the most decisive factor.
Since 2006, ASAP Lab has been a provider of managed services for CS-Cart, Simtech Development and 500+ eCommerce businesses from 170 countries. Our experience helps us ensure the stable operation of IT systems and solve problems of any complexity - from auditing and monitoring to improving fault tolerance and infrastructure design (IaC). Our solutions give websites stability, flexibility and high performance so you can focus on your project and not on the complexities of hosting, servers and administration.