What is an MSP?

An MSP or Managed Service Provider is a third-party company that provides IT outsourcing services to other businesses. Curious to see how much an MSP can save your business? Read on.  

How Does an MSP Work?

An MSP provides outsourced services to businesses which include IT infrastructure management, network security, contract handling, user access management, payroll, and staffing. MSPs also ensure that all the devices on the network are up to date and provide support if any issues arise.

MSPs can be a tremendous asset for organizations as they take the burden out of IT management and can help keep costs down in terms of staffing and logistics. 

An MSP can be hired to manage all of a business’s IT needs or just some of them. For example, a business may only need an MSP to manage its email server. The MSP would then be responsible for ensuring that the email server is always up and running and that any problems are fixed quickly. 

MSPs often work with a variety of different businesses, each with its own unique needs. This means that they need to be able to tailor their services to each individual client. 

A nonprofit, for instance, might hire an MSP to assist with backing up hundreds of servers spread across several locations with a dedicated support team on call 24/7 to ensure smooth operations. 

One of the most important things an MSP can do is provide peace of mind to their clients. By taking care of all the IT needs of a business, an MSP allows the business to focus on what they do best while saving up to 15% in overall costs. 

MSPs can be divided into several categories:

  • Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP): MSSPs provide outsourced monitoring and management of security devices and systems and is more focused on the cybersecurity aspect of the business. 
  • Pure-play MSP: Think of Pure-play MSPs more as micro services. They include single features such as alerts or reporting.  

High-level MSP: These particular MSPs offer a full spectrum of services and dedicated support.

What Types of Services Does an MSP Offer? 

MSPs offer a wide range of IT services, depending on the needs of their clients. Some of the most common services include:

  • Network security: This can include setting up cloud firewalls and intrusion detection systems to prevent malicious activity from spreading within a defined network to security monitoring and complete infrastructure management.
  • Staffing: One of the main services of an MSP is staffing. MSPs take a lot of stress out of HR as they help fill in the gaps of the lengthy recruitment process. MSPs also handle the payments and deal with suppliers directly. In some cases, the added value might be full-time employment for the outsourced representatives as they will have a greater understanding of your business needs and technical requirements.  
     
  • Data backup and recovery: MSPs have data backup and recovery that are compatible with various cloud environments, SQL servers, files, and client-side applications in the event of a disaster.   
  • Email hosting: Having your domain and email hosted by third-party providers is essential for minimizing online threats. Email hosting can also improve brand consistency without any overhead required. 
  • Remote monitoring and management (RMM): This type of cloud-based software allows MSPs to safely manage and monitor individual endpoints and network security for an organization. 
  • Help desk support: This provides assistance to users if they have any problems with their computers or devices. MSPs provide you with technical support and troubleshooting which in many cases may be 24/7 as service reps are located in different countries. 

These are just some of the services that an MSP offers. If you are not sure what type of services you need, an MSP can help you assess your needs and choose the right services for your business.

Managed Service Provider Business Model

An MSP will work directly with clients to assess their needs. The MSP business model is a type of subscription service with clients paying a monthly fee. 

This business model is beneficial for both businesses and MSPs. Businesses don’t have to worry about hiring their own IT staff, and they can save costs by paying for the services they need. MSPs can focus on providing IT services, and they can depend on a steady stream of income.

COVID-19 forced traditional MSPs to think differently in terms of generating additional income for services. Many MSPs developed their own custom-built tools which can be offered as part of a tiered package or included in the initial plan. Some MSPs focus on certain verticals such as government or healthcare, while others offer a wide range of services. 

MSPs can charge per user or per device, in a tiered pricing structure, for monitoring services only, or on a pay-as-you-go type of plan. 

Regardless of what you choose, an MSP is required to provide you with a service-level agreement (SLA) or legally binding contract to maintain a transparent working relationship. Always review the SLA and make any necessary adjustments before any service is rendered or agreed upon.

What is the Difference Between Managed Services and Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is when businesses hire another company to provide a specific service. For example, a business may outsource staffing or disaster recovery. The company that is hired is then responsible for that specific service. Outsourcing is often a better option for businesses that only need one specific service.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of one or more IT-intensive processes such as the ones mentioned above to an external provider with more detailed knowledge. BPO companies offer telecommunications, data center management, application support, and more. They are generally based offshore. 

Managed services, on the other hand, are often a far better option for businesses because they provide a comprehensive range of IT services with access to the latest IT technology. Pricing options are more flexible with MSPs as they are more success-driven than contract-based. Both can help you build a solid IT strategy, just make sure you do your research before making a final decision.

 What is an MSP Agreement?

An MSP agreement is a contract between a business and an MSP. The agreement outlines the services that the MSP will provide, as well as the terms of the relationship between both parties.

It is important to have a written agreement in place so that both parties understand their obligations. This can help avoid misunderstandings and conflict down the road. A standard MSP agreement will have the following provisions: 

  • Priorities 
  • Provider’s responsibilities
  • Hours of availability
  • Response time
  • Resolutions
  • Confidentiality
  • Liability 
  • Exclusions
  • Escalation procedures 
  • Any guarantees
  • Terms of service
  • Services outside of normal business hours

The goal of any MSP should always be a long term business relationship. If you are considering using an MSP, be sure to ask for a copy of their agreement. This will help you understand what you can expect without any unexpected surprises.

What Security Tools Does an MSP Use?

MSPs use a variety of security tools to protect their clients’ data. Some of the most common tools include:

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR): This tool is extremely important as it protects against data loss. 
  • Firewall as a Service: A firewall is a system that prevents unauthorized access to a network. MSPs rely on advanced firewall capabilities to minimize the threat surface. 
  • Intrusion Detection: This allows MSPs to detect and investigate possible security breaches.
  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM): RMM software can help alert an MSP of any potential security crisis and is an absolute must-have for any MSP.   
  • Vulnerability Management: This helps MSPs identify and fix security vulnerabilities, such as patching outdated software.
  • DNS Filtering: MSPs are constantly monitoring the latest threats. They rely on DNS Filtering tools to block potentially dangerous sites and filter out harmful content. 

MSPs use these to create a comprehensive security solution for their clients.

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Managed IT services provide a number of benefits that businesses can’t get from in-house IT staff. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Cost savings: MSPs save organizations two-fold, in terms of operational and IT costs as all services are handled by the MSP and their partners.  
  • Scalability: Organizations can scale their business at a very low cost and without any additional investments in software technology. They can also test new technologies without the commitments. 
  • Flexibility: MSPs can often provide a range of services that vary from hosting to disaster recovery as part of the package.
  • Minimized Downtime: MSPs can help businesses avoid or minimize downtime.
  • Increased Security: MSPs can help businesses protect their data and identify any potential threats with the latest security tools.
  • Improved Productivity: MSPs can help businesses improve their IT infrastructure and make it more efficient.
  • Expertise: MSPs have the expertise to provide high-quality IT services. Highly skilled MSPs can spot an anomaly in seconds, helping businesses avert risk and potential breaches as a result.

ZTNA: The New Standard of MSP Security

MSPs are always looking for ways to improve the security of their client’s data. The latest tool in their security arsenal is ZTNA.

ZTNA is a new type of security that uses zero-trust networking to segment an organization by user roles and permissions. This means that all devices and users are treated as untrusted.

This provides a higher level of security, as it is much more difficult for hackers to gain access to a network. ZTNA also makes it easier for MSPs to manage security, as they can set customized access policies for users and devices. 

ZTNA is the new standard of MSP security and can give you peace of mind knowing that your data is safe.

A Winning Partnership for MSPs: The Perimeter 81 MSP Channel Partner Program

Are you an MSP looking to take your clients’ security to the next level? Discover how you can scale your business and earn high recurring revenues with Perimeter 81’s MSP Channel Partner Program. See how much you can earn and become a partner today! 

ZTNA vs VPN FAQ

What is an MSP?
A managed service provider is an outsourced third-party company that provides IT services to businesses.
What is the Difference Between Managed Services and Outsourcing?
Managed services are a type of IT service where the MSP manages and maintains the IT infrastructure for the client. Outsourcing is when the MSP provides IT services to the client, but the client is responsible for managing and maintaining the IT infrastructure.
What is an MSP agreement?
An MSP agreement is a contract between the MSP and the client. The agreement outlines the services that the MSP will provide, as well as the terms and conditions of the agreement.
What is an example of an MSP?
MSPs can provide a range of services, such as staffing, security, and data backup and recovery.

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