A Managed Service Provider (MSP) remotely delivers and manages customer’s IT infrastructure and end-user systems including network and infrastructure management and support.

The outsourcing of certain services to MSPs is a way to cut costs for organizations and is also beneficial if they do not have the resources to have a full IT team in house.

Function of an MSP

There are various areas that an MSP can manage as some organizations outsource entire IT systems whilst some focus on more niche functions. Areas include:

  • Managed IT infrastructure
  • Offering cybersecurity solutions – only some MSPs offer this as some do not specialize in security measures, leaving that to MSSPs.
  • Offering technical support to employees
  • Managing user access accounts on client systems
  • Offering fully managed hardware outsourcing
  • Remote storage or servers
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

Benefits of an MSP

There are a number of operational and cost benefits involved in outsourcing to an MSP. These include:

  • Provides staff with on call assistance around the clock (if 24/7 services offered)
  • Defines the work of the IT support
  • Can fill in for in house shortages – if staff are ill or resign
  • Can cover for on premises disaster with business continuity – this is especially true if the company use MSP servers for backups.
  • Can be scalable – allowing add on and removal of services are required.
  • Reduces staffing issues for organizations during skills shortages.
  • Can replace an IT department entirely or provide niche services.

Challenges of an MSP

Although they do offer multiple benefits to organizations, there are some challenges that come with working with MSPs:

  • Not all MSPs offer security measures – if you require specific security measures it is often advised to use an MSSP.
  • Dependency on a 3rd party – organizations are dependent on the MSP to carry out required, contracted actions and may not get response to issues as quickly as they may wish
  • Waiting on a response – due to an MSP carrying out tasks for various companies, it may take a little longer to get a response to a question or support query than it would if an in-house team was available.
  • Potential upselling opportunities – the MSP will have a catalogue of services available, and organizations may find that the MSP is constantly trying to sell a new service or an upgrade on the service already being used.
  • Inaccessible information – due to the MSP taking care of all of the IT services contracted to them, organizations may have issues trying to access certain statistics or even face challenges when trying to carry out certain tasks without the MSPs permissions being required.