What Does an MSP Do?
An important part of what defines an MSP is that MSPs offer the solutions described above in the form of “managed services” (hence the term Managed Service Provider).
A managed service is a solution that is provided on an ongoing basis, with the MSP taking full responsibility for delivering whichever outcomes are guaranteed as part of the managed service.
For example, an MSP who delivers backup as a managed service would take full responsibility for planning and executing a business’s backup needs on an ongoing basis. Likewise, an MSP who offers Security-as-a-Service would fully manage and monitor a client’s cybersecurity needs.
The value of managed services is that they provide clients with completely hands-off, outsourced IT solutions. In most cases, all a client needs to do to consume a certain managed service is to sign a contract with an MSP who provides it. There is no need on the client’s part to purchase, set up, or manage hardware or software.
A second key benefit of the managed services that MSPs provide is that they are offered on an ongoing basis. In this respect, managed services are often compared to what is known as a break-fix model, where companies seek outsourced IT help only when something goes wrong. Under a managed service model, an MSP is always providing a service, rather than simply responding when something fails.
That said, some common IT solutions that MSPs address include:
- General IT support services (for fixing hardware and software issues when something goes wrong).
- Data backup and disaster recovery.
- Networking infrastructure setup and management.
- Managed communications, which means providing services like email, telephone networks, and so on.
- Cybersecurity, or Security-as-a-Service.
- Auditing and compliance (for instance, HIPAA or ITARcompliance).
- Data analysis and reporting.
- Cloud computing setup and management.