Managed service providers (MSPs) are organizations that provide a range of services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, through ongoing and regular support and active administration. These services can be provided at a customer's premises, in the MSP's data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center. An MSP manages their IT environment from soup to nuts, taking care of day-to-day technology needs and providing strategic consulting with senior officials. Partnering with an MSP is one of the most effective ways to improve productivity and set your organization up for long-term success.
Under a managed service model, an MSP always provides a service, rather than simply responding when something goes wrong. This includes the use of professional services automation (PSA) and remote management and monitoring (RMM) tools. For example, an MSP offering backup as a managed service would take full responsibility for planning and executing a company's backup needs on an ongoing basis. The managed disaster recovery aspect of this service generally means that your data is properly backed up, verified, and can be restored within a timeframe that fits your RTO and RPO needs.
Managed service providers also offer service-level agreements (SLAs) that define minimum service levels (such as equipment uptime guarantees or data recovery timelines) that customers can expect as part of a managed services agreement. It is important to have lawyers review the contracts that govern a managed service before they are used to offer the service to clients. Pricing for managed services is one of the most challenging, but also the most critical, aspects of running an MSP business. Some MSPs will also license these products for you, so it's included in the one-time subscription payment for managed services, rather than a separate cost.
A managed service provider will oversee, implement and maintain your company's digital assets. This service is centrally managed by your MSP, so neither you nor your employees will know that it protects you silently in the background. Before signing the dotted line with the first MSP that appears on Google, review these best practices for choosing a managed service provider.