Types of Managed Service Providers with Examples

As you know, there are different types of managed service providers (MSPs). Each type of MSP classification offers different aspects and degrees of service, designed to tailor to the needs to today’s IT organizations.  

According to Gartner, managed service providers deliver services such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration. They do this in three places: on the customers’ premises, in the MSP’s data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center.

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MSP Types by Size and Responsibility

The differences in these MSP types are based on the portion of the real estate to be managed and the responsibilities:

  • Pure-play MSPs. These are smaller providers that focus on monitoring and performance of an application or a specific service. They provide a management service with an emphasis on reporting. From a responsibility perspective, they are less involved in the customer’s business outside of notification and alerts. Remediation is done by the client’s IT staff.
  • Staffing legacy MSPs. These MSPs take on a larger responsibility when it comes to managing their client’s needs. They offer a wide range of services, including monitoring, reporting, software installation and upgrades. They tend to be quite large in terms of staffing and have the tools and capabilities to service the needs of larger companies.
  • High-level MSPs. These MSPS enable their clients to outsource entire IT processes and infrastructures. They go well beyond focusing on a specific need and offer a spectrum of services to cover a variety of managed service needs. They have the ability to take on the complete delivery of service(s) with full responsibility to assure uptime and performance.

The wide range of services that MSPs cater to lead us to the next type of classification:

MSP Types by Managed Service

Examples of managed services include application and infrastructure management to provide connectivity, network monitoring, security, virtualization, and disaster recovery. In addition, managed services may also include storage, desktop and communications, mobility, help desk, and technical support. For virtually any IT need that organizations may have, there is an MSP out there ready to help out.

The following is just a subset of the types of managed services. Different types of MSPs cater to one or more of the following:

  • Network and Infrastructure. Services include networking and communication infrastructure, managed hosting, and storage services. Environments may include Managed Wide Area Networks (WANs), Local-Area Networks (LANs), managed gateways, and automated network support.
  • Security Services. These services include antivirus, malware protection, patch management, and security updates.
  • Support Services. These services include help center, IT operations management. Diagnostics, and remediation.
  • Data Analytics. These services include data acquisition and analysis, and AI/ML technologies to provide insights.
  • Software-as-a-Service. SaaS is the modern-day equivalent of the traditional ASP model.
  • Cloud Infrastructure. This service provides cloud-based computing, networks, operating systems, and storage.
  • Communication and Collaboration. These services include data, video and voice services over the IP network. This is where you’ll find managed contact center and unified communication and collaboration (UCCE) tools.
  • Mobile Communications and Computing. These are integrated mobile software services that allow your entire team the ability to connect to the network from any location.

MSPs for MSPs

Early MSPs were essentially hardware and software vendors. With the emergence of RMM, these value-added-resellers were capable of providing basic managed services. Of course, the development of home-grown RMM tools, NOCs and IT operations management platforms (ITOM) is a tremendously expensive proposition. Smaller MSPs are simply not equipped to take on such a burden.

As a result, while an MSP helps a customer focus on their core business by outsourcing IT services, we now have third-parties that focus on allowing MSPs to focus on their core business by supplying them with technology solutions. This has led to the evolution of a new type: essentially an MSP for MSPs. These MSPs focus on providing RMM/NOC/ITOM services via their own products, often in the form of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

The many types of MSPs exist to cater to the wide variety of needs modern businesses depend on for their operations, growth and profitability. In fact, MSPs are the ultimate enabler when it comes to Digital Transformation. They make it possible for IT organizations to focus on their core business and hand-off the messy aspects of managing the infrastructure to the MSP

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