What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?


Choosing the right IT partner for your business is really key. They’ll need to understand your business goals, your IT infrastructure and offer the right services to allow your business to thrive through technology. Keep on reading to find out more about what an MSP does and how to pick the right one for you.

What does MSP stand for?

MSP stands for Managed Service Provider, Gartner.com has a great definition of it which we’ll leave here:

A managed service provider (MSP) delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration on customers’ premises, in their MSP’s data center (hosting), or in a third-party data center.

It’s important that the MSP you choose can deliver the right services for your business, for example if you are open 24/7, it’s a good idea to employ an IT partner that has an Out of Hours service. Additionally, they must fit within your budget and compliance requirements, otherwise you might see more problems up the road. Continue reading for some pointers on choosing a good fit for your business.

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Local to you

You might notice that MSPs are usually tied to a specific area, and don’t tend to operate outside of it. There are many logical reasons for this, one being that if an onsite visit is required, getting to and from site won’t cost you as much due to the reduced travelling time required by the engineer. Less travel time = fewer billable hours, saving you a decent chunk of money. As well as this, having your IT partner close by is also beneficial for emergencies when having to borrow equipment or get your device fixed asap.

IT Experts

Of course, it’s super important that your IT partner knows what it’s doing, and has experienced engineers at hand to help you with your queries. An indication of an experienced and mature MSP is a demonstration that engineers have obtained certifications in their field, some to look out for are:

  • CISSP (Cyber Security)
  • Azure Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Associate
  • Microsoft MD-100

A good Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Not all MSPs include an SLA in their contract, as it makes them vulnerable to scrutiny and puts pressure on their teams if they don’t have the right infrastructure. This means that MSPs who do have a timed SLA are likely to provide you with the best service, and guarantees that your issues will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Developing your staff

An IT partner that is committed to developing your staff’s IT literacy is going to be really good for the productivity of your business. The more your end user’s understand the systems and programs they are using, the less likely they are to get stuck and experience downtime. When making a decision on which MSP to work with, keep an eye out if they offer any educational opportunities for your workforce.