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What Is a Managed Service Provider (MSP): Examples & Benefits

Jesse Sumrak

You’ve likely heard the terms MSP and managed IT floating around the internet—but what is a managed service provider, and is it something you need?

We’ve got you covered.

Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about managed service providers, including:

  • What a managed service provider does (and definition)
  • MSP vs. in-house IT: what’s the difference?
  • Managed service provider example offerings
  • Why you should use a managed service provider
  • Benefits of a managed service provider
  • Typical managed IT services pricing and costs

What Is a Managed Service Provider?

Definition of Managed Service Provider: A managed service provider (MSP) is a third-party company that manages and delivers IT (information technology) services to another organization. These services tend to be digital, remote, and ongoing—however, some MSPs offer in-person IT assistance, too.

Managed service providers tend to help with cybersecurity, networking, and infrastructure management needs. They can be used to supplement your existing IT staff, or you can hire an MSP to handle everything. Other MSPs have expanded to add vendor management, procurement, staffing, and payroll services.

MSP’s pricing models make it effective for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to quickly scale IT services without exceeding their budget. They eliminate the need to hire an expanded versatile team because they provide you with a pool of talent with access (and know-how) to the latest technology.

Examples of Managed Service Provider IT Service Offerings

What does a managed service provider do? Here are examples of what the best managed service providers offer:

  • Backup configuration, management, and installation
  • Remote IT system monitoring
  • Network monitoring
  • Patch management
  • IT infrastructure management
  • Network and server maintenance
  • Fix and remediation automation
  • Help desk
  • Engineering IT support

Benefits of a Managed Service Provider

Why use a managed service provider? Good question. To help you see the benefits of a managed service provider, it’s helpful to look at the other option: in-house IT.

MSP vs. In-House IT: What Are the Differences?

When deciding how to solve your organization’s IT needs, you have three primary options:

  • In-house IT administrators
  • Managed service provider
  • Co-managed IT services

There are pros and cons to each option.

In-House IT Services: Pros and Cons

In-house IT lets you pick and choose who’s working on all your IT needs. You hire and train this team. They’re always onsite (or remotely available) to take care of what you need. Here are the pros and cons to consider:

In-House IT Pros:

  • Availability: Your in-house IT staff is on-site and ready to help at a moment’s notice. Whether that’s because a computer isn’t turning on or there’s been a network breach, your team is likely first to know.
  • Knowledge: Your specialized IT team will become familiar with your infrastructure, network, and systems, allowing them to troubleshoot quickly.
  • Trust: You know and trust your IT team. While you can develop the same trust with an MSP, it’ll take time and proven worth.

In-House IT Cons:

  • Costs: When you build an in-house IT team, you have to pay for each employee’s salary, insurance, benefits, and perks. Those costs can quickly add up.
  • Leave: Employees will take sick leave and vacation days, and you’ll need someone to step in and fill their shoes. Plus, when an IT manager leaves, they often take a chunk of the team’s knowledge and experience with them.
  • Industry Experience: Your IT can be complacent working with what they know and not be aware of upgraded technologies or emerging threats.

Managed Service Provider: Pros and Cons

Managed service providers offer benefits and risks that can be game-changers for organizations. Here’s what to consider before choosing an MSP.

Managed Service Provider Pros

  • Specialization: MSPs have large pools of talent with day-to-day experience handling IT services for a variety of industries and businesses.
  • Service-Level Agreement (SLA): Your MSP knows it needs to perform, or you might cut the contract. Employees tend to have a little more grace and less cutthroat repercussions.
  • Managed Budget: You know what you’re paying for when you hire an MSP—there aren’t any unexpected costs for staffing, training, certifications, or need on-site technology.
  • Flexibility: Replacing your MSP is easier than hiring and training a new member of your IT team. If you don’t like what you’re getting, you always have the flexibility to switch things up.
  • Scalable: Add or remove IT services quickly to match your evolving business needs.

Managed Service Provider Cons

  • Options: While it’s nice to have options, not every MSP is created equally. Some will underdeliver, while others will exceed your expectations—it’s up to you to find the right one.
  • No On-Site Presence: Some MSPs will offer on-site assistance, but it will never be immediate. You’ll have to wait for your professional to show up, which could mean longer remediation times.

Another Option: Co-Manage IT Services

You might already have a team (or want a small team on-site) to handle your IT needs. However, if your infrastructure grows more complex and difficult to manage, you can hire an MSP to co-manage your IT services with your small on-site team.

Co-managed your IT services lets you capitalize on both the benefits (for in-house and MSPs) we mentioned above. You can scale the MSP to meet your immediate needs and tailor the services over time.

For example, you might need specialized help with a certain aspect of your IT services. You could hire an MSP to handle it for you while you hire and train an on-site expert, or you could keep that part of your IT management under the control of your MSP.

Typical Managed Service Provider Pricing Models

A big part of hiring an IT service provider is the cost-savings—so what pricing and costs can you expect? Every organization will have unique needs and infrastructure, so most MSPs will offer custom pricing. However, here are the pricing models you can typically expect:

  • Per Device or Per User: MSPs sometimes charge clients a flat monthly fee depending on the number of devices or users they’ll be supporting.
  • Monitoring-Only: MSPs offer RMM software (remote monitoring and management software) to keep your infrastructure protected with top-notch security services and notifications.
  • Tiered: MSPs often offer different tiered subscription models where customers get to choose what level of coverage they want (like with many software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps). These packages tend to vary from consulting to monitoring only to complete coverage.
  • Complete Management: MSPs can offer a flat fee (per month or annual contract) to take complete control and responsibility over your IT needs.
  • Pick and Choose: MSPs offer to let you pick and choose the services you need. For example, you might only want help with backup management or a help desk—not everything else.

How AirCTRL™ Takes Care of All Your IT Services

Need a premier managed service provider you can trust? Look no further.

Airiam AirCTRL provides a variety of IT services to meet your small business’s unique needs. Whether you need a full-service solution or co-management to support your existing IT department, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s how we can help support your networks, servers, and workstations:

  • Patch management
  • Remote monitoring
  • Automated fixes and remediation
  • Remote network and server maintenance
  • Data backup management
  • Remote support
  • Desktop/laptop monitoring
  • Server monitoring
  • Disaster recovery
  • Helpdesk
  • Technical support

Trust your IT services to us so that you can go back to doing what you do best—running and growing your business.

Benefits of Working with a Local MSP

While many managed service providers offer remote IT solutions, it’s an extra benefit to work with a local MSP close to your business. Some things can only be taken care of onsite, and you often can’t afford to wait days or weeks for a professional to arrive on the scene.

Here are a few clear-cut benefits of working with a local managed service provider:

  • Relationships: Local professionals can get to know your business better, allowing them to make more tailored recommendations to your business. You get to know the faces of the experts behind your IT services. You build trust with these individuals—they aren’t strangers who rush in the door to clean up messes.
  • Proximity: You can’t afford to wait days or weeks for a professional to arrive onsite. When time is of the essence, you need a local managed service provider you can trust to arrive in hours or minutes.
  • Community: The individuals you work with come from the same communities. They care about the success of your business, and they’re committed to keeping your company and jobs safe from criminals.
  • Personalized Service: Local managed service providers get to know your business better. They know your wants, needs, challenges, and weaknesses, allowing them to provide tailored IT plans and services unique to your company.
  • Onsite Assistance: Setting anything up manually or over a Zoom call can be an absolute headache. There’s no replacing hands-on instruction and in-person assistance.

Looking for the best local managed service provider in your area? Airiam provides IT support and cybersecurity solutions to businesses in the following locations:

Want to learn more about AirCTRL and how we can support your organization? Send a message above, and we’ll reach out with more information.

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