Managed service provider companies are changing the way businesses manage their IT infrastructure. The value of the managed IT service provider market in the USA in 2020 is around 152.02 billion, expecting it to hit the 274B mark in 2026. As the role and competence of managed services providers (MSP) grew, so has their contribution to the smooth functioning of a business.
Today, MSPs leverage skilled resources to deliver a wide range of value-added services that are forward-looking, robust, and reliable. As a result, they play a strategic role not only in your systems upkeep but also in your business outcomes, competitiveness, and eventually customer satisfaction.
What does a managed services provider do
Managed services is a specialty area and an MSP’s team comprises specialized experts. As a result, these teams can handle complex situations arising within modern-day IT infrastructure.
What MSPs do can include a very wide number of critical and non-critical activities. At one end of their service spectrum, they ensure your systems are always up and running. At the other end, they provide you flexibility to quickly scale up or scale down, and also help you interpret the emerging technology trends.
Here’s a brief overview of what a manager service provider does:
Manages your IT infrastructure
Oftentimes, businesses are unable to devote internal staff (or time) to manage the IT infrastructure. And yet, IT infrastructure being the backbone of modern-day businesses, it’s critical to keep the systems in the best shape possible 24×7.
MSPs fill this gap very efficiently. Business organizations outsource the maintenance of their entire IT infrastructure to managed services providers. This service typically covers managing equipment and storage but often extends into taking care of the processes and applications as well.
When an MSP manages your IT infrastructure, you can stop worrying about system outages, or network failures. As a matter of fact, MSPs have evolved to the level that they can help you with future-facing activities like planning for capacity expansion or laying out the roadmap for IT enhancement.
Assists in compliance
If anything, modern businesses are subject to both: increased security challenges and tighter regulations. Businesses – and not just the SMBs – are increasingly looking outside their organizations to work with specialists.
Managed services providers have developed the bandwidth and competencies to help you overcome compliance challenges. Beginning with proactive maintenance that seeks to plug loopholes, MSPs will quickly work towards establishing practices and processes that will establish a strong framework. This framework will, in turn, ensure compliance on an ongoing basis.
Additionally, MSPs cut down the regulatory reporting time substantially because they bring with them best practices that have matured over time. This can infuse better governance into your internal processes and meet regulatory challenges.
Tighten the security
It’s safe to say that security breaches have contributed to the maximum number of nightmares to businesses. And the irony is that even though data security is extremely important, it often remains a little out of reach of the core competencies of most businesses.
An MSP brings expertise in mitigating operational risks and ensuring data security. With a combination of skills and diligently followed best practices, an MSP is in a much better position to protect your business’s virtual assets than you possibly can.
Because they employ robust mechanisms, a managed services provider gives you the confidence to serve your customers better. That, in turn, raises your brand value due to the increased faith customers can put in you. From audits to documentation and controls to testing, your MSP is better placed to keep your business safe from bad actors.
What is included in managed IT services
Now that we have a fair idea of what MSPs do, let’s get down to the specifics. What all is included under managed IT services?
Application management and support: Manages all activities related to keeping apps up and running.
Infrastructure management services: Maintain the operation health of the IT infrastructure.
Cloud management services: Manages all cloud activities of the organization.
Managed security services: Manages data security, predicts and prevents intrusions, malware, and other security attacks.
While the term managed IT services is wide and can cover a lot of ground, the following are among the most common and most popular services that fall under managed IT services:
Application management and support
Considering the way business applications are deeply entrenched in our lives, it’s only natural that they receive dedicated support and management. And given the intense competition to gain priority on a smartphone, you can’t risk your app malfunctioning, crashing, or throwing up bugs – you could swiftly be replaced by a competitor.
Which is why businesses are outsourcing the management of their apps to specialized MSPs. Application management and support, sometimes shortened to AMS, is about outsourcing all activities that are related to ensuring that applications keep performing optimally all the time.
It frees up your own teams to focus on more important projects, such as new product development, and reduces your overheads in terms of fixed costs associated with in-house teams.
The delegation of such tasks to an outside company – an MSP in this case – is pivoted around the core idea of providing uninterrupted service to customers without having to invest in internal teams. Provided they have the competencies, the MSP will also provide support in form of faster resolution as well as releasing patches or upgrades even for complex apps.
Infrastructure management services
The primary goal of infrastructure management can be summed up thus: minimizing downtime and remaining business-ready round-the-clock, by maintaining the operational health of all equipment.
Keeping all the systems infrastructure fully functional can be rather comprehensive, given that infrastructure itself can include cloud as well as on-site computing assets. Irrespective of the range of service you choose, having the assurance that your systems won’t fail you is precious. In the short run, it raises your efficiency and business outcomes; in the long run it proves to be a major competitive advantage.
Managed service providers following industry-leading best practices can ensure any IT exigency will receive quick, solution-focussed attention. They will be diligently proactive, which means you are protected from network failures and downtimes. Finally, they will bring an experienced team with which to streamline your operations and IT-facing processes.
Cloud managed services
Looking to migrate to the cloud but the complexities appear overwhelming? MSPs offering cloud management services could be your best answer.
A skilled managed service provider will help you with everything cloud: from design and provision to monitoring and security. Managed cloud service providers are typically equipped to help you with governance challenges and resilience.
Expect the MSP to help you in each of the five key aspects of cloud: financial analysis, configuration, security provisioning, maintenance, and monitoring. You could fully substitute your internal teams by an MSP or avail the services of one as an extension of your own teams. These services bring you a better ROI, improved resource optimization, and a better control over costs.
Managed security service
Security lapses, malafide attacks, and avoidable compromises happen mostly on the border where you are less vigilant. Because security in the digital world isn’t your core capability, you are less equipped to fend off any ongoing security challenges. Your digital assets, including customer data or sensitive product information, are always under the potential risk of ending up in the wrong hands.
Which is where MSPs come in. An MSP’s ability to deliver faster results originates from the fact that they bring with them powerful insights on blind spots – areas of which you have incomplete or irregular information.
By better handling threats and better protecting your data with firewalls, the MSP augments your security, raises your industry reputation, and improves customer satisfaction. They will be in a much better position to detect attempts to intrude into systems and gauge their impact beforehand. On the whole, MSPs hugely improve your institutional readiness to combat security threats and safeguard your information.
How much do managed IT services cost
Managed service provider companies consolidate skilled resources in order to deliver their services to business organizations. Based on the nature of their engagement, expertise, and range of services, managed IT services cost vary considerably.
Let’s look at some of the pricing models of MSPs.
1. Monitoring and alerting model
Under this model, the MSP is responsible for constantly monitoring your systems, checking to see if things are in order. The moment they detect a threat, lapse, or an otherwise unwelcome event, they will report it to
your teams who can take it over from there. Even within this pricing model, you can think of levels like spam detection, anti-virus, or OS (operating systems) monitoring and so on.
This MSP pricing model is the entry-level pricing model and hence quite budget-friendly.
2. Selective services model
Also known as a la carte model. This pricing model lets businesses choose to avail only those services that they feel they need. Then the customers can ask the MSP to prepare a pricing plan based on the services they’ve chosen.
While this pricing model appears to be attractive, it has its own limitations because it takes a siloed approach. For instance, the customer may cut one corner too many and ultimately end up with doing too many things themselves, thereby defeating the purpose of availing a specialist’s services.
3. Comprehensive service model
It’s the MSP version of all-you-can-eat dinner. You agree to pay the managed service provider a fixed sum and then avail every single service the MSP offers. Depending upon your SLA (service level agreement), the MSP would either offer you 24/7 support or support for weekdays. Under the latter, you can still avail their services on weekends if you need, by paying an extra fee.
Organizations with a bigger budget often prefer this model, primarily because it brings near-total predictability of costs.
4. Tiered pricing model
One of the most popular MSP pricing models, the tiered approach to pricing of services clubs different services into bundles of three or four. Each of these bundles may be called a Level, where each Level represents a certain range of sophistication.
Level 1 is the first-line support level which carries out basic, routine problem solving. Issues that are not resolved by them are passed on to Level 2. Apart from being better experts, Level 2 (or L2) have access to more information about the client’s organizational functioning. Problems that are not solved at L2 may be escalated to Level 3, which is the level of specialist architects and engineers.
The best part is that it gets resources involved based on the issue severity. For instance, a critical problem would be responded to in minutes and solved within a few hours, while a minor, non-urgent issue would be allowed more time. That lets businesses exercise total control over costs, without sacrificing their own processes the slightest.
The actual costing of MSP
By now it must be amply clear that given the complexities, range of expertise, and uniqueness of services under MSP, it’s not possible to pin down a number under any model. Each organization brings a unique set of challenges to the service provider and the managed services provider companies will need to carefully examine them in the correct paradigm before quoting their fees.
Institutional readiness in terms of the competence of available internal teams, mechanisms and urgency of issue detection and resolution, and likely course-correction required in tactical and strategic handling of assets are three of the major factors that will determine the actual fee structure.
This is the practice we follow. If you are a business looking to figure out how much do managed IT services cost, we’ll be happy to speak with you. After carefully evaluating your requirements and our involvement required, we will be able to offer you the options that will be a great fit.
The next step
A competent, experienced managed IT services provider can make a huge difference in the way your customers perceive you and the ease with which you do business. As you just discovered, an MSP can relieve you from a lot of activities, right from monitoring to complying.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of working with an MSP is that you can focus on your core competencies (and stick to the knitting, as they say). Allow teams with specialized knowledge to do what they are best at – keeping your systems and processes in great shape. Avail their inputs at strategic levels, benefit from their expertise, and always be on the forefront of technology.
If you’re already considering speaking to an MSP, or want to know more on managed IT services, you’re on the right track. Reach out to us with what you have in mind and we can jointly evaluate how to best protect and enhance your digital performance. Let us talk!