imply put, a Managed Service Providers is a managed service provider that offers IT support and server management services for an organization. This service is usually deployed in place of employing a large dedicated IT department and for small organizations seeking for more robust technical solutions for their enterprise. These services typically include server management, including monitoring, upgrades, virtualization and application security. They also include the provision of hardware and other related services to organizations. The provider uses its expertise and experience in server management to offer customized solutions that will meet the organization’s unique needs.
There are two types of Managed Service Providers (MSPs): hardware-based and software-based. For small businesses, it is advisable to opt for the software-based solution, as it allows for greater scalability and flexibility compared to hardware-based solutions. With the use of the Microsoft Exchange Server, administrators can efficiently monitor all aspects of the organization’s server, including e-mail monitoring, web site performance monitoring, server health and performance monitoring and application performance reporting.
There are three types of managed service providers available for businesses who may need them: on-demand, semi-custom and central providers.
On-demand Managed Service Providers are normally the cheapest option, as they are only offered when a demand for their services is felt by the organization. However, as the name suggests, on-demand managed providers are normally scheduled to provide the services on a particular date and at a particular cost. Businesses often find this cost effective and less costly than hiring additional staff members for on-demand management services.
These services providers are also known as third-party managed services providers. The most notable advantage of these third-party providers is that they are often less expensive. They have to pay a fixed monthly fee to Microsoft, which accounts for the overall decrease in costs incurred by the organization. However, they do not possess the knowledge or expertise required in assessing and ensuring Microsoft’s compliance standards.
Microsoft has introduced the managed print option with its MSN web portal. This new service offers managed services from established providers at a lower rate.
The MSN print tool is managed by the companies that offer managed print services, which in turn, provide the portal with various options such as the print preview, print management workflow, print delivery and print compliance. Print compliance involves ensuring that companies’ print materials are produced according to specific and required guidelines and in accordance with different print quality standards. MSN provides a variety of services to help organizations meet their own in-house and external print quality standards.
One of the other advantages provided by managed print services providers is that they allow organizations to reduce their IT support costs. The providers offer IT professionals with guidance on improving the information technology infrastructure of the organization, which results in greater efficiency in terms of deployment and maintenance of the infrastructure as well as in reducing operational costs. Organizations may also reduce IT costs by improving their Information Technology operational procedures and practices and by automating business processes. These procedures may include the creation of data models, the integration of information technology systems, integration of enterprise databases and integration of application and business process applications.
Organizations may also benefit from managed service providers manage their networks and servers. The providers effectively manage the security of an organization’s network by determining threats, which could be categorized into critical, medium and minor threats. They also provide their clients information technology security programs that involve daily monitoring, vulnerability assessment and patch management to help them identify and solve risks.
- Managed service providers also provide managed service for information technology assets such as desktops, laptops, network hardware and storage devices, which are managed through remote management tools.
- These tools are available to organizations through the internet and may be remotely hosted by the managed service providers on their premises or in a data center. These tools help them achieve cost savings and improve business operations.
- Some managed services may also include disaster recovery management, which includes recovery planning, recovery plans, testing activities, recovery plans executed, monitoring activities, inventory management, migration management and technical support.