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What is the difference between a managed service provider and a public cloud?

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By Techopedia Staff | Last updated: July 2, 2020

What is the difference between a managed service provider and a public cloud?

'Managed service provider’ (MSP) and 'public cloud’ are two terms that represent similar ideas in enterprise management. However, the meanings are slightly different.

Managed service provider simply refers to the outsourcing of enterprise processes such as networking services handled by a third party. These may include things like IP telephony or call center tools, as well as security structures such as virtual public network (VPN) or firewall features. Managed service provider options may also extend to storage options, or even into human resources processes or other normal day-to-day business processes.

Public cloud, on the other hand, describes the use of cloud architectures for public hosting. Cloud vendors maintain information and services for multiple clients on the same infrastructure. This allows for a lot of elasticity and on-demand service models, but raises some security questions.

While most managed service provider offerings are delivered in a public cloud model, the term managed service provider does not explicitly mean that cloud services are being provided. For instance, a managed service provider might offer a co-location contract, where client-owned equipment is kept in the third-party facility. That’s why talking about a managed service provider is not quite the same as talking about public cloud services.

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