Managed Service Provider

What Does Managed Service Provider Mean?

A managed service provider (MSP) is a type of IT service company that provides server, network, and specialized applications to end users and organizations. These applications are hosted and managed by the service provider.


Managed service providers tend to be Web hosting or application service providers that allow users to outsource their network and application resource procedures under a delivery agreement. In most cases, MSPs own the entire physical back-end infrastructure and provide resources to end users remotely over the Internet on a self-service, on-demand basis.

Techopedia Explains Managed Service Provider

Managed service providers monitor, supervise and secure outsourced network or application procedures on behalf of the organizations that are using those services. MSPs have specialized infrastructure, human resources and industry certifications, and they provide 24/7 monitoring and provisioning of additional services for their clientèle. MSPs that provide servers and network services have massive data center facilities, which can host a number of different Web applications, private enterprise or vertical software applications, and simultaneously interconnect networks through virtual private networking to many different sourcing organizations and individuals.

MSPs rely on a vendor management system (VMS), which is a software program that provides efficiency and transparency related to all facets of the dependent and contract workforce.

MSPs manage basic communication services, like frame relays and leased line wide area networks (WAN), while integrating and managing a variety of enterprise services, including:

  • Standard access and transport
  • Managed premises
  • Web hosting
  • Video networking
  • Unified messaging
  • Completely outsourced network administration, including features like messaging, call center, IP telephony, managed firewalls, virtual private networks (VPN) and network server monitoring or reporting
  • Staffing management, per customer specifications

Related Terms

Latest Cloud Service Providers Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…