The commoditization of basic managed services has compelled managed services providers to differentiate their offerings. One popular direction is managed security services. Customers increasingly demand IT security assistance from their service providers. Accordingly, services providers are developing managed security services practices or partnering with security vendors to provide cybersecurity services.
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A managed IT services provider (MSP) is most often information technology (IT) services provider that manages and assumes responsibility for providing a defined set of services to its clients either proactively or as the MSP (not the client) determines that services are needed. Most MSPs bill an upfront setup or transition fee and an ongoing flat or near-fixed monthly fee, which benefits clients by providing them with predictable IT support costs. Sometimes, MSPs act as facilitators who manage and procure staffing services on behalf of the client. In such context, they use an online application called vendor management system (VMS) for transparency and efficiency. A managed service provider is also useful in creating disaster recovery plans, similar to a corporation's. Managed Service Providers tend to prove most useful to small businesses with a limited IT budget.
At the outset of enterprise computing, information technology services and management was on a break/fix basis, meaning that computer systems were only managed by an expert when they did not work, necessitating a technician to fix it. This technician may also have been the person who built and/or installed the computer system, due to the proliferation of small IT shops that specialized in this small-scale client services at the time.