With the advent of cloud computing, managed IT services have also evolved to include cloud services. Service providers, for example, may focus on infrastructure as a service (IaaS), providing managed public cloud services in conjunction with cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft. Service providers may also market managed platform as a service (PaaS) offerings or partner with software as a service (SaaS) vendors such as Salesforce in the CRM space and ServiceNow in the service management market.

As with other necessary business functions like utilities, the end user pays for services provided offsite, such as remote monitoring and management, help desk solutions, backup and disaster recovery, and more. Managed IT services thus become essential operating expenses to maintain core functionality, rather than additional expenses applied during exceptional issue resolutions with break/fix models. MSPs enable their end users to run their businesses more smoothly and more efficiently than they would otherwise. Additionally, they offer SaaS-based solutions at a price that can’t be achieved with in-house options.


The first books on the topic of managed services: Service Agreements for SMB Consultants: A Quick-Start Guide to Managed Services[18] and The Guide to a Successful Managed Services Practice[19] were published in 2006 by Palachuk and Simpson, respectively. Since then, the managed services business model has gained ground among enterprise-level companies. As the value-added reseller (VAR) community evolved to a higher level of services, it adapted the managed service model and tailored it to SMB companies.


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Managed IT services allow businesses to delegate their IT operations to an expert third-party organization that specializes in handling these responsibilities. These third-party organizations, known as Managed Service Providers (MSPs), are responsible for the entirety or portions of a business’ IT systems, as agreed upon in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). IT equipment is typically procured by the client, and depending on the SLA, Managed Service Providers may provide round-the-clock monitoring, issue resolution and reporting, and more.
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