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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.
The evolution of MSP started in the 1990s with the emergence of application service providers (ASPs) who helped pave the way for remote support for IT infrastructure. From the initial focus of remote monitoring and management of servers and networks, the scope of an MSP's services expanded to include mobile device management, managed security, remote firewall administration and security-as-a-service, and managed print services. Around 2005, Karl W. Palachuk, Amy Luby (Founder of Managed Service Provider Services Network acquired by High Street Technology Ventures), and Erick Simpson (Managed Services Provider University) were the first advocates and the pioneers of the managed services business model.