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What is a Managed IT Service Provider?

2nd February 2022
The words Managed IT Service Provider shouldn’t need much explaining, but, if you’re about to outsource your IT department, you’re going to need a bit more detail. In this short blog, you’ll find out: - What a managed IT service provider (MSP) is. - What they manage. - Who's cheaper - inhouse IT or MSP? - How MSP’s work out costs and much more.


IT in the workplace today is more important and more varied than ever before. The market forever has a new device, or a faster, simpler, cheaper technological way for businesses to perform day to day tasks.

But, with these technological advances comes the hassle of maintenance and monitoring, and the need for extra cybersecurity, all of which cost businesses time and money.

This is where an MSP such as JamCrackers, comes into its own.

What is an MSP?

An MSP is a third party company that manages your IT infrastructure and charges a contractually agreed set monthly fee.

What exactly do MSP’s manage?

Generally speaking, an MSP is hired to manage your business’s IT network by ensuring it’s safe from cyber-attacks and functions as it should on a day to day basis, with very little or no downtime.

Management tasks can include:

  • Network support
  • Antivirus and antimalware setup
  • Server monitoring
  • Disaster recovery and much more.

Does that mean they take over the entire IT department?

Yes and no. Some businesses, who already have inhouse IT support, hire MSP’s for specific services requiring a more professional and knowledgeable engineer.

But, understandably, this two-tier approach can create conflict, and for SME’s it’s often less cost-efficient than hiring an MSP for all your IT services.

Having one provider also means your entire network is tightly controlled at every point, and that you have direct access to highly skilled engineers and the latest services whenever they’re required, for ‘all’ aspects of your IT network.

It also means that should there be a problem, all the information regarding your network is available in one place, rather than with various individuals who may not have communicated or don’t have the skills or knowledge to deal with ongoing issues.

Which is better – an MSP or Inhouse IT support

It depends.

If you’re a large company that can pay the high salaries of in- demand IT professionals and all the associated costs of long -term employment, it would be handy to have the inhouse support when you need it.

But, for the small to medium business with a limited IT budget and not much to spare should a disaster occur, an MSP is definitely the answer.

How do MSP’s work out cost?

Costing of managed IT services can vary for many different reasons, but here are 3 ways most MSP’s work out how much to charge.

The number of users: Typically, ‘users’ are those in your company whose devices benefit from the services provided by the MSP, such as shared software, cloud services and cybersecurity etc.

The number of devices: Some MSP’s will charge per device, including laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile devices rather than by individual users.

The level of service required: Costing will often be based on the tier of service you need. If you only need a basic level of support with basic monitoring, the cost will be relatively low, but because it won’t include major upgrades or disaster recovery etc., you could find yourself having to pay an unexpected cost further down the line. Whereas, if you opt for a higher tier of service, you’ll benefit from a much more comprehensive package with services such as:

  • Telephone support.
  • Management of endpoint antivirus software.
  • Cloud backup.
  • Onsite or remote support.
  • Implementation of remote-working software, such as Microsoft 365.

Are MSP’s cheaper than inhouse IT support?

Most of the time, but the cost of hiring an MSP really does come down to the services required and how complex your business IT needs are.

Gone are the days when businesses would have a simple network with a single server and a few identical desktops.

Nowadays, MSP’s have to factor in and connect a number of different devices, from desktops to laptops, to tablets and smartphone devices. All this extra tech increases workloads and the time spent dealing with individual clients.

And finally…some economics to consider.

According to Indeed, a skilled IT technician can expect a salary of £44,000 and upwards, and that salary has to be paid all year round whether you’ve used the services or not.

In a medium sized company, even if you just employed two of these skilled technicians, you’re looking at a hefty chunk of the budget and an expense that has the potential to prevent your business expanding.

With an MSP, you only pay for the services you use, you can scale up or down depending on your requirements and, there are none of the extra costs associated with permanent employment.

Looking for a Managed IT Service Provider?

If you're looking for a managed service provider, get in touch with JamCrackers. As a nationally recognised, IT company, we provide Managed IT Support to a huge range of businesses, large and small, across all sectors.