In the 1990s, Managed IT Services primarily included desktop support and network administration. Often the MSP would send a technician to the client site on a regularly scheduled day of the week. This was largely because a typical organization’s internet connectivity and bandwidth was slow and remote access tools were limited in capabilities. These limitations required a technician to be physically onsite to provide end user desktop support as well as to maintain server and network systems.
In the 2000s, as high speed bandwidth became widely available and remote access tools improved significantly, Managed Services began to evolve toward a Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM) model. MSPs began to remotely monitor server systems, computers, and devices, as well as establish remote sessions directly into user computers for support. This allowed MSPs to become more proactive in their support model by providing 24×7 helpdesk coverage for clients. When a Client’s staffer had an issue, they no longer would have to wait for the day of the technician’s scheduled weekly onsite visit. Instead they could simply call into the MSP helpdesk and have a technician provide immediate remote support.
By the 2010s, as Cloud technologies became mainstream, the Managed Services model also continued to evolve. With Cloud Solutions came the concept of “as-a-service” model. MSPs embraced this new concept and expanded their service offerings beyond basic IT Support. Most MSPs started to provide their customers with Cloud Services, both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). This gave MSPs a new opportunity to not just provide support and administration of systems, but to deliver the actual hosting service itself. It also provided the client the benefit of having a “Managed Cloud” solution, with both hosting and administration managed by a single vendor.
This model has continued to expand into other areas with the convergence of voice and data services. As traditional analog PBX phone systems have become obsolete and on premise Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems have become less economical, MSPs have expanded their service offerings to include Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
Today MSPs offer a wide range of services including IT Support, Network Administration, Cloud Services, Telephony, Web Development, and Cyber Security. The outlook for the 2020s and beyond indicates that this trend will continue, and MSPs most recently have begun to expand into Security as a Service (SECaaS). As Cyber Security threats continue to rise, and attackers become more sophisticated, it is essential for MSPs to provide advanced security solutions. While traditionally security services have been offered by Cyber Security firms, a convergence with MSPs is occurring in this area. All of these service innovations directly benefit the Client by having a single partner manage all aspects of their organization’s technology.
Written by: Payam Pourkhomami, President & CEO, OSIbeyond