management service provider (MSP)

Also see two related terms, application service provider and storage service provider.

Also see two related terms, application service provider and storage service provider.

On the Internet, a management service provider (MSP) is a company that manages information technology services for other companies. For example, a company could hire an MSP to configure and administer its business computers and related systems on a continuing basis, saving the company the need to hire, train, and pay its own administrators. Since almost all such systems today can be managed remotely using an interactive Web page as the user interface, the idea is that an administrator could just as easily be someone at an MSP as at your own company.

The MSP can be viewed as similar to an application service provider (ASP), a company that provides one or more computer applications that can be used by other companies using an online interface such as a page at the ASP's Web site. An ASP tends to become an MSP to the extent that it combines its application offering with additional service offerings. Another related service is the storage service provider (SSP), a company that provides computer storage and related services (such as automatic scheduled backup and archiving) for other companies.

Some management service providers include Candle, InteQ, and McAfee.

This was first published in September 2005

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