What Is an IT Managed Service Provider? (Understanding MSPs)

An IT managed service provider streamlines IT solutions for their clients. They oversee and provide networks, applications, infrastructures, and security management. By taking on a large part of the responsibility, they ensure proactive identification of technology and service requirements to meet the unique needs in finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and more.

IT managed service providers can bring a wide range of technology solutions to your business. They can optimize your existing resources, make your processes more efficient, and reduce costs for your organization. 

What is an IT Managed Service Provider?

An IT managed service provider (MSP) is an outsourced company hired to deliver or remotely manage information technology services. 

This includes a broad range of services such as:


  • Network and security monitoring
  • Data backups
  • Software updates
  • Technical support


MSPs can take on as much responsibility as your organization needs for services such as application and infrastructure management. More than that, MSPs offer guidance on the services and technologies your organization needs to bring value to your customers. 

An MSP’s services can be delivered from a client’s on-site location or somewhere else. They can also bundle software, hardware, and cloud services depending on their offerings.

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How IT MSPs Help Different Industries

A broad range of industries can benefit from partnering with an IT MSP like TenHats. Every company is a technology company, from manufacturing to government agencies.


For the manufacturing industry, IT MSPs enhance efficiency by: 


  • Overseeing IT infrastructure 
  • Ensuring system reliability 
  • Implementing cybersecurity measures 


Providers such as TenHats help streamline operations through: 


  • Proactive monitoring 
  • Prompt issue resolution 
  • Technology optimization 


With the help of MSPs, your manufacturing business can focus on core activities while reducing downtime as you swiftly adapt to technological advancements. This ultimately fosters a more resilient and competitive position for your company in the manufacturing industry.


IT MSPs for healthcare play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and security of your digital systems. They ensure the seamless operation of electronic health records as well as the implementation of robust cybersecurity measures to protect patient data. 

MSPs such as TenHats also provide timely technical support. This enhances data privacy compliance while enabling healthcare professionals to focus on patient care. They also promote the efficient use of technology for improved medical outcomes.


An IT MSP in the education sector ensures a reliable and secure IT infrastructure. This helps foster a technologically advanced and secure environment for students and educators. 

By optimizing technology resources and safeguarding data, MSPs enable educational institutions to concentrate on effective teaching and learning. Along with implementing innovative solutions to enhance digital learning experiences, they also provide technical support and manage networks.


In the finance industry, IT MSPs are key for robust cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, and seamless technology operations. This enables financial institutions to: 


  • Focus on strategic initiatives 
  • Mitigate risks 
  • Ensure the integrity of financial transactions


MSPs such as TenHats enhance data protection and system reliability by managing networks, implementing secure cloud solutions, and offering real-time support. This ultimately contributes to a more efficient and secure financial landscape for financial institutions and consumers alike.

Energy and Utilities

IT MSPs are vital for the energy and utilities sector, enhancing overall operational efficiency by:


  • Facilitating grid management
  • Monitoring infrastructure health
  • Implementing predictive maintenance


On top of ensuring seamless technology operations and cybersecurity, they play a crucial role in safeguarding critical systems and supporting innovation. This enables the energy industry to meet growing demand while maintaining reliability and compliance with regulatory standards.

Government Agencies

IT MSPs help facilitate government functions by: 


  • Ensuring the seamless functioning of critical systems
  • Implementing cloud solutions
  • Optimizing infrastructure 


This enables agencies to focus on delivering essential public services with increased efficiency and reliability.

Government agencies also benefit from IT MSPs thanks to their robust cybersecurity and streamlined IT operations. The end result is enhanced data security using cost-effective technology solutions.

How Do IT MSPs Work?

MSPs build custom solutions for your organization based on your organization’s needs, processes, and size.

 Getting started with an MSP often includes a service-level agreement (SLA). This agreement sets expectations between you and your MSP for important services such as:


  • Metrics for the effectiveness of the process
  • Who will be your point-of-contact
  • Which products and services will be delivered


Once these and other factors have been determined, your MSP will start a full analysis of the outsourcing process. This analysis helps them identify ways to:


  • Improve the use of resources
  • Make processes more efficient
  • Reduce costs 
  • Elevate cybersecurity


This analysis is also important since it identifies problems in your processes. These issues may have gone unnoticed or you simply may not have been able to fix them on your own. This analysis also serves as the foundation for your custom IT solutions.

The Differences Between IT Services and Managed Services

IT services encompass a broad range of technology-related support, including: 


  • Hardware and software maintenance 
  • Troubleshooting
  • Consulting 


Managed services, however, go beyond this by offering proactive, outsourced management of your organization’s entire IT infrastructure. 

This involves: 



These services optimize performance and minimize downtime for your business. They provide comprehensive and dynamic solutions for ensuring a smooth and efficient IT environment.

Benefits of Managed Services for IT

There are more benefits of day-to-day management services than we can cover in a single blog post. However, some of their most common benefits include:


  • Providing expertise
  • 24/7 network monitoring
  • Enhancing security
  • Covering IT staff shortages
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Ensuring business continuity


When a problem arises, it helps to have a reputable MSP providing expertise to help you navigate the situation. With 24/7 network monitoring, you have access to tools that give you system visibility and cloud management access. Enhanced security from an MSP can include secure software, physical security for servers, and awareness training for your team.

An MSP can help with covering IT staffing shortages by outsourcing tasks to its team of experts. They thrive at being cost-effective, with many moving from project-based (break/fix) models to monthly subscription business models. MSPs are also essential for ensuring business continuity as they are critical for your backup and disaster planning.

Types of MSPs 

MSPs aren’t only for large enterprises. They come in many different types with options available for small and medium-sized businesses depending on their needs. Looking at an example can be helpful when deciding the needs of your business. One of our greatest strengths at TenHats is our scalability. We can work with companies of any size along their IT journey.

Imagine that you’re evaluating MSPs based on the size of their target customers and the amount of responsibility they assume. In this case, you can organize them as:


  • High-level MSPs
  • Staffing legacy MSPs
  • Pure-play MSPs


High-level MSPs outsource as much of your IT processes as necessary. They can range from small to large providers offering a broad range of services to their clients. 

Staffing legacy MSPs can help fill in knowledge gaps as older employees leave by training new ones in much-needed skills. However, they can also involve a lot of red tape and may even result in a lack of new knowledge for organizations. 

These staffing MSPs are ideal for mid-level and Fortune 500 companies. Like high-level MSPs, they usually provide a broad range of services such as:


  • Monitoring
  • Reporting
  • Installation
  • Upgrades


Pure-play MSPs tend to be smaller providers that emphasize application performance and monitoring networks. They have their own native services that focus on alerts and reporting.

MSPs can also specialize in specific types of managed services. For example, there are:



Managed IT service providers specialize in providing wide-ranging assistance that offers upkeep for both hardware and software elements. They cater to businesses looking for general proficiency rather than specialized expertise. 

Managed cloud service providers focus on support services for the migration and upkeep of your company’s cloud platforms. Managed security service providers concentrate on safeguarding your company’s data as well as personally identifiable information. This ensures resilience against data breaches and common malware threats.

Services MSPs Offer

MSPs can also be organized based on the services they offer. In the beginning, they mainly specialize in the remote monitoring and management (RMM) of networks and servers. Since then, providers have broadened their scope to distinguish themselves from each other.

Depending on the provider, these services may include:


  • Monitoring
  • Remote support
  • Proactive support
  • Centralized management
  • Scheduled maintenance
  • Easy billing


Monitoring provided by MSPs allows you to track the status of your applications, network devices, servers, and websites in real time. With remote support, you receive cloud-based software to help remotely troubleshoot technical problems and support your devices. MSPs offering proactive support help you stay in front of network or device problems that may occur.

MSPs that offer centralized management include a management console to direct your:


  • Complex networks
  • Patch management software
  • Remote monitoring
  • Security software


Scheduled maintenance provided by an MSP includes regularly scheduled network maintenance for your organization. With easy billing, MSPs use a billing management system for budgeting, invoicing, and payments. 

Are you looking for an IT MSP to support your organization? Contact us today to start a conversation!

What is an IT managed service provider? They provide a wide range of essential technology solutions for your organization. Providers can help improve how you use resources, streamline your process, and lower costs for your company. There are many different types of managed service providers offering a broad range of services to help your organization succeed.

In 2016, TenHats built the region’s first purpose-built colocation data center in over 20 years. Located in Knoxville, TN, our data center can serve any organization in East Tennessee and beyond. With our team’s IT experience, we provide a lot more than simply protected data. When you call us, you talk to a real IT expert. Connect with our team about our data center today!

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Aaron Sherrill

Aaron is the Chief Technology Officer at TenHats leading the technology, cybersecurity, and data center teams of our organization. He has 25+ years of IT and security experience spanning across a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and software development.

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