Stands for "Managed Service Provider."

An MSP is a third-party company that remotely manages and often provides both network infrastructure and IT services on behalf of a customer. These services include digital security monitoring (often through a Security Operation Center) and hosting the customer's data.

Traditionally, the term MSP only applied to companies that provided infrastructure or device-centric services. Application Service Provider referred to companies that offered remote assistance for customers' software and applications. Now, most MSPs provide active support for most, if not all, the customer's end-users and administration of systems such as Active Directory.

An MSP that provides cybersecurity services for its clients may be called a Managed Service and Security Provider, or MSSP. It assists clients with a Security Operations Center that monitors the endpoints and network infrastructure. An MSSP may also create a disaster recovery plan and incident response should the client experience a breach in security, such as ransomware or hacking.

MSP customers range from small and medium-sized organizations to Forbes 500 companies and large government entities. Due to the large span of client types, MSPs may offer different types of service-level agreements and support. For example, an enterprise contract may include 24/7 phone support, while a small business agreement may provide email support during business hours.

Updated February 16, 2024 by Nils-Henrik G.
Reviewed by Per C.

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