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Cloud Service Provider or Managed Services Provider: What’s the Difference?

Of the many different service providers on the market, cloud service providers (CSP) and managed services providers (MSP) stand out as two that most businesses struggle to distinguish and understand. So, what is the difference between them? Pieces of advice from David Celis, Managing Partner at CMD.solutions.

Essentially, an MSP can be a CSP, but a CSP can never be an MSP.

CSPs typically offer the following type of hosted solutions: desktop as a service, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service. Examples include Amazon Workspaces (AWS), Dropbox, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

MSPs can deliver all of the above services, as well as a higher level of IT support: authentication, data backup, recovery and security, disaster recovery and business continuity, malicious software/virus solutions, network connectivity, monitoring and security, and systems management. MSPs are typically local, regional and/or national providers of general managed IT services.

“If your business is trying to decide between a CSP and a more holistic MSP, it is crucial that you first take time to define what you want to achieve and which of the two choices will benefit your business.”

Many businesses end up choosing CSPs over MSPs because they are often seen as being the less expensive option. However, we have to keep in mind that hosting a business’s IT resources and managing a business’s IT resources are “two different pairs of shoes,” as they say in German. This means that a business should carefully analyze the pros and cons offered by both approaches, as the seemingly cheaper solution could end up being quite a costly experience, especially if the business does not have the in-house IT competencies necessary to migrate and manage its IT resources in the first place.

So, if your business is trying to decide between a CSP and a more holistic MSP, it is crucial that you first take time to define what you want to achieve and which of the two choices will benefit your business.

(Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash)

This article was first published in the 8th issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.

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