Managed Service Provider VS Internet Service Provider

What is an MSP?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are organizations that provide services which align with IT infrastructure and end-user systems maintenance and operation. They provide these services to their customers from remote locations or operate on their premises.  MSPs also specialize in specific services such as firewall administration services and password management.

MSPs focus on specialized platforms that enable them to automate functions. These platforms consist of Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) and Professional Services Automation services (PSA).

  • RMM: These are a suite of tools which allow technicians to maintain an optimized IT system. Since they can work remotely, they no longer have to visit physical locations to provide assistance to their clients. Through RMM, MSPs can serve many clients while providing access tools to their technical support team simultaneously. RMMs assist in automating functions which allow teams to focus on other tasks.
  • PSA: These tools allow MSPs to supervise their employees and provide services to their clients. PSA addresses the level of work assigned to technical support, time allotted, etc. PSA also assists in establishing service level agreements to ensure that the contract is fulfilled properly. These automation services make a record of their customers to provide high quality service to their clientele.

What is an ISP?

ISPs or Internet Service Providers, as they are called, are companies that provide Internet access to their customers. They also maintain web servers apart from managing Internet connections. ISPs enable customers to access the internet with the help of necessary software, password protected accounts, and a modem. ISPs are not limited to servicing only homes and offices. Some ISPs also provide cell phone services.

Here are the factors that companies consider when choosing an ISP:

  1. Security: Does the ISP provide security services such as SSL and encryption services to protect the data you send and receive? Is the modem compatible with the security services?
  2. Reliability: How reliable are they? Do they have a lot of downtime and maintenance? Prior to downtime, do they communicate about the source of the problem? How quickly do they rectify their issues?
  3. Services offered: What services does the ISP offer?
  4. Costs: Is the ISP affordable? Does the quality of service match the cost?
  5. Privacy: Does the ISP have privacy policies in place? How are they going to manage the information they receive from their users?
  6. Speed: How fast is the internet service offered?
  7. Customer support: Are there any easy ways the ISP can be contacted if there is an issue? If yes, then how quickly do they resolve it?

How does an MSP work?

Managed services providers (MSPs) are companies that offer an array of IT services like hardware outsourcing, cybersecurity, staff support, end-user management, etc to businesses. Besides outsourcing, managed services helps companies focus on doing their core work and saves a ton of expenses. MSPs are known for providing their clients with:

  • Highly trained technicians to provide prompt support
  • The best IT security available
  • Reduced IT expenses

MSPs primarily leverage one of two pricing models to run their business: One, they dispatch a skilled technician or a team to a client's premises to assist in resolving an IT-related issue. Companies are charged on an hourly basis as per the amount of time spent in troubleshooting the problem. MSP’s charge their clients per device, per user or all inclusive price packages. This is useful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which lack the IT capabilities and cannot manage a huge expense. This way, SMEs are comfortable with outsourcing their IT requirements since it is cheaper for them.

The second is a subscription model wherein SMEs compensate them on a monthly or yearly basis for providing network services. During this subscription period, MSP are liable to attend to any IT-related issue enterprises might have.

How does an ISP work?

While most ISPs allow users to send emails and browse the web, the support they offer varies from service provider to provider. This can be in the form of an email address, an application on the phone or a contact number if a customer needs support. Certain ISPs also provide web hosting services which allows users to create their own websites.

They provide their customers with wireless modems to enable Wi-Fi connectivity. ISPs provide a range of services. Let us take a look:

1. DSL Internet

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is the most common type of Internet available for the majority of spaces. Here, connectivity is enabled with the help of a copper telephone line which makes it similar to the phased-out dial-up internet service. The only difference between DSL and dial-up is that when you use the telephone, your internet does not disconnect. This is possible as DSL deals with digital format internet signals whereas dial-up internet exhibits an analog format.

DSL internet is particularly useful in rural areas where cable internet is difficult to acquire. DSL Internet speed is influenced by the type of hardware and equipment used to make it work.

2. Cable Internet

Cable Internet services are among the fastest in the world. The speed will differ according to the capabilities of the ISP. The type of hardware also influences the speed of the internet. Just like how coaxial cables connect TV’s to the cable boxes, cable internet works with a coaxial cable which connects to the modem. If users wish to enable Wi-Fi, they will have to connect a router, which is additional hardware.

3. Mobile Internet

Cellular network providers such as AT&T and Sprint provide internet services on mobile phones. Internet is transmitted from cellular towers to your internet enabled device. So, as long as there are towers in the proximity, internet works on the mobile phone as long as it has a signal.

There are two types of mobile internet; smartphone hotspots and mobile hotspots. Smartphone hotspots can be enabled from the phone itself. It accepts an internet connection from the tower and allows users to transmit it to their computer.

In comparison, mobile hotspots only relay data to the internet enabled device. Unlike smartphone hotspots which are good for a short time, mobile hotspots are perfect for continuous internet usage. Both forms of mobile internet provide speeds similar to DSL services.

4. Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet services make use of the geostationary satellites in space to transmit data between physical spaces and the internet. Satellite internet has the highest latency since the connection bounces between Earth and space. Additionally, factors such as the weather can greatly affect the speed of the Internet.

Benefits of MSPs

Working with MSPs has a number of benefits for client organizations. Apart from meeting industry standards, companies get to work with the best and brightest of IT professionals. MSP IT services are also cost-efficient, enabling organizations to cut down on massive costs. They also protect them from unprecedented risks and mitigate loss of critical data.

  1. Round the clock monitoring services and support for an additional fee
  2. Through SLAs, services provided are clearly defined
  3. Data backup services
  4. MSPs are scalable, i.e., more resources can be pooled in as per requirement
  5. Worldwide assistance from highly skilled personnel owing to remote support

Benefits of ISPs

Here's looking at the top benefits of working with internet service providers:

  • They help reduce costs since ISPs price their services on a monthly basis per data usage. This allows companies to increase their revenue.
  • They also provide hosting services, so companies don't have to set up their own web server.
  • They ensure seamless failover, so server-related issues are minimal.
  • Companies benefit from greater bandwidth and hence, faster internet.
  • They ensure top-notch security and protection.

Difference between MSP and ISP



Provides IT services to clients

Provides internet services to clients

Round the clock IT monitoring and maintenance

Level of support depends on the provider

Clients call their MSP for solving technical issues

Customers call ISPs for solving server and hosting-related issues

Mainly meant for SMEs and large-scale organizations to outsource IT related tasks

Mainly meant for residences and small enterprises to access internet connections of greater bandwidth.

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