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Comparing Cloud Service Providers vs. Managed Service Providers

The terms “cloud computing” and “managed services” are familiar to most people who turn even a casual ear toward information technology trends, but not everyone understands the difference between them. 


At least not until the time comes when they need hosting services and have to investigate the features and benefits of each option. This article will help you understand the main differences between these services, so you can decide which is best for your business.

Cloud Services Provider

Cloud computing encompasses multiple situations where your programs, applications, and data are stored and accessed online as opposed to retained and managed on a hard drive in your office. Cloud services providers offer services such as:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Accessing software over the Internet on an as-needed basis. It is typically available on a subscription or pay-per-use basis. SaaS also includes updates, data backup, and security services.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Clients can run their programs on the provider’s platform, bypassing the need for servers that need to be maintained.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The provider makes its storage available to corporate customers so that the latter can scale their storage space as needed.

Cloud providers allow the employees of corporate clients to collaborate remotely and in real time. Because they allow you to pay only for services required, they are a popular choice for startups that want to avoid upfront infrastructure costs.

There are three types of cloud services:

  • Public: The infrastructure is shared with other clients
  • Private: Your own IT team manages the cloud environment
  • Hybrid:  Includes features of both private and public clouds, with some environments managed by your IT team and others by the cloud services provider.

Managed Services Provider

Managed services providers offer support that an in-house IT department would normally take care of, such as maintaining hardware, keeping software current, and monitoring security. You have a specific server assigned to you, and the managed services provider (MSP) will monitor the network and solve any IT problems that arise.

Services include:

  • Data backup and recovery
  • Email server hosting
  • System management
  • Network monitoring
  • Applying security updates

Managed services providers often use a monthly pricing structure that fluctuates according to the services required and the number of servers managed.


The Bottom Line

Cloud services providers and managed services providers allow you to access technology that lets your business operate more efficiently. As your IT requirements increase and become more complex, cloud service providers and managed services providers can scale their offerings accordingly, so that you remain both relevant and competitive.

In what other ways can you compare cloud services and managed services providers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

And if you're serious about growing your cloud services or managed services business, be sure to enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.

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