Today’s Managed Services Provider (MSP) is quite different from ten years ago. Twenty years ago, Thin-nology, along with many other companies, entered this space. Technology has changed how we manage our customers’ IT infrastructure and demonstrated the benefits of outsourcing IT rather than managing IT internally.

In the early days, it would often take an outsourced IT staff as much time commuting on site as they would spend fixing the customer’s issues. The most cost-effective decision in this scenario was having internal IT personnel.

Time has shown one of the main drawbacks of MSP is the internet. In the early days, most Internet connections were one of the following three: Dial-Up, DSL, or T-1. Dial-Up was time-consuming to connect for remote support, DSL was slow and T-1’s too expensive. Furthermore, broadband was still in its infancy.

The primary reason that Managed Services is where it is at today, is the direct result of Broadband improvement and software solutions that enable the monitoring of systems, devices, and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). The first RDP came from a company out of the University of Cambridge in England by the name of VNC (Virtual Network Connection). The irony of VNC is VNC is the favorite tool of the hacking community, as the connection protocols required are very rudimentary.

In the early days, as Broadband became more robust, Thin-nology and many others used VNC. Thin-nology used VNC to connect to remote workplace systems and perform simple tasks including configuration, disk cleaning, etc. Microsoft established and began providing Thin-nology RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), making the connection to servers much easier and more functional than VNC’s.

During the same time, a number of Canadian companies embarked on developing software that would provide the Managed Service Provider (MSP) a window into the real-time system operations and performance of their customer’s infrastructure. These early systems flooded the user with more information than needed. What they provided was a real-time copy of the Microsoft logging output. This was an issue because it was information overload and most of it did not supply the end-user with much accessibility. Over time, these vendors have segregated the information into different streams and provided the user the ability to set up specific alerts for conditions such as memory usage, disk usage, etc.

Today, the Managed Service Provider (MSP)’s commute to a site is due to a hardware failure (see disaster planning and business continuity) that it is not operational. Managed Services Providers (MSP) can start servers that have been completely powered down and perform most tasks that at one time required the engineer or technician to be on-site.

Today, the biggest issue facing Managed Services Providers (MSP) is how to perform the required work and still maintain a high degree of security. In the client’s eyes: what is the best business decision? Many clients still struggle with outsourcing their IT needs to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) rather than keep an internal technician. Numerous times, this struggle stems from interpersonal business partners, the internal individual could be a brother, cousin, or other family members. Regardless, the end decision should always be that of a business decision, it is more cost-effective to employ a Managed Service Provider (MSP) versus having an internal IT person.