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Five-Minute Guide to Managed Services Providers

Managed Service Providers can augment your organization’s IT infrastructure with a flexible team of professionals for a set monthly rate.

Adam Burke, Quest’s Vice President of Sales and Partnerships, was recently discussing managed services in his Spilling the IT video series, and I wanted to elaborate further. Along with managed services he discussed IT infrastructure services; IT professional services, security, and scalability.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to watch these informative and entertaining videos, Spilling the IT , please check out the series.

As organizations decide to rationalize their costs and build more predictability into their operations, they turn to experts known as Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Here’s a quick primer and a couple of stories that illustrate the value of this service.

At their core, MSPs help organizations take care of the IT infrastructure they use to run their businesses. Oftentimes, that means managing networks and security environments. It might also mean patching and updating various technologies and installing new firmware releases. Essentially, MSPs help with every aspect of your IT.

Quest launched its managed services practice more than 20 years ago. At that time, the government had completely changed the rules for the financial services industry. Organizations such as regional banks were required to monitor and log events on their corporate networks. Some purchased new equipment and they needed help operating and monitoring it.

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For Quest and most MSPs, monitoring existing environments and alerting clients when there’s a threat or a problem is a common practice. Other managed service practices include data backup and recovery, data storage, and managed cloud services.

MSPs are able to deliver these services for a set cost per month—you can think of it as a subscription service. We can quantify the cost based on knowable metrics. We look at your inputs: servers, desktops, switches, firewalls, virtual servers, etc. Depending upon your assets, we determine a monthly recurring charge (MRC), which means you can avoid the trauma of unplanned expenditures when a breakdown in your technology puts your business at risk.

Again, most MSPs work the setup cost into the overall term, so there isn’t a big expense to get started. And MSP contracts generally range from 36 to 48 months, which can deliver fairly long-term peace of mind.

Another way we’re able to provide our clients with a predictable cost model is by setting pricing based on an organization’s personnel. This is fairly unique to Quest. We offer this because several years ago, a client asked us to come up with a formula that easily forecasted costs associated with rapid growth. This client was scaling his business and it was important for him to know what his cost structure would be, on a per-person basis, as he grew.

Helping our clients solve unique problems is the heart of our mission at Quest. We don’t try to make your company fit our cookie-cutter solutions. Our motto is “how can we help?” So, we built a program for this client four years ago, and the basic formula has been helpful to a number of other organizations since. The best thing about this program is that it works really well for companies that want to scale, and in the business world, that’s a very good thing to be able to do.

One final thought: The key to forging a good relationship with a managed service provider is to fully understand your service level agreement (SLA). At Quest, we offer QuestFlex, an SLA explicitly written to serve your specific business needs—from cloud services and network equipment to the application environments that power your entire enterprise.

In my next blog post, I’ll tell you a bit more about cloud computing and share some tips about security and licensing.

Contact us anytime about your technology needs.

Until next time,


Meet the Author
Tim Burke is the President and CEO of Quest. He has been at the helm for over 30 years.
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