It was bound to happen. First there were ASPs (application service providers), now there are MSPs (management service
providers). This new type of service provider is stepping forward to monitor and report on network performance around the clock � a function that stretched-to-the-limit IT departments often cannot adequately perform.
MSPs do not provide outsourced network management in the traditional sense. A common denominator of this new model is that "network control remains in the hands of the customer," explains Yash Shah, president and CTO of InteQ Corp. (Burlington, MA). "The customer designs, builds, and maintains the network. We provide 24x7 monitoring and reporting services. We are the eyes, they are the hands."
Maintaining physical control of their technology infrastructure may alleviate the qualms some network managers have about outsourcing any part of their network. For added comfort, InteQ provides a portal through which the customer can view network statistics at any time and make changes on the fly. For example, he or she can change the name of the person to be automatically notified in case of a network alert.
Comparison-shopping for network monitoring products is a time-consuming and onerous task. This is another service that is built into MSPs' offerings. "We test new tools and incorporate best-of-breed products into our service," says Shah. "The process is invisible to the customer."
MSPs recently formed the MSP Association to educate users about their services http://www.mspassociation.com/index.htm. Shah, one of the cofounders of the group, says the organization aims to define guidelines and standards for MSPs.
If you'd like to learn more about management services from MSPs, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll arrange a live Q&A session with members of the MSP Association.