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4 min read

Managed Service Provider vs. Cloud Solutions Provider: What's the Difference?

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IT support services in recent times have been nothing but revolutionary. The technology landscape has continued to evolve as the sector gets dominated by record-breaking cloud-based applications, commonly referred to as SaaS, or software as a service, applications. While revolutionary ideas are great, the application can prove daunting.

If you're a small business, you typically won't find yourself with internal IT personnel, let alone an IT department. Hiring an entry-level IT specialist can cost your organization more than $40 to 50k per year, and that's just ONE PERSON. In today's market with the state of the world, as it is, that just does not make sense for small and even most medium-sized businesses. So, what's the solution? Looking outside your business for help managing your IT needs. This is where the service providers (MSPs and CSPs) come in and where our journey begins! Shall we?


For a long time, businesses looked to MSPs, or Managed Service Providers, for their IT needs. Yet with the shift to the cloud, a new type of provider has come into play: the CSP, or Cloud Solution Provider. CSPs traditionally only manage cloud-based services like Microsoft 365, AWS, and SalesForce. At BEMO, we like to break with tradition. We are a CSP that also offers the same managed IT services that you get from an MSP, but with additional agility, because we are fluent in all things cloud-based. What does that mean? We help businesses phase out or do away with on-premises infrastructure that is expensive to maintain and just as difficult to manage.

This article will look at where MSPs and CSPs are similar, where they are different, and why BEMO is a different kind of CSP than many others.


Table of Contents

What is a Microsoft CSP?
What do Cloud Solution Providers do?
What is a Microsoft MSP?
What do Managed Service Providers do?
Similarities between CSPs and MSPs
Differences between CSPs and MSPs
The best of both worlds
Cloud Service vs. Managed Service: Which is right for you?


What is a Microsoft CSP?

As I stated earlier, the rise of the Cloud Solution Provider has been nothing short of amazing. Given the amount of SaaS offerings out there, and the BOOM that Microsoft has made with the rise of Microsoft 365 and Azure, Microsoft can only stretch so far when it comes to sales and support. This is where the CSP comes into play. Often a reseller of cloud solutions, most CSPs offer service and support for the cloud solutions they sell.


microsoft csp logo


What do Cloud Solution Providers do?

Common Services provided by Cloud Solution Providers:

Platform as a service (PaaS)  

You do not need to worry about maintaining specific servers as clients can run their programs on the service provider's platform.

Software as a Service (SaaS)  

SaaS entails accessing software over the internet according to a pay-per-use basis. SaaS comprises updates, data backup, and security services.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) 

The service provider allows their clients to use their storage to enable them to scale their storage space.


What is a Microsoft MSP? 

MSPs traditionally provide services via ongoing support and administration of the IT infrastructure on customer premises, in the MSPs data center, or in a third-party data center, while also having the MSPs own services mixed in. Such tasks include end-user support, updating software, maintaining hardware, and security monitoring.



What do Managed Service Providers do?

Common Services provided by Managed Service Providers

  • Network monitoring 
  • System management
  • Data backup and recovery 
  • Email server hosting
  • Patch management
  • Hardware updates 
  • Software installations 

Similarities between CSPs and MSPs 

Cloud and Managed services both provide business solutions to organizations wanting to streamline processes and compete in their market. They share similarities in the following areas. 

Improve operational efficiency

Cloud and Managed services help to improve operational efficiency by automating key IT processes such as code deployment and configuration management. 

Reduce operating expenditure 

Both help to reduce operating expenditures by saving costs on the hiring and training of dedicated in-house IT experts. 

Helping businesses concentrate on their core competencies

Services provided by CSPs and MSPs take away the burden of managing IT-related issues to focus on other crucial aspects. 

Drive innovation

The goal of cloud services and managed services is to meet the needs of today's dynamic business environment, innovation, enhancing growth, and improving profit margins. 



Differences Between CSPs and MSPs

Cloud computing and managed services operate on the same principle and idea but go about their processes and up-front offerings differently. Let us look at the core differences between them. 

On-Prem vs. The Cloud

It is worth mentioning that MSPs are more hosted, or on-premises ("on-prem") focused, where CSPs, as you might have guessed from the name are cloud-based.

Third-Party Solutions

MSPs typically bundle their own solutions with the other third-party pieces your business needs. CSPs are typically the provider of third-party solutions.

Locally Based vs. Globally Based

Most MSPs typically focus on local customers based near or in a specific radius of their office to be able to put one of their agents on-premises, if needed. With CSPs, the radius is much, much wider (think, global) as they are able to fix problems remotely.


CSP SaaS services allow for greater mobility and flexibility while reducing capital costs on hardware.


The best of both worlds

Where BEMO stands out from the traditional CSPs is that while we also offer the stellar Managed IT services of a Managed Service Provider, we can do it completely from the cloud. With the state of the world today, the benefits of being completely cloud-managed are even bigger than before. Not only does being cloud-based and cloud-managed reduce costs on hardware and upkeep, but it also allows for secure remote work at the drop of a hat from anywhere in the world!


With your entire infrastructure being in the cloud, we can provide support remotely from anywhere in the world without the need to be onsite at any time. No waiting for us to arrive, we are already there, at your service! "But what about security?" you might be wondering. Security? No worries! Cloud security is not only on par with on-premises solutions, but in some cases better thanks to the security offering included in Microsoft 365.


Cloud service vs. Managed service: Which is right for you?

Still feeling unsure which managed IT solution is best for your business? While both Cloud services and Managed services can help your business run well, cloud services are the clear champion. If you’re looking to move to a more remote workforce, get rid of thousands of dollars in dusty in-house servers and reduce IT costs, the cloud is your best friend and we're happy to introduce you to it. Still, each business is different. Click on Josh's image below to schedule a consult with him to see what fits best for your business. 

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