Select Page

The 3 Different Types of IT Service Providers

When it comes to choosing the right IT service provider for your business, you must first understand the various types of IT service providers available. As technology evolves rapidly, IT providers have increasingly specialised their services.

The IT market has evolved from small one-person operations offering what is known as a break/fix model or blocks of hours to support a business’s IT needs.

While this is cost-effective for businesses on a tight budget, it often doesn’t offer long-term benefits. Providers that still offer break/fix IT support may not prioritise their customers’ best interests. This is because there’s no incentive to manage the client’s IT proactively; they profit from the frequency of IT issues.

Conversely, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) adopt a proactive approach with a fixed monthly cost. Regardless of the number of problems that arise, MSPs address these within the agreed monthly fee. This model incentivises MSPs to reduce IT support needs by actively managing and monitoring the client’s IT infrastructure.

In this blog, we discuss the different types of providers and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Managed IT Service Provider (MSP)

A Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) offers comprehensive technology solutions, proactive maintenance, and strategic IT support to businesses, ensuring seamless operations and optimal performance of their IT infrastructure.


  • Access to a vast pool of technical knowledge with IT support engineers and project-specific engineers on hand to manage your business’s IT needs.
  • MSPs generally charge a fixed monthly fee, ensuring predictable costs and professional management of the network/infrastructure.
  • Many MSPs now prioritise cybersecurity when supporting businesses, often outsourcing security-related activities to software solutions.


  • Typically, a contractual agreement of 12, 24, or 36 months is required, which necessitates careful selection due to the commitment involved.

Cloud Services Provider (CSP)

A Cloud Services Provider (CSP) delivers on-demand computing resources, including storage, processing power, and applications, over the Internet, enabling businesses to scale efficiently and access advanced technology without the need for extensive on-premises infrastructure.


  • CSPs are specialists in providing cloud services and focus exclusively on cloud solutions for their clients.


  • Because CSPs concentrate solely on cloud services, they may not support physical office IT infrastructure, and there might be gaps in cybersecurity support, unlike MSPs that offer comprehensive services.

Managed Cybersecurity Service Provider (MSSP)

A Managed Cybersecurity Service Provider (MSSP) safeguards organisations from cyber threats by offering proactive monitoring, threat detection, incident response, and continuous security updates, ensuring a resilient and protected digital environment.


  • Dedicated to securing your IT environment and cloud infrastructure, often featuring a specialised security operations centre, a resource that many CSPs and MSPs may lack or outsource.


  • Primarily focused on security with limited knowledge of cloud and IT support services

In Conclusion

The type of provider you select will largely depend on your business’s size and whether you have an existing internal IT department.

For small businesses with up to around 50 staff, an MSP is usually the first choice, given the limited scope for an internal IT resource.

Larger businesses with an internal IT department may commonly partner with MSPs, MSSPs, and CSPs for specialised services, a practice known as co-managed IT services.

MSPs are the most prevalent service providers and often bridge the gap in what CSPs and MSSPs offer. For example, if an MSP lacks a security operations centre (SOC), this service might be outsourced to a third-party provider, ensuring clients receive the desired service through subcontracted solutions.

Navigating the type of provider you need shouldn’t be a challenge.