Managed IT Service Provider Terms to Know

Managed IT Service Provider Terms to Know

Working with a managed IT service provider (MSP) is very different from having IT personnel on staff. They may not be in the office, but the MSP is very knowledgeable and can offer support 24 hours a day—not just from 9 to 5. Sometimes, you may feel like you are speaking a different language. We have broken down the top 10 terms you should be comfortable with to help make communication with your MSP a little easier:

1. SLA (Service Level Agreement):

An SLA is a contract between you and your MSP that outlines the terms of the service they will provide. It includes details such as response and resolution time and the level of service you can expect from your MSP.

Understanding MSP terms helps your business in myriads of ways.

2. Uptime:

Uptime refers to the time your systems are operational and available for use. It’s usually expressed as a percentage, with 99.9% uptime being the standard for most service-level agreements.

3. Downtime:

Downtime is the opposite of uptime. It’s the period of time when your systems are unavailable or not operational. Understanding how your MSP will handle downtime and their procedures for minimizing downtime is essential.

4. Help Desk:

A help desk is the central point of contact for all IT support requests. Whether it’s a password reset or a system outage, the help desk is there to provide support and troubleshoot the issue.

5. Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM):

RMM is the process of monitoring and managing your IT system remotely, helping your MSP identify and resolve issues before they become major problems.

6. Patch Management:

Patch management refers to updating and maintaining the software on your systems. This helps ensure that your systems are secure and up to date.

7. Firewall:

A hardware or software solution used to control access to a network, configured to block unauthorized access while allowing legitimate access. Firewalls are essential for any business that wants to protect data and prevent unauthorized access to its network.

8. Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing refers to using remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data. It offers scalability, efficiency, and flexibility for businesses of all sizes.

9. Virtualization:

Virtualization is the process of creating multiple “virtual” systems on a single physical server. This allows businesses to run multiple applications on a single machine, reducing hardware costs and streamlining operations.

10. Managed Services:

The official definition is “Transferring day-to-day IT operational activities to a third-party contractor as a strategic method to improve operations and cut expenses.” From monitoring and maintenance to security and network support, Managed IT Service Providers offer a wide range of services to keep business systems running around the clock.


There you have it – the top 10 terms you should be comfortable using when communicating with your Managed IT Service Provider (MSP). Understanding these terms will help you speak the same language as your MSP, which means more efficient communication and a more productive partnership. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure your IT needs are met effectively and efficiently – and armed with these terms, you’ll be better equipped to do just that.