There are more than 100 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in Connecticut. The state also has 17 colocation data centers. Let us consider the changing ways MSPs and colocation providers collaborate to deliver critical IT infrastructure services to Connecticut businesses.

MSPs provide a variety of information technology consulting services to clients. Some MSPs specialize in specific technologies such as virtualization, cloud migration, or cyber security. Others are experts in applications such as Salesforce CRM software or Workday ERP solutions.

Most MSPs in Connecticut serve small and mid-sized businesses. This is not surprising since there are more than 360,000 small businesses in Connecticut. This represents over 99% of all companies in the state.

Frequently MSPs fulfill the role of the Chief Technology Officer at organizations that do not have a senior IT leader on staff. In these cases, the MSP handles everything from setting up user accounts, to configuring servers, to managing firewalls, to overseeing software updates.

MSP Services Track Technology

Over the years the services provided by MSPs have evolved as technologies have changed. For example, years ago small businesses needed help setting up their email systems. This often meant the MSP had to be knowledgeable about Microsoft Exchange and how to use this on-premises application to set up and manage mailboxes for corporate accounts.

Today, as companies have moved to a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model for office applications, MSPs have pivoted to provide the support their clients now need. Though Microsoft 365 simplifies initial email configuration and relieves end-users of the on-going need to update software, MSPs are now kept busy with cloud connectivity, security, and data backup projects.

The relationship between MSPs and colocation data centers has also changed with new generations of technology. Before the cloud, MSPs counseled clients to move onsite IT systems to a colocation data center to improve performance, strengthen security, and increase flexibility. They may have procured the colocation services for resale to their clients, or they may have directed clients to a colocation provider they endorsed.

Recently, as cloud adoption has grown dramatically, MSPs have devoted increasing amounts of their attention to helping clients move to the cloud. Initially, most MSPs promoted one of the big three cloud providers (AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google). As experience with the cloud grew, leading MSPs developed expertise configuring hybrid cloud solutions that incorporated services from more than one public cloud provider as well as private cloud and onsite infrastructure.

MSPs Have Renewed Interest in Colocation

As cloud use has become more widespread, MSPs and their clients have learned that there are workloads that are not well-suited for the cloud. They may not perform efficiently, or they may be much more expensive in the cloud than at a colocation data center or on premises. With this change, MSPs have once again adapted to serve their clients’ needs.

Recently, CAPS has seen a marked increase in the number of MSPs who are looking for colocation services, for themselves or their clients, for those workloads that are not well suited to the cloud.